Democracy Fund Revamps electiononline Website

If you are looking for unbiased news and information on US elections, then check out the newly revamped electionline website! The Democracy Fund – a sponsor of NCDD2018, recently redeveloped the platform, which is a resource for our nation’s elections and offers tools and best practices for improving the voter experience. The site has daily news, an elections calendar, training resources, jobs marketplace – and is a great space for civic organizations, elected officials, or anyone interested in learning more about US elections. You can read the announcement below and find the original version here.


Democracy Fund Relaunches electionline

Today we are pleased to unveil a new and improved electionline — America’s only politics-free source for election administration news and information.

In January 2018, we announced that electionline had become a project of Democracy Fund’s Elections program. We felt then, as we do now, that it is a vital platform for finding trusted news and information about the people and processes that guide our nation’s elections, and for sharing tools, best practices, and innovative ideas for improving the voting experience. Our simple goals for redeveloping the site were to enhance its capabilities and expand content — but our long-term plans are to create a place where readers are exposed to new ideas, opportunities for continuing education, and relationship building.

To do this, we started by thinking long and hard about the site’s current audience and their needs. Starting today, election administrators, academics, voting advocates and other regular readers of electionline will find new items of interest on the site, including:

  • A calendar of national, state and other field-relevant events;
  • A directory of organizations and their areas of expertise;
  • Reports, trainings, tools, guides, and other materials;
  • A marketplace featuring job openings in the elections field and information on used election equipment for sale; and
  • Better search functionality throughout

Electionline remains the only place on the internet to find state-by-state curation of daily election administration news. In addition to publishing the classic electionline Weekly newsletter, we will also begin sharing original reports and exclusive content from leaders and experts in the field — making the site a must-read for local election officials, civic organizations, and journalists who cover elections.

While redeveloping the site, we learned two really insightful lessons that might be helpful for others who are developing virtual spaces for information sharing and engagement.

First, collaborate with your audiences and include some “outsider” perspective. As our team weighed important decisions about the look and feel of the website, we were grateful to receive insight and direction from many readers who already trust and rely on electionline.

Second, reflect your values. Redeveloping or creating a new platform is an opportunity to reinforce essential characteristics that inform readers who your organization is, and what they care about. For us it meant focusing on authenticity (even if it means publishing unflattering stories about ourselves or our partners); transparency about who we support with resources in the field; and cultivating greater interest for under-covered areas of importance like voting trends for overlooked communities.

Through this process, we hope we were able to successfully incorporate the feedback we heard from current readers. We also hope that the new electionline website more deeply resonates with all those who are interested in elections in America. We’re excited to hear your thoughts and reactions as you explore the new website. Please visit www.electionline.org and let us know what you think!

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Democracy Fund site at www.democracyfund.org/blog/entry/democracy-fund-relaunches-electionline.

Join Us for October TechTues Call Feat Konveio on 10/23

In anticipation for the upcoming National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we have an exciting October Tech Tuesday that you won’t want to miss featuring Konveio! We have teamed up with Konveio to bring the NCDD conference guide to life by making it digital, interactive, and engaging (in addition to our classic hardcopy version). Learn all about it at the FREE Tech Tuesday on October 23rd from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern/11:00am-noon Pacific. Save your spot on the call ASAP and register today!

Konveio helps change agents, community-builders and forward-thinkers turn their collaborations into action, not just a PDF! The software is a digital outreach platform that turns bland PDFs into actionable websites to better convey ideas, collect feedback and spark action. Konveio is one of the easiest-to-use engagement tools on the market. Users simply upload their PDFs to an online viewer so others can read and navigate them in their browser. They then add maps, videos, charts, and other rich content to make it more insightful and easier to explore. Finally, they can ask for feedback using embedded surveys or comments directly on the document.

Konveio is a proud sponsor of the NCDD conference. The software will be used to bring this year’s conference guide to life, with videos, maps, recaps, and presentations, as well as ways to provide feedback on sessions. On this webinar, we will be joined by Chris Haller, founder and CEO of Urban Interactive Studio, who created Konveio (which was initially called CiviComment). During this Tech Tuesday session, we’ll give a quick overview of the software, look at some real world Konveio examples, will showcase the #NCDD2018 conference guide and ask for feedback on how to improve it and make it more useful.

It’s great for leaders in the government space, non-profits or other fields who need to convey a draft plan, policy or finding, to make an impact or inspire action. Which is exactly what we’ve heard from early customers:

“We have been getting great feedback from our community on the use of Konveio. It was really easy to load our documents and it’s been easy to review and reply to comments within the document as well.”

