National County Government Month
Celebrate the role of counties every April
National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties to actively promote county roles and responsibilities in serving residents. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective or innovative county programs and raise public awareness of services provided to the community.
This year's National County Government Month theme is consistent with NACo President Mary Jo McGuire’s focus for the year, ForwardTogether.
ForwardTogether is about connecting, inspiring and leading – pillars of county government that build trust and drive towards solutions. Counties are encouraged to reflect on this theme as you choose how to celebrate NCGM. In particular, consider how NCGM is so intrinsically connected to the responsibility of county leaders to inspire our residents to take an interest in and engage with their communities, and how it presents an opportunity to lead in new and growing ways.
Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. The toolkit on this page is full of ideas, from press releases, to sample social posts, to event ideas and more.
But first, here are a few ideas on how to get started and a special message from NACo President Mary Jo McGuire.
The committee will plan, organize and coordinate all activities related to NCGM. Committee members should include representatives from the county board, administration, school system and each county department. Additionally, a public information officer or county official experienced in media relations should be included. Consider including a county extension service representative. This could be a staff member, 4-H volunteer or 4-H member. All areas of county government and schools should be involved in the planning process.
Plan activities throughout the month or organize just a few featured events. Hold fun, interactive and informative activities to reach different segments of your community, including students, educators, senior citizens, young families, business leaders and community organizations. Consider activities that will:
- Bring residents to county facilities such as the courthouse, parks, public safety building, public health department or a recycling/waste transfer station
- Deploy county officials to locations where residents are already assembled, like pre-planned events, festivals, or meetings
- Shed light on county activities and give a look behind the scenes in county government, like open houses or facility tours
Be sure members of the local news media are aware of NCGM and the activities your committee has planned. Consider involving a member of the news media in the planning process. Feel free to use the template press release included in this guide as a jumping off point.
Dear Fellow County Leader,
Each April, we seize the opportunity provided by National County Government Month (NCGM) to elevate our work and teach residents about the importance of county government. The people living and working in our counties benefit from seeing how our work touches their lives, and learning about the broader framework of intergovernmental partnership wherein we deploy local, state, and federal programs on the ground.
When developing your plans for this year’s NCGM, consider the pillars of the ForwardTogether platform:
Connect, focused on building bridges to advance excellence and networks in county government,
Inspire, focused on driving community engagement and residents’ trust in county government, and
Lead, focused on spearheading local, state, federal and tribal intergovernmental partnerships and common-sense policy.
This NCGM, we will tell stories, share data and lift up work that speaks to those values. Spotligh your county's role in making life better for every single resident, and in contributing to the intergovernmental partnership that makes effective governing possible.
As you celebrate your finest programs, I also encourage you to nominate them for a NACo Achievement Award now through March 30, 2024.
In the spirit of NCGM, we celebrate you and thank you for your service and your commitment to helping counties move ForwardTogether!
Hon. Mary Jo McGuire
Commissioner, Ramsey County, Minn.
Counties 101 Resources
Counties Matter. Counties serve nearly every American every day. Urban, suburban and rural — counties work with states, the federal government and other public and private partners to keep our communities healthy, safe and vibrant.
Governing on the Ground is an inside look at the complex challenges faced by officials as they strive to strengthen their communities. The book features 30 short chapters contributed by county leaders.
A comprehensive guide to county government structure, authority, services and finances.
County Fact Sheets
Use these questions to develop your own county's fact sheets, then distribute them to media, post them on your website and share on social media.
- How many children, senior citizens or veterans received county services last year?
- Does your county support a child mentoring program or local food bank?
- How is your county investing in early childhood development?
- How many trained emergency responders are employed by the county?
- How many trained volunteer emergency responders serve the county?
- How many emergency calls were responded to last year?
- How many bookings were processed at the county jail last year?
- What is the daily average jail population?
- How many patients were served last year at county hospitals and clinics?
- How many health department inspections were conducted last year?
- How many vaccinations were administered last year?
- How many emergency room visits were made last year?
- How many nursing homes are in the county?
- How many county residents have health insurance?
- How many seniors did your county serve last year?
- How does your county support caregivers?
- Does your county have programs to assist residents with mobility challenges?
- How many people are unemployed in the county?
- What is the average county wage?
- How many residents received direct job training or unemployment services last year?
- How many businesses have been added to the county? How many new jobs have they brought in?
- How many veterans are in your county?
- How does your county serve veterans in your community?
Ways to Celebrate
Open the County to the Public
Offer In-Person or Virtual Tours
Be sure to keep the public informed of what’s happening on the front lines. Stream meetings over your social media outlets and other digital platforms or offer virtual tours of meeting spaces.
Inform residents of how they can help and what communities or businesses in your county they can offer aid to.
Ways to Celebrate
Include schools in your National County Government Month activities to enable students to learn about county government.
Counties Work Online Game and My County Works Activity Book
NACo, together with iCivics, has created a full curriculum to educate students, grades 6 through 12, about the important role and functions of county government.
Ways to Celebrate
Call Your Member of Congress
National County Government Month is an ideal time to discuss national policy issues affecting county government with members of Congress who represent your county. Schedule a call with your congressional representative(s) or key staff in your congressional district office. Use the call to explain the great challenges facing your county and how Congress can help.
Many important issues are being debated nationally that affect counties. Be prepared with facts and information about how specific federal issues affect your county. Know where your member of Congress stands on important issues and on which committees he or she serves. Your message should be focused, compelling and relevant.
