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Starting a neighbors forum -

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Starting a neighbors forum


Revision as of 12:39, 22 March 2013 by Admin (Talk | contribs) (Background)

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


  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.
  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 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.

2. Once you have submitted a simple spreadsheet with the names 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:

  • 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.
  • Adapt our other print materials including the promotional poster and hang where you can. Feel free to make your own flyers.
  • 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.

4. Open with a friendly round of introductions (before opening to everyday postings) sets a positive tone.

5. See our Forum manager resources to help you run your forum. In particular note the detailed Forum manager position description. has extensive older details on how to Start A Forum and a collection of Forum manager resources for self-help.


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