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5 free tools to energize your dialogue and action efforts

This helpful list was created by Rebecca Reyes, Communication Associate at Everyday Democracy (an org member of NCDD). Re-posted with permission from the EvDem website.

EvDem LogoOrganizing a dialogue-to-change program isn’t always easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Check out some of these free tools that can help you along the way.

Animoto
Whether you want to animate your recruitment efforts or share your action forum photos, Animoto can help you transform photos into a stunning slideshow that is easy to create and share.

You can get started right away with a free 30-second video — and that’s often all you’ll need to communicate your message. If you need a little bit more time, charities and non-profits can apply for a free Animoto Pro account, which allows you to make as many full-length videos as you want. You can find more information about how to apply here: http://animoto.com/cause

See an example of how we used a 30-second video here and a longer video here.

Bit.ly
Do you ever wish you could make your long website link shorter and easier to remember? Bit.ly is a free online tool that can help you do just that. Use bit.ly to shorten and rename links to put on fliers, social media pages, and any other place you spread the word about your program. If you sign up for a free account, you can also track how many people visit the link to gage how well your recruitment efforts are working.

Doodle
Doodle
can help turn your scheduling nightmares into a manageable task. You suggest times for people to meet, they check off what works for them, and Doodle tells you which time slot was the most popular. With this tool, finding a time for coalitions, planning groups, and action teams to meet doesn’t have to be frustrating or time consuming.

Point K Learning Center
The Innovation Network provides free organizational assessment, logic model, and evaluation tools through its Point K Learning Center. These online tools help you assess your strengths and plan and evaluate your program in a step-by-step process, complete with explanations and examples.

Once you register, go back to this page and log in. When you’re on the Point K Learning Center homepage, click “Assess your strengths; plan and evaluate programs” under “Get Started.”

SurveyMonkey
Surveys after your events can help you see what you’ve done well and what may need to be improved. Even in the most inclusive dialogue processes, some people still may not feel that their voice was heard. It’s important to hear from everyone and to have the opportunity to make your process as inclusive and as welcoming as possible.

One tool you can use to make a survey is SurveyMonkey. With a free account you can create surveys with up to 10 questions and receive up to 100 responses. You can embed the questions into your website or blog, share it in an email, or post it to your Facebook page. Or, print copies so participants can provide feedback before leaving the event.

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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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  1. @zannalyons says:

    Great list Sandy!

    For the Canadians in the room, it's sometimes important to host a survey on Canadian soil, away from the 'prying eyes' of the US Patriot Act. A few good options for Canadian hosted surveys are: http://www.checkbox.com http://fluidsurveys.com/canada http://www.limesurvey.org http://hostedincanadasurveys.ca

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