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Manuals & Guides…

Discussion guides and how-to manuals related to dialogue, deliberation, public engagement and conflict resolution.

Social Security: How Can We Afford It? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forums Institute published Social Security: How Can We Afford It?, a 13-page Issue Guide in December 2014 to offer information for deliberation on the future of social security. From the guide… Projections in 2013 showed that the Social Security Trust Fund could run out of money in 2033. Growing federal deficits and a rising national debt have made many wonder whether Social Security will soon become too great a burden on the workers who have to pay for it… Many Americans are reexamining the principles on […] (continue)

Infectious Disease Outbreaks: How Should We Keep Our Communities Safe? (NIFI Issue Advisory)

In January 2015, the National Issues Forums Institute released the four-page Issue Advisory, Infectious Disease Outbreaks: How Should We Keep Our Communities Safe? The Issue Advisory is not a full NIFI issue guide, though provides a basic outline of options for participants to use in deliberation on handling infectious disease. It can be downloaded for free here. From the introduction… The outbreak of Ebola has reached the United States and this has raised concerns among many about how to respond to international outbreaks of contagious, potentially deadly diseases […] (continue)

Human Impact on Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges (IF Discussion Guide)

Human Impact on Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges, a discussion guidebook from the Interactivity Foundation (IF), serves as a discussion guide designed to use non-ideological language that helps participants to separate potential policy directions from partisan agendas and arguments over science, and to explore possibilities for how they or their communities might respond. The easy-to-use, 40-page guide frames the possibilities that discussion participants can consider in two categories. The first, “Setting the Stage,” focuses on immediately impact awareness and action, and the second, “Meeting the Continuing Climate Challenge,” is focused on the more complicated, […] (continue)

Community Heart & Soul Field Guide

The Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide (2014) is the Orton Family Foundation’s guide to its tested and proven method of community planning and development. This step-by-step, four-phase method is designed to increase participation in local decision-making and empower residents of small towns and rural communities to shape the future of their communities in a way that upholds the unique character of each place. Community Heart & Soul is based on wide and broad participation from as many residents as possible. Whether the focus is on comprehensive […] (continue)

Trainer’s Manual: Getting the Most from a Collaborative Process

This Manual from the Policy Consensus Institute contains the essential information for training leaders from agencies and organizations interested in learning more about how to use collaborative processes to address public issues. These materials are practical and problem-centered, designed to capitalize on people’s experience and to help them integrate new ideas with their existing knowledge. They are presented in eight modules, each module covering an aspect of the “best practices” for sponsoring, organizing, and conducting a collaborative governance process. Each module includes descriptions of key […] (continue)

A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance

This 62-page step-by-step handbook from the Policy Consensus Institute walks readers through the stages of sponsoring,convening, organizing, and participating in a public policy collaborative process. Designed primarily for elected and appointed government officials and civic leaders, the guide also is useful for those who provide leaders with the staff assistance, facilitation services, and support they need to employ these approaches effectively. The Practical Guide was developed and written by Chris Carlson, founding director of PCI and a leading authority on consensus building in the public […] (continue)

Civic Dialogues on Sustainability: Business Briefing and Best Practices Guide

Businesses have traditionally played little role in civic dialogue, but their involvement can help advance issues. The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) has recently published two reports, written by Dr. Thomas Webler, that identify the potential for business involvement in civic dialogue. The reports are aimed at a business audience, and can serve to introduce businesses to civic dialogue concepts. We hope that they will also be useful for anyone seeking to understand business perspectives or the value of engaging businesses in dialogues.  The reports […] (continue)

Crime & Punishment: Imagining a Safer Future for All (IF Discussion Guide)

Crime & Punishment: Imagining a Safer Future for All  is the newest discussion guide published by the Interactivity Foundation (IF). This booklet describes five contrasting policy possibilities or frameworks for addressing concerns over the future of our criminal justice system. These concerns include both the racial inequity and the many costs of our policies of mass incarceration, the “War on Drugs”, and general get-tough-on-crime policies. (continue)

Making Public Participation Legal

Most of the laws that govern public participation in the U.S. are over thirty years old. They do not match the expectations and capacities of citizens today, they pre-date the Internet, and they do not reflect the lessons learned in the last two decades about how citizens and governments can work together. Increasingly, public administrators and public engagement practitioners are hindered by the fact that it’s unclear if many of the best practices in participation are even allowed by the law. Making Public Participation Legal, […] (continue)

Mental Illness in America: How Can We Address a Growing Problem? (NIF Issue Advisory)

In October 2013, National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) released an Issue Advisory that contains materials that can be used in deliberating over the issue of the impact of mental illness in America. This “issue advisory” is not a full NIF issue guide, but a basic outline of the options, entitled Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem? It can be downloaded here. From the introduction… Many Americans share a sense that something is wrong with how we address mental health and mental […] (continue)