Introducing the CTCL Advisory Committee

The Center for Technology and Civic Life’s Government Services team organizes a network of election officials who believe that technology can improve our democracy. This looks like training people who work in local government to use technology to promote civic engagement and make voting easier.

Since launching our organization in 2015, our team has trained over 1,000 election officials on topics that have ranged from online voter engagement to data visualization to our most recent collaborative project, the Election Toolkit. In 2017 we aim to reach 1,000 more election officials with a new menu of courses that meet the modern needs of the profession.

Reaching our goals requires us to think critically about the services we provide and our outreach to election officials. With this in mind, we formed an advisory committee.

In early 2017 we recruited an advisory committee of election professionals to help us shape the content of our Government Services professional development courses and expand the reach of CTCL programs.

And on March 27, we brought our advisors together for the first time at the Chicago Community Trust.

The morning started with everyone participating in a “speed dating” icebreaker exercise so we could figure out what a room of election geeks are passionate about besides electronic poll books. Then we discussed CTCL’s ambitious mission, staff, and supporters. In addition to learning more about each other, we used this in-person meeting to put our advisors to work and gather some feedback from them.

After lunch we reviewed our nonprofit approach to professional development and sales. Our advisors were then given questions about our approach that guided both individual reflection and small group discussions.

Advisors review new training outlines

Advisors review new training outlines

We began the group discussion with advisors reporting their initial gut responses to our new curricula and service delivery. They also told us what they’d like to see added to our current list of courses.

Then advisors shared ideas about our sales process -- thinking about their own experiences of how they’ve heard about and purchased professional development classes. Overall, we wrapped up the meeting with a collection of helpful next steps to consider and with everyone wanting to dig even deeper into the conversation.

Thanks to their decades of experience and thoughtful feedback, we’re already implementing their expert advice to help us reach our goals. And we can’t wait to continue engaging our advisors over the next 18 months so we might deliver the best training courses to the most election officials! We hope you’re excited as we are.

What about you? Do you have ideas about how to enhance our professional development programs for election officials? Take a look and let us know what you think by emailing us at