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Start A Forum - 0001 -

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Please use the following checklist to help you launch your local Issues Forum. Sign (simply enter your name) and date each item as you complete it. This will allow E-Democracy.Org staff to monitor your progress and offer assistance at the appropriate times. It will also allow others to follow along with your successes.

1) Sign on the dotted line!

Enter some basic info here to indicate that you are ready to start the process of launching a local Issues Forum in your community! There is no cost nor obligation to start the process, but please wait until you are really ready before starting. Launching a local Issues Forum will take a significant amount of work:

......Name of Forum: {insert forum name}

......Name of Organizer: {insert organizer name}

......Date Started: {insert date}

(Note: Groups should attempt to launch their forum within 3 months of start.)

2) Join our "Locals Online" group

Locals Online is a special online group that we have set up for peer-to-peer support of folks who are launching local Issues Forums. Many of our more experienced volunteers and staff are also on hand in this forum to answer questions and offer words of encouragement.

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

3) Contact An E-Democracy.Org Organizer

If you have not already spoken with an E-Democracy.Org organizer, its probably time to let us know about your intentions and make sure that your project meets E-Democracy.Org guidelines.

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

4) Identify a steering committee

Identify at least 5 people to serve on your steering committee. Your steering committee should not be a group of people with the same political and organizational affiliations within the community. Try to find a small group of people that:

  • Has some degree of political diversity
  • Includes some racial or gender diversity
  • Is able to set aside their personal agendas to create a non-partisan space fro public discussion

Enter at least five names here (it's ok to use first names only):

  1. {insert name}
  2. {insert name}
  3. {insert name}
  4. {insert name}
  5. {insert name}

(Add more lines if necessary!)

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

5) Set up forum for your group to begin organizing

Ask E-Democracy.Org to set up two forums. One will be a closed space where members of your steering committee can communicate about the management of the forum. The second will be the forum itself. Initially, the forum itself will be closed to any traffic - but available for members of the community to JOIN. (Contact Us Here)

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

6) Have a face to face meeting

It would be best if your steering committee could meet together at least once before launching the forum (a conference call is an option). This gives you the opportunity to discuss the charter (see next item on checklist) and make sure that the group has a common understanding of what you hope to accomplish. Its also a good time to decide who will be the forum manager and to discuss expectations and how other members of the Steering Committee might be able to support the forum manager. Check to see if an E-Democracy.Org representative from your region is available to attend this meeting. Contact Us.

  • Pick a date and time MeetingWizard.Com
  • Select a location (we recommend a relaxed atmosphere and easy to access location, like a community coffee shop)
  • Sample Agenda
    1. Select a steering comittee Chair Person. It's best if this is someone other than the Forum Manager.
    2. Draft Charter (item #7 on checklist).
    3. Select a Forum Manager (item #8 on checklist).
    4. Decide how often the steering committee will meet (at least twice a year). Set dates, times, and locations for the next couple of meetings.
    5. Discuss kick-off event.
    6. Training (contact E-Democracy.Org about scheduling an Issues Forum training for your steering committee, either at this meeting or another date/time.)
  • Completed: {insert name, date}

7) Complete charter worksheet

Create your own charter worksheet, using copy and paste, in the same way that you created this page. Please, feel free to use or edit text from other existing forums.

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

8) Identify a forum manager

This might be helpful:

.....Forum Manager: {Insert name}

  • Completed: {Insert name, date}

9) Recruit at least 100 participants

To Do: (move items to Done list as they are completed)

  1. Create a sign up sheet (see template - when available)
  2. Invite local elected officials (add sample email)
  3. Invite local government staff (add sample email)
  4. Invite local reporters (print, video, and internet) (add sample email)
  5. Invite local community organizers (add sample email)
  6. Send invitation to other online groups with community focus
  7. Identify at least one community event to attend and pass out sign up sheet

Done: (move items from To Do list to here as they are completed).

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

10) Organize a Kick-Off Event

You can make this as simple or elaborate as you like. Anything from a "happy hour" at local gathering place or a party at someone's home, to a more structured event with a rented room and scheduled presentations.

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

11) Launch Forum

  • Completed: {insert name, date}

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