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Starting a neighbors forum -

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Starting a neighbors forum


Revision as of 23:44, 15 February 2013 by Admin (Talk | contribs)

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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. 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.
  2. Forums do not launch themselves. "Build it they will come" simply doesn't work.
  3. Our shared technology platform is the easy part. We set it up for you.
  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 will experiment with forum sponsorship someday.
  5. We do accept funding to help a community get going. A community foundation or major donor is welcome to step and speed up outreach.

How To

1. Tell us you are interested in starting a forum:

  • Neighborhood and City, with information on the estimated population in your area
  • Your contact information
  • Whether you have a connection with the neighborhood association in the area (not required, but helpful)

2. We technically set-up your forum and provide you access.

3. Adapt this text as your placeholder description for your About info tab on your home page (example):

  • 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 example open forum.
  • We do have a longer "charter" that you can craft (example) that sits a top our our universal civility rules. Don't worry about this for now.

4. 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.

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

6. 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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