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Tools & Handouts…

Ready-to-use tools and handouts for D&D practitioners, teachers and trainers.

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)

The Deliberative Mapping Approach

This 4-page publication (2004) describes the “Deliberative Mapping” approach and how it could be used to foster more productive discussions between specialists and members of the public about complex policy issues where there is no obvious way forward. Though it only appears to have been tried once, Deliberative Mapping was a methodology that could be applied to a problem to judge how well different courses of action perform according to a set of economic, social, ethical and scientific criteria. The aim was to use the approach […] (continue)

Six Tools for More Effective Nonprofit Board Meetings

In this paper, Dr. Rick Lent of Brownfield & Lent provides directions for six tools that he finds particularly useful in improving the effectiveness of board meetings in nonprofit organizations. All meetings have structures that influence which participants speak, how they sit, how time is managed, how thoughts are shared, and how decisions are made. People act as they do in a given structure because that’s what makes sense to them to do—without even thinking about it. Most structures go unnoticed even as they influence the way […] (continue)

The Future of Family (IF Discussion Guide)

The Future of Family, a discussion guidebook from the Interactivity Foundation (IF), examines possibilities for public policy on family life distilled from a series of small-group discussions that wrestled with a wide range of questions and concerns for the future of family, including— In a culturally diverse society, what roles should cultural heritage play in policy decisions about the family? Different cultures have different ideas about how families are formed, how big they should be, and the roles people have within them. How should we address our […] (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)

Training and Facilitation Tools from The Communications Center

The Communications Center, Inc., based in Columbia, Missouri, is a consultancy led by Sarah Read and Dave Overfelt that helps individuals, organizations, and communities improve communication and thinking skills so they can work better together. In addition to a workbook, The Communications Center has developed a number of products that support training and facilitation services. The following products are offered: Dialogue Cards and Techniques This set of cards helps individuals understand and practice dialogue skills. The cards can be used in training by small groups […] (continue)

Circle Process

We found this description of the “Circle Process” here on the Art of Hosting website. The circle, or council, is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years. The circle has served as the foundation for many cultures. What transforms a meeting into a circle is the willingness of people to shift from informal socializing or opinionated discussion into a receptive attitude of thoughtful speaking and deep listening and to embody and practice the structures outlined here. (continue)

From Fairy Tale to Reality: Dispelling the Myths around Citizen Engagement

Citizen engagement has become increasingly important in the last ten years, but we have barely scraped the surface of what innovative public engagement can do for public services, communities and citizens. Part of what is holding us back is outdated myths about citizen engagement. “From Fairy Tale to Reality: Dispelling the Myths around Citizen Engagement” is a collaborative venture by Involve and the RSA. The pamphlet debunks common misconceptions of public engagement such as fears of spiralling costs and dwindling prospects of success, and provides […] (continue)

Community Network Analysis tool from the Orton Family Foundation

This 6-page resource developed by the Orton Family Foundation guides you through six steps to help you identify and map key community networks and stakeholder groups and identify how to reach them. Community Network Analysis (CNA) is a powerful tool for understanding who lives, works and plays in your community and how best to reach them. It’s meant to be used repeatedly to identify: 1) project leadership, 2) partners and 3) participants. (continue)

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