“I have been consistently pleased with how easy the platform is to use. Konveio has been a great experience for my government client; it has injected a feeling of transparency and customer-friendly service that they are thoroughly enjoying.”

About our presenter:

Chris Haller is a nationally-recognized User Experience designer and Online Engagement strategist, with a broad background in local government, urban and regional planning and communication technologies. These skills, combined with many years of experience in consulting for urban planning projects, are what brings Urban Interactive Studio’s mission – to provide interactive solutions that allow citizens to participate in making our cities better places to live, work and play – to life.

This will be a great chance to learn more about Konveio and see how it comes to life for the #NCDD2018 conference. Don’t miss out – 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.

Announcing NCDD’s October TechTues Feat Konveio, 10/23

We have an extra special treat for our upcoming October Tech Tuesday featuring Konveio. This FREE event will take place Tuesday, October 23rd from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern/11:00am-noon Pacific. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

Konveio helps change agents, community-builders and forward-thinkers turn their collaborations into action, not just a PDF! The software is a digital outreach platform that turns bland PDFs into actionable websites to better convey ideas, collect feedback and spark action. Konveio is one of the easiest-to-use engagement tools on the market. Users simply upload their PDFs to an online viewer so others can read and navigate them in their browser. They then add maps, videos, charts, and other rich content to make it more insightful and easier to explore. Finally, they can ask for feedback using embedded surveys or comments directly on the document.

Konveio is a proud sponsor of the NCDD conference. The software will be used to bring this year’s conference guide to life, with videos, maps, recaps, and presentations, as well as ways to provide feedback on sessions. On this webinar, we will be joined by Chris Haller, founder and CEO of Urban Interactive Studio, who created Konveio (which was initially called CiviComment). During this Tech Tuesday session, we’ll give a quick overview of the software, look at some real world Konveio examples, will showcase the #NCDD2018 conference guide and ask for feedback on how to improve it and make it more useful.

It’s great for leaders in the government space, non-profits or other fields who need to convey a draft plan, policy or finding, to make an impact or inspire action. Which is exactly what we’ve heard from early customers:

“We have been getting great feedback from our community on the use of Konveio. It was really easy to load our documents and it’s been easy to review and reply to comments within the document as well.”

“I have been consistently pleased with how easy the platform is to use. Konveio has been a great experience for my government client; it has injected a feeling of transparency and customer-friendly service that they are thoroughly enjoying.”

About our presenter:

Chris Haller is a nationally-recognized User Experience designer and Online Engagement strategist, with a broad background in local government, urban and regional planning and communication technologies. These skills, combined with many years of experience in consulting for urban planning projects, are what brings Urban Interactive Studio’s mission – to provide interactive solutions that allow citizens to participate in making our cities better places to live, work and play – to life.

This will be a great chance to learn more about Konveio and see how it comes to life for the #NCDD2018 conference. Don’t miss out – 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.

National Week of Conversation from October 5th – 13th

The next National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is October 5th – 13th! During NWOC, folks around the country will be joining conversations, in hopes to better address the intense divisions in our society through dialogue, deepening understanding, and building relationships. We encourage you to join a conversation already going on and/or start your own here! To help support these conversations, resources like conversations guides and helpful background information are provided on the National Conversation Project (NCP) site here, many from the NCDD coalition! And don’t forget to check out the 3k+ resources on the NCDD Resource Center too! You can read more in the post below and on the NCP site here.


National Week of Conversation: October 5-13

Americans of all stripes are stepping up to address the growing cultural crisis of hyper-polarization and animosity across divides. Together we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with widespread conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. Supported by 100+ organizations, National Conversation Project promotes monthly conversation opportunities as well as National Weeks of Conversation.

In April of this year, thousands of Americans took part in the first National Week of Conversation (NWOC). More than 130 schools, libraries, faith communities, activist groups and nonprofits hosted conversations coast to coast in 32 states. These conversations were grounded in a pledge to listen first and seek understanding. The official #ListenFirst hashtag reached millions during NWOC and continues to be promoted by celebrities and journalists to millions more. NWOC events gained media attention across the nation including in the New York Times.

Majorities of NWOC participants walked away feeling more tolerant, understanding, appreciative and curious toward people with different perspectives. Two-thirds rated the value of their conversation as a 9 or 10 out of 10. More than three-quarters now feel better equipped and more likely to listen first to understand, as well as more likely to participate in conversations across divides. A survey of all Americans found 75% willing to set a good example by practicing conversations across divides, and 36%—amounting to more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign promoting such conversations.

