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!

Envisioning What We Can Do Together in NCDD

The NCDD network has been finding new ways to address the deep divisions in our world. Most recently, following the 2016 Presidential election, we’ve found our work to be more critical than ever. Our network has been thinking a lot about #BridgingOurDivides, and we think now is the time to get excited about what we can do together!

XS Purple NCDD logoThe Opportunities We See

Recently, NCDD has been working with the American Library Association on their newest project, Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change. This project brings training on numerous D&D methods to librarians eager to learn how they can apply them in their communities. And boy, are librarians eager! We’ve had at least 500 librarians participate in the project to date. This provides an exciting opportunity to introduce librarians to NCDD members, and NCDD’s hope is to expand this effort to include more direct connections between libraries and our members. These libraries will need some guidance and support as they get started with these community engagement efforts – and what better support system than NCDD members!

Our Confab Calls have been focused on new opportunities to connect and collaborate to bridge divides. Recent calls have featured Not In Our Town, which works with communities to address issues of hate and intolerance, and Journalism That Matters, bringing together journalists and public engagement practitioners to explore areas for collaboration. These are just the start of conversations about ways we can align our work to help our communities engage in dialogue on the issues important to them.

NCDD has also been talking with new folks and organizations about opportunities to connect to and tap into our membership. Information on new opportunities are coming soon from the 92nd Street Y’s Ben Franklin Circles, The Chisel, and others for our network to work with, connect to, and collaborate!

Finding new avenues for collaboration, whether with libraries, journalists, or other organizations and sectors is essential to expanding and sustaining the work of bringing people together across traditional lines to make decisions on the issues that affect them. We’re excited for what’s to come, new opportunities, and ways we can continue to help bridge the divides in our communities and nation.

Stay in the Loop!

Make sure you don’t miss out on these opportunities – be sure to join,  renew, or upgrade your membership in NCDD to stay in the loop! NCDD members hear about new events and work opportunities first and get access to special opportunities! Plus, being a member of NCDD gets you a seat at our table – our membership is at the heart of NCDD, and we consult and work with our membership to create programming, explore collaborations, and more!

If you’re currently a non-dues-paying member, the last day to upgrade your membership before the new changes to membership benefits take full effect is June 15th. Don’t keep waiting! We want you to continue to be a part of the future of NCDD and the dialogue & deliberation field, so join usrenew, or upgrade your membership today!

NCDD Launches New Membership Structure to Strengthen D&D Field

We live in critical times. Dialogue, deliberation, and a commitment to effective public engagement methods are crucial to helping bridge the increasingly bitter partisan, racial, religious, and socioeconomic divides in our society.Small green NCDD logo

NCDD is committed to improving discourse and decision-making through better engagement by providing our members with the latest news, tools, and resources in D&D. But there is also a great need to do even more, and that means that NCDD must keep itself sustainable in order to help our community do this important work together.

In order to do that, NCDD is rolling out some adjustments to our membership structure.

What’s Changing?

The main and most necessary adjustment to our structure is that – effective immediately – we will no longer have a non-dues membership level, so in order to continue getting all the benefits of NCDD membership, our non-dues members will need to upgrade to a dues-paying membership level (individual, student, or organizational) by June 15th.

As always, NCDD will continue to offer some critical services and resources to anyone who is interested in D&D – for instance, our Resource Center and News Blog, our main Discussion List, and most of our online events will remain free and open to the public. But soon we will be making many of our services and other special opportunities – like updates about jobs in the field, access to the archived recordings of our Confab Call and Tech Tuesday events, the Emerging Leaders listserv, and more – direct benefits of membership.

This is a necessary step to ensure that NCDD is here to support our members for years to come. For a complete list of member benefits, please visit ncdd.org/join.

In order to streamline the process for everyone, we’re also making it easier to become a member by:

  • Offering a new monthly dues option in addition to our normal yearly dues plan,
  • Offering the option to auto-renew your dues via credit card,
  • And adding a sliding-scale for organizational members.

These are just some of the changes we’re making to our membership structure, and you can read up on the full list
of changes at ncdd.org/join.

We encourage our members and our broader community to review the options and make the commitment to continue advancing this work by joining, renewing, or upgrading your membership. Our current members will have until June 15th to ensure their dues are in good standing before any changes to their status will occur. For more information on these changes, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Strengthening the Network for the Future

It will take strong commitments and collaborative efforts across our network to make the impact we wish to see in our communities and nation. NCDD continues to be committed to helping our network and our field strengthen its work and explore new areas for collaboration.

Together there is no end to what we can accomplish. And as we continue our efforts to address the deep divides in our communities and to improve civil discourse and decision-making, we hope you will consider recommitting to the work of NCDD or joining us for the first time by renewing your NCDD membership or becoming a member.

NCDD’s staff is honored to be able to support such an incredible network of people, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you on this important work!

Join NCDD Confab on Non-Hierarchical Orgs with Loomio, May 4th

We are excited to invite the NCDD network to register to join us for our next Confab Call on Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. This one-hour webinar event will feature a conversation with staff of Loomio, a collaborative online decision making tool and a worker-owned cooperative based in New Zealand.

Some of you may remember that NCDD hosted a Tech Tuesday webinar on Loomio a couple years ago where we showcased the features of Loomio’s decision making tool. But during this Confab, the discussion will focus on Loomio’s organizational dynamics, philosophy, and what lessons the dialogue and deliberation field can learn from – and offer to – non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs.

Loomio is part of Enspiral – a global network that is also a lab for new ways distributed innovators can collaborate. Their team recognizes that there’s a need and opportunity for new ways of working for diverse groups to become more nimble, creative and productive. Loomio recently made an open source handbook that teaches others to use their cooperative work processes, and a few of their staff have been on a US tour this month to host discussions with different organizations who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” We are inviting Loomio to share and reflect with the NCDD network as a “virtual stop” on their tour, and we hope you will join us!

We will be joined on the Confab by Rich Bartlett, one of the co-founders of both Loomio and Enspiral, and NCDD member MJ Kaplan, also a Loomio co-founder and social innovator in her own right. Rich and MJ will help us learn more about the unconventional, non-hierarchical approaches that their networks apply to shared work and collaborative workplaces, and engage in dialogue with participants about how these approaches apply to, intersect with, and diverge from the work of the D&D field.

You won’t want to miss this great discussion, so to register today to be part of it!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk withand 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. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

About Our Guests

Rich Bartlett is co-founder and Director of Autonomy at Loomio, as well asa software developer, activist, and open source hardware hacker. He is also a co-founder of the Enspiral Network, a “DIY” social enterprise support network of companies and professionals brought together by a set of shared values and a passion for positive social impact. Rich believes in the boundless potential of small self-organising groups to reshape society in a way that works for the planet.

MJ Kaplan is a social entrepreneur and consultant who weaves across sectors and industries to enable groups to align purpose and operationalize innovative collaborative practices. She splits her time working with Loomio, Kaplan Consulting, teaching/coaching at Brown University and serving on Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Commerce RI boards. She founded Kaplan Consulting in 2000, a networked consulting group that works globally with groups to gain clarity about shared purpose and to design innovative approaches to work that are deeply human-centered, agile and adaptive. In 2013, MJ was Ian Axford Fulbright Fellow in New Zealand. MJ was awarded the Cordes Innovation Fellowship by Ashoka U and honored as The Outstanding Mentor for RI Business Women Awards. MJ earned her M.Ed. from Harvard University and B.A. Brown University.