Announcing the November Tech Tuesday Featuring Gell

NCDD is excited to announce our next Tech Tuesday will feature the platform Gell. Join us for this FREE event Tuesday, November 14th from 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern/10:00-11:00am Pacific.

Gell is a free mobile/web platform that brings elected officials, parents, students, educators, administrators and concerned citizens together for civil discourse on issues that matter. Gell encourages, facilitates and moderates healthy discussions and debates. They then make it easy for users to find the top rated opinions for and against important issues and candidates, so the community can form its own opinions from a balanced and diverse set of facts and opinions. Columns of opposing views are displayed side-by-side, so users can quickly get a balanced viewpoint and formulate their own opinions. The community can flag inappropriate content (personal attacks, spam, off topic, etc.) for removal from the site. That way, the discussion stays focused on what matters most, while not being distracted by “noise” or irrelevant conversations.

Joining us for this call will be NCDD member Loren Bendele, founder and CEO of Gell. Loren is a serial entrepreneur, and prior to Gell was the co-founder and CEO of Savings.com which he led from launch in 2007 through acquisition in 2012 by Cox Media Group and continued to run within Cox until 2015. Loren was also the founder of Favado, a grocery app that aggregates all the most popular sales and coupons for every major grocery store across the country.  Loren will walk participants through Gell and answer your questions about this new and exciting platform.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn about Gell – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Watch this video to learn more about Gell

Deadline 10/23: Apply to Host A (FREE) Nevins Fellow!

NCDD Member Organization the McCourtney Institute for Democracy is again offering the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. The 2017-18 application for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student is open now through Monday, October 23rd.

We are encouraging our member organizations to apply today for the chance to host a Nevins Fellow next summer! Having a Nevins Fellow work with you is a great way for your organization to take on a special project you haven’t had time for, get extra help with your big summer engagements, or increase your organizational capacity overall – all while helping grow the next generation of D&D leaders!  Nevins fellows work with organizations for eight weeks in the summer, at NO COST to the organization!

This is a unique and limited opportunity, so we encourage you to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 23rd deadline. You can find the application here: http://tinyurl.com/Nevins2017.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before, you can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. The September Confab Call with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute also covered lots of the important details about the program. You can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also check out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the the Jefferson Center, to get a better sense of the student’s experience.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will be great additions to organizations in our field.  We encourage you to apply today!

What We Heard from NCDD’s August Member Calls

NCDD’s staff was delighted to connect with members over the course of three conference calls in August, to talk about what they are working on, what’s going on in the network, and what we can be doing together. We wanted to share with you some of the things we learned and some of the common interests coming from these calls. Read more below and share your thoughts with us in the comments! And of course, to participate in future calls be sure to become an NCDD member.

Connections are Essential

Members expressed their appreciation for NCDD’s regular channels for building connections and staying in touch, including the NCDD listservs, biennial NCDD conferences, social media channels, Confabs, and Tech Tuesdays. These events offer members new connections, opportunities to learn from others, and perhaps most importantly, cross-pollination and the development of collaborative efforts! This is NCDD’s core offerings, along with the latest news on the NCDD Blog, and the extensive collection in the Resource Center. We love to connect with you all and we love to see you connect!

Free Speech, Bias, and How to Address Current Tensions

Members of course brought up recent events in the country, highlighting racial tensions, political tensions, and the national debate about free speech. There is always a strong desire among the NCDD network to discuss current events and think together about how to address them. Most recently that has centered on Charlottesville – see Sandy’s blog post for some more information on the conversation to date.

Another member raised examining the diversity of the D&D field, and purposely look for community partners to diversify our network and be able to tackle racial tensions. Further, a call for self-reflections and assessment of personal biases came up, and there was interest in helping members explore that, and dig deeper. Some folks expressed desire in creating a small group to work together in exploring these topics. If you’re interested – let us know in the comments and we’ll loop you into that conversation when it starts up!

Learning Communities

Similarly, there was a common thread among calls: members want to connect in short and longer-term learning communities, around the topics or practices that they are most interested in. Some of the topics raised included: systems change, social change, entrepreneurial work, technology for engagement, and regional efforts. Is there something you would like to connect with a group of NCDDers around? We encourage you to reach out! Folks are looking for these opportunities, and NCDD is happy to help spread the word. If you organize a call, share it on the NCDD Discussion Listserv, post it on the NCDD Facebook Group, and share it on the NCDD Blog. We’ll help you connect with others who would like to talk about your topic of interest!

Coming Up

NCDD’s staff is working on creating spaces to discuss timely topics in the coming months. We’ll be opening registrations for upcoming Confabs and Tech Tuesdays soon. The first Confab will feature staff of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, talking about their work in their community relating to community-police relations. They have been at this work for 20 years and have really built a community infrastructure for working together to address problems and discuss tough issues among a diverse community. There is lots we can all learn from their work – more details on that call coming soon!

