Starting a neighbors forum
Back to Neighbors forums
While E-Democracy.org has extensive advice on how to Start A Forum and a collection of Forum manager resources the self-help available can be overwhelming. With over 10 all volunteer neighborhood and community Issues Forums in the start-up pipeline, this a special place to help you get started.
- A "neighbors" forum is the most local version of our Issues Forum model. It combined broadly inclusive "community life" exchange with civic engagement around very local public issues. While our big city forums have more members, as percentage of households we are talking 10 times the participation rate from less than 1% to 10% (and growing) of households.
- Forums do not launch themselves. Build it they will come doesn't work.
- The shared technology platform is the easy part and we provide assistance.
- If you volunteer to lead a forum, it is free to host a forum with us and gain access to our dynamic peer to peer support network. We do hope your participants will donate and we will experiment with forum sponsorship someday.
- We do accept funding to help a community get going. A community foundation or major donor might step in for example to speed things up.
1. Tell us you are interested in starting a forum: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Neighborhood and City
- 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 to it.
3. Adapt this text as your placeholder description on your home page (very important step):
- Join your neighbors now! The forum will open for introductions with 100 members. 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. To get a sense of what this space will be, see the links to forums in neighboring areas on the left.
- We do have a longer "charter" that you can craft that provides members a detailed baseline and sit 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 sheet 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 promotional poster and hang where you can. Feel free to make your own flyers.
- Circulate an e-invite via e-mail, Facebook, etc. inviting others to join. This works better as you open and demonstrate critical mass.
5. Open with a friendly round of introductions (before opening to everyday postings).
6. See our Forum Manager Resources to help you run your forum.