The next National Week of Conversation is October 5th – 13th! Join a conversation already going on or start your own here: www.nationalconversationproject.org/how_to_get_involved

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides on Bridging Divides

Background Information to support these conversations:

National Conversation Project Calendar – click here

National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘18: October 5-13, 2018
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 2, 2018
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 7, 2018
Listen First Friday – Jan: January 4, 2019
Listen First Friday – Feb: February 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Mar: March 1, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Spring ‘19: April 5-13, 2019
Listen First Friday – May: May 3, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jun: June 7, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jul: July 5, 2019
Listen First Friday – Aug: August 2, 2019
Listen First Friday – Sep: September 6, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘19: October 4-12, 2019
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 6, 2019

You can learn more about the National Week of Conversation at www.nationalconversationproject.org/.

Free Webinar Series this Fall on Storytelling for Good

The theme of our upcoming 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation is how to bring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work into greater awareness and more widespread practice. There are a lot of components to what that means and we will explore this much deeper at #NCDD2018! One way to expand the reach and impact of the D&D field is through better storytelling of the work being done to deeper engage with each other. The Communications Network is offering a free Storytelling for Good webinar series this fall, and the first webinar on “Strategy” is August 28th 2 – 3 EST. You can read about the webinar line-up in the post below and find more information on The Comms Network site here.


Storytelling for Good Upcoming Webinars

Storytelling for Good connects you to a suite of tools and a growing community that can help you leverage the power of narrative to increase reach, resources and impact for your social impact organization.

Webinar – Storytelling for Good: Strategy
August 28, 2018 2 – 3 pm EST
RSVP HERE

Stories are powerful: Our brains are literally wired to take in and preserve stories. Done well, stories can drive us to take action.

So how do you tell stories well? There have never been more ways to reach an audience, but it’s harder than ever to really get their attention.

We’re happy to introduce Storytelling for Good. It’s a platform designed with you in mind and will help you and your organization plan and execute a storytelling strategy—giving you the tools, resources, and case studies you need to become a storytelling organization from top to bottom.

In this webinar, we’ll focus on Strategy, one of the four pillars of storytelling.

Future webinars:

Webinar – Storytelling for Good: Content
September 18, 2018 2 – 3 pm EST
RSVP HERE

Webinar – Storytelling for Good: Engagement
October 28, 2018 2 – 3 pm EST
RSVP HERE

Webinar – Storytelling for Good: Evalution
November 8, 2018 2 – 3 pm EST
RSVP HERE

You can find the original version of this announcement on The Communications Network site at https://storytelling.comnetwork.org/.

Listen to This Webinar on How to Hold a Ben Franklin Circle

Back in the day, Ben Franklin had established a mutual improvement club that he organized for over 40 years, in the spirit of dialogue and self improvement. It is in this vein, that the folks at the 92nd Street Y, created the Ben Franklin Circles (also an NCDD member org) to offer a framework to hold conversations on Franklin’s 13 virtues. NCDD partnered with BFC last year and we are thrilled to find this free webinar recently released that gives the basics on what a Circle entails. You can listen to the webinar below and find the original on BFC’s site here.


Ben Franklin Circles 101

This webinar covers the basics of Ben Franklin Circles – great for anyone looking to start one or brush up on the who, what, when, where and why!

Listen to BFC 101 or read the highlights below. Questions? Email us at benfranklincircles@gmail.com.

What is a Ben Franklin Circle?

  • Small groups of people coming together to talk about how they can do good…in their lives, in their work, in their relationships and in the world.
  • Circles choose one of Franklin’s 13 civic virtues and discuss what that virtue means today.

Where did the idea come from?

  • From Franklin! Franklin wrote about his club for mutual improvement – his junto – in his autobiography.
  • The Ben Franklin Circles team at 92nd Street Y updated Franklin’s structure for the 21st Century and created all the tools for people to host their own Circles.

Who are in the Circles?

  • Circles are for anyone and everyone!
  • Find members by personally inviting 5-10 people, posting on social meeting, creating a MeetUp group…or be brave, and drop some invites in your neighbors’ mailboxes and invite them to get together for a conversation.

Where do people host?

  • Locations vary! Public libraries will often provide space. Some groups meet in peoples’ homes or in cafes or restaurants.
  • You’re looking for a casual space that’s not too loud so you can have intimate conversations.

How often do Circles meet?