We’re also planning to convene a conversation about dialogue following the events in Charlottesville, to discuss how we can be helping our communities tackle free speech, as well as racial, ethnic, and religious tensions. More information on this call coming soon, as well.

And of course – 2018 will be a conference year! Staff is working with the Board right now to determine the date and location of the conference. We hope to be announcing that soon, and starting to engage with you all around what you’d like to see, talk about, and do!

But for right now: What would you like to talk about? How would you like to connect with others? Take a moment to share with us in the comments below. We look forward to continuing these conversations and exploring the latest topics with the network this fall and beyond!

Apply to Host a Nevins Fellow – Deadline October 23!

NCDD was happy to host a Confab Call this week with our partners at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy – an NCDD member organization – who talked about the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. Nearly two dozen organizations participated in the call, which marked the launch of the 2017-18 application for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student who will work with their organization for eight weeks next summer at no cost.

We are encouraging our member organizations to apply today for the chance to host a Nevins Fellow next summer! Having a Nevins Fellow work with you is like bringing on a new full-time staffer, so it’s a great way for your organization to finally take on a special project you haven’t had time for, get extra help with your big summer engagements, or increase your organizational capacity overall – all while helping bring more young people into our field and growing the next generation of D&D leaders!

Opportunities like this don’t come often or last long, so we encourage you to make sure to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 23rd deadline. You can find the application at http://tinyurl.com/Nevins2017.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before, or are looking for a little more information, you are in luck!. You can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. We also had an informative discussion on the Confab Call with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute, who covered lots of the important details about the program, and you can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also get a better sense of what the program experience is like from the student’s perspective by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the the Jefferson Center.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students who applicants will have the chance to work with or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will add enormously to the organizations they work with and that this program is helping secure the future of our field – a wonderful testament to vision of the program founder and NCDD member David Nevins. We encourage you to apply today!

Join NCDD Confab on Nevins Fellowship Program Sept. 20th

We encourage our NCDD member organizations to register to join us for a special Confab Call on Wednesday, September 20th from 1-2pm Eastern / 10-11am Pacific that can help your organization build capacity while helping the emerging student leaders of our field gain skills and experience in D&D work!mccourtney-logo

NCDD is hosting an exciting presentation and discussion with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, who will be sharing about the incredible opportunity for organizations to host a D&D-trained student fellow at no cost next summer through their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program! You won’t want to miss it!

This is a rare and competitive opportunity for leading organizations in our field, and this Confab Call will be one of the best ways to find out more about how your group can take advantage of this program, so make sure to register today to save your spot on the call!

The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program was founded in 2014 after a gift from David Nevins, President and Co-Director of NCDD Organizational Member the Bridge Alliance. The program provides Penn State students with education and ­training in transpartisan leadership skills by exposing them to a variety of viewpoints and philosophies, as well as teaching critical thinking along with the tools of dialogue and deliberation.

But the flagship work of fostering the next generation of democracy leaders centers on the yearly initiative to place Nevins Program students in unique fellowship position with organizations focused on D&D, transpartisan dialogue, and civic renewal – that means organizations like yours! Stipends and living expenses are provided to the students through the program so that organizations can bring these bright, motivated students into their work for a summer at no cost to them. It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone involved! You can get a better sense of what the program experience is like by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with NCDD Sponsoring Member The Jefferson Center.

NCDD is proud to have partnered the last couple years with the McCourtney Institute to help identify organizations in the field that can host Nevins fellows, and we’re continuing the partnership this year. This Confab Call is the best way to get your organization plugged into the process, so be sure to register today to learn more about the program and how to apply!

On this Confab, NCDD Member and McCourtney’s Managing Director Christopher Beem will provide an overview of the Nevins program and its aims, discuss the training that the future fellows are going through, and share more about how your organization can take advantage of this great chance to help cultivate the next generation of D&D leaders while getting more support for your work – all for FREE! We’ll also be joined by NCDD Member Robin Teater of Healthy Democracy, who will share her experiences hosting a fellow this summer. We can’t wait to talk more with you on the call!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls…

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing, and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Register today if you’d like to join us.

NCDD Members: Thank You!

On behalf of NCDD’s staff, I wanted to thank all of our members who have joined or renewed their membership over the past several months. You all really stepped up after NCDD announced our membership changes and asked you to take action. NCDD relies on our members support, and we’ve been blown away by your response and commitment to this work!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out how to maximize your membership – there are great benefits, discounts, and opportunities to share news and information with this community! This week we sent out an email to all members letting you know about some upcoming exclusive calls for NCDD members to chat with staff about their work and what they’d like to see the NCDD network talk about in the coming months – be sure to check your email! Our staff look forward to connecting with you soon.

