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Back to [http://e-democracy.org/if About Forums]
 
Back to [http://e-democracy.org/if About Forums]
  
Here is a simple guide to successfully launching an online community forum with E-Democracy.org.
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Here is a simple guide to successfully launching an online community forum.
  
 
== Background ==
 
== Background ==
#  A "neighbors" forum is the most local version of our [http://e-democracy.org/if  Issues Forum] model. It combines inclusive "community life" exchange with civic engagement on very local public issues. While our big city forums have more members, as percentage of households we are reaching 20 times the participation rate from less than 1% to 20% (and growing) of households.
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#  A "neighbors" forum is the most local version of our [http://e-democracy.org/if  Issues Forum] model. It combines inclusive "community life" exchange with civic engagement on very local public issues.
# Forums do not launch themselves. "Build it they will come" simply doesn't work.  
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# Forums do not launch themselves. "Build it they will come" simply doesn't work. We've found it takes 100 members to successfully launch an active forum.
# Our shared technology platform is the easy part. We set it up for you.
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# Our shared technology platform is the easy part. We set it up for you once you've recruited 25 supporters to help you recruit. This is a pilot space that officially "opens" when you've reached 100 members.
# If you volunteer to lead a forum, it is free to host a forum with us and gain access to our useful peer to peer support network. We do hope your participants will donate and we will experiment with forum sponsorship someday.
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# If you volunteer to [http://pages.e-democracy.org/Forum_manager_job_description lead a forum], it is free to host a forum with us and gain access to our useful peer-to-peer support network. We do hope your participants will donate and we are experimenting with forum sponsorship.
# We do accept funding to help a community get going. A community foundation or major donor is welcome to step and speed up outreach.
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# We do accept funding to help a community get going. A community foundation or major donor is welcome to step in to speed up outreach.
  
 
== How To ==
 
== How To ==
  
1. [http://e-democracy.org/contact Tell us] you are interested in starting a forum: [mailto:team@e-democracy.org team@e-democracy.org]
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1. Email [mailto:contact@e-democracy.org contact@e-democracy.org] to tell us you are interested in starting a forum, providing:
* Neighborhood and City, with information on the estimated population in your area
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* Your contact information,
* Your contact information
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* The name of your city and neighborhood, with information on the estimated population of the geographical area you seek to cover, and
* Whether you have a connection with the neighborhood association in the area (not required, but helpful)
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* Your plan to recruit your first 25 members/supporters with a sense of your time line.
  
2. We technically set-up your forum and provide you access.
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2. Once you have submitted a simple spreadsheet ([https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtkNsX36XQLDdFBLN01teU5ydlBqTXdxdF9MX3FUSXc&usp=sharing Google Doc sample]) with the names and email addresses of your first 25 members, we will [http://pages.e-democracy.org/Start_A_Forum technically set up] your forum and provide you access.
  
3. Adapt this text as your placeholder description for your About info tab on your [http://e-democracy.org/example home page (example)]:
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3. Recruit 100 initial members - This is where you should focus your attention:
* Join your neighbors now! The PLACE HERE Neighbors Forum is the place to share announcements and discuss community issues and life specific to our area. While an independent forum, it is conceived as a friendly complement to our neighborhood association. The forum will open for introductions with 100 members. To get a sense of what this space can be check out this [http://e-democracy.org/se example open forum].
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* In-person outreach works best. Adapt our [http://e-democracy.org/print paper sign-up sheets] and email invites to your community and use them to door knock in your neighborhood or clipboard or table at local community events, farmers market, etc. ''THIS WORKS''.
 +
* Adapt our other [[print materials]] including the promotional poster and hang them where you can. Feel free to make your own flyers.
 +
* Circulate your invitations via email, Facebook, etc. inviting others to join. This works better as you open and demonstrate critical mass.  
  
* We do have a longer "charter" that you can craft ([http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls-staneric/charter example]) that sits a top our our universal [http://e-democracy.org/rules civility rules]. Don't worry about this for now.
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If you haven't yet technically set up your forum, you're [http://pages.e-democracy.org/Start_A_Forum ready to go]!
 
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4. Recruit 100 initial members - This is where you should focus your attention:
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* [http://e-democracy.org/print Adapt our paper sign-up sheets]  and e-mail invites to your forum and circulate at community events, table at farmers market, etc. THIS WORKS. This is so important, that we spend our scarce resources to help you with data entry.
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* Adapt our other [[print materials]] including the promotional poster and hang where you can. Feel free to make your own flyers.
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* Circulate your e-invites via e-mail, Facebook, etc. inviting others to join. This works better as you open and demonstrate critical mass. Once you get 25 members, ask initial members and community leaders to sign the invite and forward widely.
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5. Open with a friendly round of [[Starting introductions|introductions]] (before opening to everyday postings) sets a positive tone.
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6. See our [[Forum manager resources]] to help you run your forum. In particular note the detailed [[Forum manager position description]].
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E-Democracy.org has extensive older details on how to [[Start A Forum]] and a collection of [[Forum manager resources]] for self-help.
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Latest revision as of 15:54, 22 March 2013

Back to About Forums

Here is a simple guide to successfully launching an online community forum.

Background

  1. A "neighbors" forum is the most local version of our Issues Forum model. It combines inclusive "community life" exchange with civic engagement on very local public issues.
  2. Forums do not launch themselves. "Build it they will come" simply doesn't work. We've found it takes 100 members to successfully launch an active forum.
  3. Our shared technology platform is the easy part. We set it up for you once you've recruited 25 supporters to help you recruit. This is a pilot space that officially "opens" when you've reached 100 members.
  4. If you volunteer to lead a forum, it is free to host a forum with us and gain access to our useful peer-to-peer support network. We do hope your participants will donate and we are experimenting with forum sponsorship.
  5. We do accept funding to help a community get going. A community foundation or major donor is welcome to step in to speed up outreach.

How To

1. Email contact@e-democracy.org to tell us you are interested in starting a forum, providing:

  • Your contact information,
  • The name of your city and neighborhood, with information on the estimated population of the geographical area you seek to cover, and
  • Your plan to recruit your first 25 members/supporters with a sense of your time line.

2. Once you have submitted a simple spreadsheet (Google Doc sample) with the names and email addresses of your first 25 members, we will technically set up your forum and provide you access.

3. Recruit 100 initial members - This is where you should focus your attention:

  • In-person outreach works best. Adapt our paper sign-up sheets and email invites to your community and use them to door knock in your neighborhood or clipboard or table at local community events, farmers market, etc. THIS WORKS.
  • Adapt our other print materials including the promotional poster and hang them where you can. Feel free to make your own flyers.
  • Circulate your invitations via email, Facebook, etc. inviting others to join. This works better as you open and demonstrate critical mass.

If you haven't yet technically set up your forum, you're ready to go!

 

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