  • Some meet monthly, some meet every week, some just meet once to try it out!

What’s next?

  • Check out our toolkit and/or join our Host Facebook Group
  • Set date, invite your members, set a location and you’re ready to go.
  • Let us know when you’ve started so we can add you to our map, social media, host resources list serve and more!

Takeaways

  • Circles are an opportunity to pause, reflect and connect with others around big ideas.
  • Members are encouraged to leave each Circle conversation with one actionable thing they can do for good.
  • Circles are very similar to a salon. The Circle model simply gives you an easy structure/topic to use for your conversations.
  • There’s no wrong way to do this!

You can find the original version of this article on the Ben Franklin Circles’ site at www.benfranklincircles.org/webinar/ben-franklin-circles-101.

Upcoming Webinar on DCP’s Academy Training Initiative

We are excited to share an upcoming academy training initiative, Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division, hosted by the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution and the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law – an NCDD member. This is a free opportunity to attend the Academy and learn strategies around addressing divisions and civil unrest in your community. Sign up for the informational webinar on Tuesday, August 14th to learn more! You can read the announcement below and find the original on the DCP site here.


DCP Launches Academy Training Initiative – Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division

Complete your community’s application today!

Academy Details
In Chicago, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2019, the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution (Collectively the Hosts) host a national Academy, We, the People: Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Civil Unrest for Community Leaders.  The program’s goals are three-fold:

  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning, capacity building, and the specific skill-sets of each participant and participating communities to better identify and  implement constructive strategies to prepare for, address, and/or respond to local policies, practices, and/or actions of residents or local officials, that undermine community trust and may divide and polarize communities.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group that can serve as a reliable source of independent information, and cross-sector collaborative planning and engagement, for its community’s public sector leadership.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each leadership team to build on  Academy programming through further initiatives within each respective, participating community.

DCP Steering Committee members will facilitate the Academy with support from the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.  Collectively, Academy leaders bring significant experience in serving as mediators, interveners, and process designers, in conflicts of national significance and are recognized not only as nationally pre-eminent trainers of mediators and facilitators but also  as authors of leading books, articles, and pedagogical materials examining effective third-party intervention principles and strategies in divisive community conflicts.

The Academy program will include conversation with civic leaders versed in the challenges of addressing community division and facing potential or imminent civil unrest.  Using the Divided Community Project’s tools as a guide—including strategies used in other DCP communities—participants will develop constructive and collaborative strategies to prepare for, address, or respond to resident or official actions that polarize community members. Core leaders from each community attending the Academy will develop strategies so that the group can serve as a reliable source of independent planning and engagement to its community’s public political leadership.

Application Timeline*

August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern: Participate on a forty-five minute informational webinar.  The webinar will be available as a recording if prospective applicants cannot attend.  Sign up for the webinar using this link.

DEADLINE: September 7, 2018: Submit this preliminary application.

September 15 to November 1, 2018: Work with the Hosts to further illustrate commitment to the project.

November 15, 2018: Academy participants announced.

* depending on the number of applications received, the Hosts may extend one or more of the above-referenced dates or deadlines.

Application Criteria
The Hosts intend to communities based on three criteria: diversity, commitment, and need.

Diversity
Diversity is fundamental to the program.  The hosts anticipate selecting participant communities that collectively reflect diversity of geography, size, and community demographics.  The hosts urge core leadership groups to consider how they reflect the diversity of their own community.

Commitment
Applicants should identify the four to seven core leaders who are committed to attending the national academy on March 3, 4, and 5.

Applicants should tentatively articulate how the core leadership group will begin convening broad-based community planning efforts to identify and address issues that polarize the community and whether and how the core leadership group has (or will) meet prior to the Academy.

Applicants should commit to working with the Divided Community Project—following the Academy—to implement initiatives aimed at addressing community polarization.

Need
Applicants should articulate their perception of issues polarizing their home community as well as their perception of the next issues that may be facing their home community.

Informational Webinar August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern:

  • To join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device please click this URL: https://zoom.us/j/949768906
  • To join by phone:
    • Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 929 436 2866
    • Webinar ID: 949 768 906

Commonly Asked Questions
What is the cost? Due to generous support from the AAA-ICDR Foundation, the Academy is free for core community leaders.  The Hosts will provide coach airfare, lodging, and meals for Academy participants.

You can read the original announcement on the DCP’s site at https://moritzlaw.osu.edu/dividedcommunityproject/2018/07/16/dcp-launches-community-training-initiative/.