Careful planning is essential to maximize public awareness of National County Government Month activities and the county services and programs you are highlighting. Here are effective ways to help secure positive coverage.
Inform local reporters, editors and broadcasters early and often about NCGM and your county’s plans to celebrate it.
Coordinate newsworthy events or announcements. You can launch new initiatives, announce plans for new programs or recognize county employees for their excellent public service. Keep in mind that newspapers seek in-depth facts, television stations want good visuals and radio reporters want snappy sounds bites. All reporters seek good stories. They want access to knowledgeable and articulate sources to make their stories interesting and informative.
Publish a calendar of NCGM events on your county’s website. Ask the local newspapers to publish the calendar. Ask the local television, cable and radio stations to air public service announcements about county services or events.
Prepare and send media notices well in advance for specific NCGM events. Describe who, what, where, when and why. Make it newsworthy.
Have news releases ready to distribute to the media the day of special NCGM events. Highlight what’s new, beneficial and cost-effective. Use lively, concise quotes from appropriate county officials. Provide contact information.
Actively engage with media to deliver the message that counties matter. All counties, regardless of size, can hold virtual press conferences, media tours of county facilities and programs, and effectively pitch reporters, editors and producers.
National County Government Month - April 2024
WHEREAS, the nation’s 3,069 counties serving more than 330 million Americans provide essential services to create healthy, safe and vibrant communities; and
WHEREAS, counties fulfill a vast range of responsibilities and deliver services that touch nearly every aspect of our residents’ lives; and
WHEREAS, [INSERT YOUR COUNTY’S NAME] and all counties take pride in our responsibility to protect and enhance the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents in efficient and cost-effective ways; and
WHEREAS, under the leadership of National Association of Counties President Mary Jo McGuire, NACo is highlighting county leadership through the lens ForwardTogether, celebrating the role of county governments in connecting, inspiring and leading as intergovernmental partners; and
WHEREAS, that role includes a responsibility to inspire county residents to engage with their communities, and to lead by highlighting our strength as intergovernmental partners; and
WHEREAS, each year since 1991 the National Association of Counties has encouraged counties across the country to elevate awareness of county responsibilities, programs and services; and
WHEREAS, [INSERT COUNTY SPECIFIC INFO TO HIGHLIGHT]
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT I, [INSERT NAME & TITLE OF CHIEF ELECTED OFFICIAL], do hereby proclaim April 2024 as National County Government Month and encourage all county officials, employees, schools and residents to participate in county government celebration activities.
Sample Press Release
CONTACT: Bea Candid
Able County to Celebrate National County Government Month
Leaders to highlight county innovations in public health and safety, justice, other county programs
Everytown, USA (April 1, 2024) — Able County will celebrate National County Government Month (NCGM) during the month of April to showcase how the county achieves healthy, safe and vibrant communities.
The theme for this year’s celebration of NCGM is “ForwardTogether,” inspired by the signature focus of National Association of Counties (NACo) President Mary Jo McGuire. The theme highlights the powerful role of county governments as intergovernmental partners that:
- Connect, building bridges to advance excellence and networks in county government
- Inspire, driving community engagement and residents’ trust in county government, and
- Lead, spearheading local, state, federal and tribal intergovernmental partnerships and common-sense policy solutions.
This year, Able County celebrates NCGM with a range of events and initiatives including: tours of Able County’s government center, nomination of several county programs for NACo Achievement Awards, and the return of the popular “Able County Family Day,” to be held April XX, 2024.
“Able County is proud of the programs and services we provide to our residents,” said Board Chair Allison Awesome. “This month we celebrate the ways our government connects, inspires and leads every day – within our community and in collaboration with our state and federal partners. I encourage all county residents to participate in National County Government Month outreach events to learn about the important role of county government.”
Since 1991, NACo has encouraged counties across the country to raise public awareness about county roles and responsibilities during the month of April.
Able County NCGM public events include:
[INSERT COUNTY SPECIFIC INFO TO HIGHLIGHT].
A full listing of NCGM events is available at www.ablecounty.gov.
Social Media Resources
If you already have a page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or another platform, use it to promote activities and carry messages during NCGM. Coordinate a county government month social media team to plan social media outreach efforts and make sure you have lots of photos from all the events.
To celebrate National County Government Month, check out the @NACoTweets "My County Works" activity book for elementary students, created in partnership with @icivics. Download your copy today #NCGM #CountiesWork http://www.naco.org/icivics
To celebrate National County Government Month, play the @NACoTweets @iCivics #CountiesWork game, an online game where anyone can simulate the important roles and functions of #county leaders www.NACo.org/iCivics #TeachLocal #NCGM
#Counties are on the front lines of community health care, operating over 1,900 public health departments and nearly 1,000 hospitals, facilitating critical infrastructure and responsibly investing federal recovery funds. To learn more, visit naco.org/topics/health #NCGM
#Counties own and maintain 44% of our nation's road miles and 38% of our nation's bridges, and are involved in 40% of public transport systems and the operation of 34% of public airports. To learn more, visit www.NACo.org/CountiesMatter #NCGM
Download our full package of NCGM design templates to produce your county’s own posters, flyers, banners, proclamations and buttons.
Have a question?
NACo is here to help. Complete the form, and a member of NACo staff will reach out to provide assistance.