Our member map and directory have been updated to reflect the changes in our membership structure – you can check them out at ncdd.org/map or browse the map below!

We also want to share a big thank you to our very first sponsoring member, the Jefferson Center for New Democratic Processes!

We appreciate the added support a sponsoring membership provides.  We also want to make sure you all know about this great organization! We’ll be sharing more about the Jefferson Center on our website soon (as we will be doing for all sponsoring members), but in the meantime be sure to check out their website at  www.jefferson-center.org.

If you did not get a chance to join or renew your membership before our changes took place – it’s not too late! Be sure to join or renew today, and reinstate your membership!

The NCDD staff thank you all again for recommitting to NCDD and the work of bringing people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together. We are constantly inspired by you all and the work you do, and we look forward to connecting with you all soon!

Stories and Reflections from Elevate Engagement

Last month, I had the great pleasure of attending Elevate Engagement, a conference hosted by the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon and organized in partnership with NCDD member organization Journalism That Matters.

Over 130 participants took part in this conference, including many journalists, some engagement practitioners (NCDD member orgs the Jefferson Center and Healthy Democracy among them), activists, and others. Organizers used Open Space, World Cafe, Pro-Action Cafe, and other engagement techniques to discuss the question, “How do we elevate engagement for communities to thrive?”

Over the course of the four days, I heard a whole host of stories of journalists making efforts and succeeding in creating more quality engagement with the communities they serve. A couple examples I recommend checking out include:

  • The Evergrey organized a trip and conversation between King County, WA voters (who voted 74% for Clinton in 2016) and Sherman County, OR voters (who voted 74% for Trump).
  • Spaceship Media and the Alabama Media Group brought together women who voted for Trump in Alabama with women who voted for Clinton in California for an online dialogue on a variety of political issues.
  • KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, launched “Unheard LA – the stories of where you live,” a community-driven storytelling series that featured community members sharing their experiences in various formats (music, poetry, etc.). They also went a step further and shared what they learned when they stopped talking and started listening.

These are just a couple stories, out of many inspiring ones I heard in my time attending the conference. I found it noteworthy that some of these efforts incorporated good dialogue and facilitation practices, whether or not the journalists were knowledgable of these practices (some were, some were not). I also noted that for others, there was a strong desire to do more, but a sense of struggle or an uphill battle to achieve this kind of level of engagement.

Some of the challenges I heard were that this kind of quality engagement can take time, which does not always fit the realities of the newsroom. Others noted the need for additional resources, in terms of staff, time, and money to carry out more quality engagement. And for others, it really boiled down to finding good models and good partners to be able to engage communities which have traditionally been hurt and/or unheard by journalists and media outlets. The desire to be able to reconcile with communities who have been shut out, misrepresented, or harmed by media was a strong theme throughout the conference.

My own biggest takeaway was that journalists have a strong desire and sense of mission to build better engagement, but that many also think they need to take it on alone. I was joined by other NCDDers in sharing the message that our network has a wealth of skills, models, and experience for engagement, and that many (if not all!) of us are willing partners for journalists in these efforts. NCDD intends to continue our conversation with Journalism That Matters about this and to find further opportunities to connect journalists and engagement practitioners. Working together can help both of our fields achieve our goals and, more importantly, raise the voices of the people across our country.

For more information, check out the Elevate Engagement website where you can learn more about the conference and check out session notes. You may also want to take a look through #PDXengage17 on Twitter to catch videos, quotes, and other participant thoughts.

NCDD’s Membership Drive Ends June 18th – Join Us!

We have reached the final THREE DAYS in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s membership drive. Our staff would love to see you join or renew your membership in NCDD before we end this drive on Sunday, June 18!

Here are three reasons why we (and others) think it’s worth joining NCDD:

1. Direct member benefits

As a member, you have access to numerous direct benefits that are worth much more than the cost of membership. Members get:

  • Access to discounts on trainings and workshops, as well as a special registration rate at NCDD Conferences!
  • First notice of news and opportunities, including jobs postings on the Making-A-Living Listserv, and the latest news through a special NCDD Member Newsletter.
  • Access to a wealth of information and experiences through access to the archives of NCDD Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays!
  • A listing on the NCDD Member Map and Directory,
  • And more! Check out ncdd.org/join for more details.

“Over the years I have reaped far more in benefits from NCDD than the tiny dues might warrant. NCDD has opened my eyes to new, powerful tools and wide-ranging perspectives that enrich my organizational work and make me a better facilitator. I’ve also gained some wonderful colleagues through NCDD. It was time to give back to an organization that has given me a great deal!”
– Juli Fellows, Ph.D.

2. Connections to others doing this work

One of the most commonly noted benefits of being a member of the NCDD network is the connections that are made between members. NCDD is unique in that our members represent a variety of professions, models for dialogue, and areas of focus or expertise. For many, becoming a member in NCDD means finding the people who best understand your work and who can help you develop and grow your practice. Imagine what you can gain from being in close communication with such a rich network!