Local Civic Challenge #4: Telling Your Community’s Story

In the final installment of the Local Civic Challenge from by NCDD member, The Jefferson Center, they recommend folks get involved in telling the story of your local community. Last month, the Local Civic Challenge offered a mini-challenge every week to encourage folks to be more civically engaged in your community and local democratic efforts. This fourth edition advises to get to know your neighbors and listen to their stories, as well as, participate in your local newsgathering and share the story of your community. You can read the post below and find the original on the JC site here.


Local Civic Challenge #4: Telling the Story of Your Community

Supporting local storytelling strengthens our relationships and preserves the history of our communities. When we listen to the experiences of our neighbors, we can better understand one another, which makes it easier to work through projects and issues together.

Think about your role in your local news ecosystem–are you subscribed to the local paper? Do you know what the current headlines are? Can you identify a few stories that aren’t being covered, but should be? According to a 2015 Pew survey, Americans are great at sharing news, but we don’t often get involved in actual newsgathering ourselves.

For this week’s civic challenge, we’ve found a few ways you can start collecting stories and amplifying diverse voices in your neighborhood:

1. Meet with people

Find events like garage sales, movies in the park, and clothing swaps where you can sit (or stand) across from someone and get to know them. If these don’t exist already, create your own community gatherings! Share online, and post to community bulletin boards in places like the grocery store and community center.

2. Submit an op-ed or write a blog post

Take stock of the local papers and blogs in your community to see where you could submit a story. Here are a few tips on how to start writing for your community paper.

3. Use technology

Apps and social media pages that connect neighborhoods are becoming more common, such as:

Nextdoor is a “private social network” for your community. While some people use the app to report a break-in or a lost dog, you can also post about upcoming cookouts or garage sales.

Ioby helps kickstart community projects, through crowd-funding, social networks, volunteers, and advocacy. You can find out what projects are happening near you, and if it’s a cause you can get behind, help spread the word.

Patch is a customizable “hyperlocal” news feed with real-time alerts, local articles, and easy social sharing.

Neighborhood Facebook groups are another way to share photos, events, news, and concerns with people who live close to you.

Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: by following the hashtag and location of your city on these apps, you can see what people are posting about locally.

4. Host a listening booth

Setting up a listening booth is easy: find a spot with some foot traffic, set up a table and two chairs, and make a sign that says “Let’s Chat!” Giving people your undivided attention, instead of focusing on when it’s your turn to talk, will likely open up an incredible conversation about their life experiences.

5. Launch a community history project

Using all the techniques above, you can record stories with tools like the StoryCorps app, which give people a chance to easily record meaningful conversations that are then archived at the Library of Congress. On their website, you’ll find guides to asking questions, resources you need to record, how to prepare for a storyteller interview, and more.

If you like taking photos, you could pair your story collecting with a photo series, like Humans of New York.

This marks the end of the Local Civic Challenge! Do you have other ideas that will help people get engaged with their communities? Let us know below.

You can find the original version of this article on The Jefferson Center site at www.jefferson-center.org/telling-story-your-community/.

Public Agenda Exploring Engagement Webinar on July 26th

Looking to strengthen your engagement skills and learn more tools for doing this work? Then we encourage you to check out the upcoming opportunities with NCDD member org, Public Agenda! This week on Thursday, July 26th, they will be offering a free webinar on Exploring Engagement: Cutting-Edge Topics, Trends, and Tools from 3:30 – 4:30pm Eastern, 12:30 – 1:30 Pacific. Later in the fall, PA will host an in-person workshop on October 23rd in Silver Spring, MD, where Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will conduct an all-day training for leaders looking to strengthen their engagement strategies. You can learn about both in the post below and find the original information on PA’s site – here for this week’s webinar and here for the fall workshop.


WEBINAR – Exploring Engagement: Cutting-Edge Topics, Trends, and Tools

Topic: Exploring Engagement: Cutting-edge topics, trends, and tools

Description: What exactly is engagement and why does it matter? How do you make the case that your organization or community should be engaging more? Why are residents expecting (or demanding) different opportunities to engage? What are “thick” and “thin” forms of engagement? How can engagement affect political and social inequities? What are the cutting-edge trends and tools, and the latest success stories? What are the mistakes to avoid?

Join us for a one-hour webinar on Thursday, July 26, where Public Agenda’s engagement team will present some answers to these questions, take questions and suggestions, and introduce resources for further exploration.

