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NCDD’s Year In Review

2013 was an incredible year for NCDD and for our community.

We started off the year by intensely engaging our members around how the D&D community can respond to crises like the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting (explore the Hackpad series here). Soon after that, we announced the two projects that won our member-selected Catalyst Awards (in hindsight, we realized we had actually run our first Participatory Budgeting process, having had members develop the contending projects in teams and then vote for the winners!).

NCDD Meetup at TuftsWe ran two mini regional events — one at Tufts in July and one at the Univ of Virginia in November thanks to Lucas Cioffi and Nancy Gansneder, and we secured a great space for next year’s national conference and are seeing buzz building around that event already!

We bumped up our “virtual” events this year as well, getting in the habit of offering a high-quality and well-attended Confab Call or Tech Tuesday almost every month (archived recordings here).  We also experimented with informal “coffee hour” calls, which our Board plans to continue in 2014 in a different format, having Board member run monthly Coffee Hours on a topic of interest to them and our community.

We spent a good deal of time this year on collaborative projects with other leaders in the field — projects we felt were well worth our investment of time due to their potential to move our field forward.  NCDD continues to serve on the core team of Creating Community Solutions, the “dialogue part” of HHS’s national dialogue on mental health.  We have continued our work with the Orton-led Community Matters partnership, building resources on civic infrastructure with key leaders in our and related fields. And we have become part of the amazing community that is convened regularly by the Kettering Foundation, and you’ll be hearing more and more about our exciting work with them during 2014.

We also played a leading role in the Text Talk & Act experiment that melded the fun and convenience of texting with the irreplaceable value of face-to-face dialogue.  And we supported projects to develop a comprehensive open database of case studies (Participedia.net), to develop and promote new local laws that “make participation legal again,” to run the first online unconference on online facilitation, and to offer the top-notch Dialogue, Deliberation & Public Engagement certificate program.

US-GoogleMap-outlinedWe’ve grown to 1,900 members this year, and to 33,000 subscribers on our e-updates.  And we scrapped our not-nearly-good-enough members network and replaced it with a gorgeous Google map and super-useful online directory of our members.

We also launched the Dialogue Storytelling Tool this year in partnership with the Kettering Foundation and Participedia, to help our members report on their dialogue and deliberation projects and events, and let NCDD do the work of spreading the word.

We doubled or tripled the usefulness and quality of our community blog by hiring Roshan Bliss as our lead blogger, and saw more and more NCDD members post their own news and resources on the site as well.  And of course we maintained the tools you rely on that keep our community vibrant and connected, like our listservs and social media spaces.

Our small staff and our amazing Board and volunteers do our best to support this vital community’s work, and I think 2013 may have been our best year yet in this regard.


Does all this make you want to support NCDD with an end-of-year gift? We need your support to keep this work going strong — so please think of us as you consider end-of-year donations. It’s extremely easy to donate to NCDD using the short form that’s up at www.ncdd.org/donate.  NCDD is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are fully tax deductible.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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