“NCDD is the first place I turn if I need technical assistance with a dialogue issue/situation and it is the resource I share most often with others interested in learning more about dialogue. ”
– Cathey Capers, Wellspring Resources, Austin, Texas

3. Helping keep NCDD Sustainable

Your membership dues is essential to keeping NCDD sustainable. We’re a small organization, and rely on our members’ support in addition to grants and donations in order to keep this network strong and growing. Your membership dues goes directly to helping our staff continue to offer our programs and resources to you!

 “I was ‘there at the beginning’, and I think that what you all are doing is so very important for our polarized, fractured world.”

– Jim Snow, NCDD Founding Member

“More than ever now we have to support the work each and all of us are doing in the dialogue and deliberation field – or we’re doomed. As I see it, NCDD is our lodgepole.”

– Deborah Goldblatt, Director, World Café Services, World Café Community Foundation

We hope you’ll consider joining or renewing your membership in NCDD by Sunday, June 18th, when our membership drive ends. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to all we can do together going forward!

A Message from NCDD Board Chair Martin Carcasson

I wanted to take an opportunity to make another appeal to everyone to consider supporting NCDD by becoming a dues-paying member. As you’ve likely read, NCDD is changing its membership structure in order to build capacity in the organization. Effective June 19, all members will need to have their dues current to continue receiving member benefits and remain listed on the member map and directory.

As the current chair of the NCDD Board of Directors, I can tell you we struggled with this decision. We want to keep NCDD as open and accessible as possible, which is why we’ve traditionally had open membership without required dues (dues were optional). But as we continue to work to create capacity to address to the troubling hyper-partisanship of our times, we recognized that we needed more stability in the organizational structure to accomplish our work. NCDD had to grow up a little, and have a more consistent funding stream, particularly for our leadership positions. Once we establish the new structure, Courtney and Sandy should be able to focus so much more on doing the work and building, improving, and serving the network rather than searching for the dollars to cover their salaries.

I do hope you see the value in supporting NCDD. Yes, there are member benefits, but above all I hope people see this as a contribution to an organization whose work has never been as important as it is now. At a time when polarization and cynicism is tearing the country apart, those of us in NCDD know we have better ways of engaging the tough issues that actually bring people together. We also know that despite all the rancor, people do yearn for authentic engagement, and prefer that to the noise when given an opportunity.

I first became connected with NCDD in San Francisco in 2006. I don’t actually remember how I initially heard about the conference, but I was in the process of getting the Center for Public Deliberation started at Colorado State, and made it out to the coast to hopefully learn some useful skills. What I actually found was my tribe. An incredibly diverse group of people who saw the world like I saw it, passionate about making a difference and catalyzing change, but recognizing that the best way to do just that was by focusing on changing the conversation and giving people real opportunities to engage each other genuinely. I hope you see NCDD through a similar lens, and will help us expand and solidify our work by supporting the organization moving forward as an NCDD member.

Martin Carcasson
Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Professor, Communication Studies at Colorado State University
Chair, NCDD Board of Directors

Thanking Roshan for His Contributions to NCDD

We’re sad to announce that NCDD’s Blog Curator and Youth Engagement Coordinator, Roshan Bliss, is leaving NCDD this month to accept a position in Denver as a community organizer with a group called Together Colorado. Roshan has been with NCDD for over four years, and has left quite a mark on NCDD and our members who have worked with him.

Sandy and I first met Roshan as we were planning the 2012 NCDD Conference in Seattle. Roshan jumped in and served as our volunteer coordinator at the conference, and we were impressed by his energy, enthusiasm, and organization! He made the conference process smooth for us both, and we knew we had to scoop him up and get him involved with NCDD. He joined the team as our Blog Curator shortly thereafter.

Many of you may know him more recently as our Youth Engagement Coordinator, working hard at the 2014 and 2016 NCDD Conferences to bring students and young professionals to the conferences and engaging them in conversations with one another and with mentors for a mutual exchange of insights and guidance. Roshan has always been a strong advocate for creating more regular programming for students and newcomers to the field, and he took the lead in launching our new Emerging Leaders Initiative in 2016.

Roshan’s NCDD email address will remain active for now, and he’ll continue to work with NCDD periodically. Keiva Hummel, who has served as our Resource Curator for several years, will be taking on a new role of Communications Coordinator and taking over responsibility for the blog. She and I will also be working together to ensure the Emerging Leaders Initiative continues to develop and grow.

Roshan has done a lot for NCDD and our field, and he will continue to be an active member of our community. But we’ll miss working with him daily at NCDD! We’re thrilled for him and look forward to hearing more about the great work he will be doing. Please join us in thanking him for all of his contributions and congratulating him on this new and exciting opportunity!