Time: July 26, 2018 3:30 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

REGISTER HEREwww.publicagenda.org/pages/webinar-exploring-engagement-cutting-edge-topics-trend-and-tools

WORKSHOP – Public Engagement Strategy in Silver Spring

Who: Leaders looking to revamp or strengthen their engagement strategy
Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. EST
Location: Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Agenda: October 23, 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. EST — Public Agenda workshop

Looking for assistance with organizing and sustaining productive public engagement? Struggling to decide how to use online engagement tools? Frustrated with the standard “2 minutes at the microphone” public meeting? Need expert advice on bringing together a diverse critical mass of people?

Our Public Engagement team is leading a workshop on how you can hone an effective engagement strategy.

On October 23, Public Agenda’s Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will:

  • Provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of public engagement today;
  • Help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of public engagement in your community;
  • Explore potential benefits of more sustained forms of participation;
  • Demonstrate a mix of small group and large group discussions, interactive exercises, case studies and practical application exercises;
  • Develop skills for planning stronger engagement systems;
  • List existing community assets that can be instrumental for sustained engagement;
  • Anticipate common challenges to planning for stronger systems;
  • Develop an initial set of next steps to pursue.

Learn more about pricing information and how to register in the link below.

REGISTER HEREwww.publicagenda.org/pages/silver-spring-strat-lab-october-23

Free Issue Guide for Addressing Controversial Memorials

For the last few years, many communities have struggled with what to do with the controversial Confederate monuments and memorials that still stand in public areas in cities around the country. NCDD member org, the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) shared on their blog a post about how the city of Jacksonville, Florida, is trying to figure out what to do with these statues by engaging people in the community. Veteran NIFI organizer, Gregg Kaufman developed a 15-page issue guide for the city, to help facilitate community conversations around what to do – you can download the free guide here. Read more about the effort around addressing these controversial memorials and the issue guide below, as well as, you can find the original post on NIFI’s site here.


In Jacksonville, Florida, Public Deliberations Help Inform Plans to Deal with Monuments and Memorials

Last month, veteran National Issues Forums (NIF) convener and moderator, Gregg Kaufman reported on a 16-forum public engagement project in the Jacksonville, Florida area, during February and March, 2018. The project was intended to help people in the community talk about Jacksonville’s history, and to deliberate about the best way to deal with controversial statues and monuments in the area.

In the forums, participants used an issue discussion guide that was authored by Kaufman and sponsored by the Jesse Ball duPont Fund  . The 15-page issue guide, titled How Should We Convey the History of Jacksonville? Monuments, Parks, and People, is available as a free download.

Kaufman has recently followed up with information about the genesis of the forums project, and subsequent, issue-related media coverage, announcements, and activities on the part of public officials.

Kaufman wrote:

In the autumn of 2017, Anna Brosche, City Council President called for public discourse and enlisted the help of the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. Along with Leadership Jacksonville and other organizations, we hosted 16 forums in February and March 2018 with over 200 participants.

A June 20, 2018 local news report included:

“The city council president, who will conclude her leadership of the council at the end of this month, initially took a strong stand for ‘respectfully removing’ and ‘relocating’ the city’s Confederate memorials to places like museums. She has since come to the conclusion that just isn’t feasible in Jacksonville.”

And the same report quotes Brosche:

“There’s a desire to make our parks more welcoming to everyone in the city. At the same time, movement or relocation doesn’t seem to be an option that the entire community supports,” she said.”

When invited to comment about whether, or in what ways getting feedback from public deliberation on this community issue was helpful to her work as a public official, City Council President Broshe responded: It is an honor and privilege to have been elected by the people to serve the people. Public deliberation and public discourse are important contributors to our policy-making responsibilities. I appreciate Gregg Kaufman’s work to help us gain understanding from the citizens we serve on a very important issue for the Jacksonville community, and for the support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Leadership Jacksonville in working to meaningfully engage citizens in the work. Public engagement could serve to improve public trust in government and produce ideas and solutions for elected officials and we could stand to be more effective in educating and engaging the public in our work.

It is also important to note that my position of requesting an inventory for the purpose of respectfully relocating the confederate monument from our public park in the center of our city was informed by public input during meetings, comments in our local papers, as well as the report (from the 16-forum series). This process of public dialogue also yielded conversations and efforts that produced my proposal to erect a memorial to victims of terror lynchings based on the work of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice that opened in April 2018 in Montgomery, Alabama

You can find the full version of this article on NIFI’s site at www.nifi.org/en/jacksonville-florida-public-deliberations-help-inform-plans-deal-monuments-and-memorials.