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Leaning in to this moment: Helping our communities envision an intentional future

Earlier in the pandemic, NCDD hosted conversations to help the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement community explore how to respond to the needs arising immediately in our own communities. These conversations primarily focused on how to continue our work in a virtual format and how to help our communities stay connected while physically distanced. Now, two months into this experience, we would like to launch a conversation on what we are learning about our communities, and how we might help community members recognize what they see as important to sustain or nurture going forward.

NCDD is excited to announce our May Confab will focus on this discussion. The Confab will take place Wednesday, May 27 at 1:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM Pacific. Courtney will present this session with NCDD Board Member Lori Britt. Register now to join us for this call!

In this interactive session, which is free and open to all, participants will share what they are noticing about their communities during the pandemic and what topics they want to engage around further. More specifically, we’ll discuss: What are you noticing about your community that you want to make more space for as you go forward? What are you noticing that is essential and needs support going forward? We’ll share some of our reflections as a group, and then break into smaller groups to discuss different topics of importance to our communities. 

We hope that this session will be a jumping off point for many of us to engage our own communities around the issues that matter most to them. We’ll keep in touch as see how things go, and how we might learn from each other!

Join us to share what you’re observing and what you’re hoping for for your own community! Let’s plan for what comes next. Don’t miss this opportunity – register today to secure your spot!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Telephone Townhall – A View From You During a Pandemic

NCDD Member and NCL Senior Fellow Larry Schooler has announced a special event this week. Check out the announcement and the link to register below!

Join us for a one-of-a-kind, national broadcast conversation where you take center stage. You’ll have the chance to talk directly to community leaders, sharing what you need now and the actions required by our elected officials to get past this crisis. Unlike most “town halls,” you won’t be asking the questions but answering them!

National Civic League Senior Fellow Larry Schooler will be anchoring a live broadcast next Thursday, May 14 at 8pm ET, 5pm PT, featuring:
Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas
Dr. Mark Washington, City Manager, City of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Chief Art Acevedo, Houston Police Department
Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Travis County
Lee Feldman, City Manager, City of Gainesville, Florida

The focus of this event will be listening to the public; the panelists will be asking questions that they want the public to answer, and the public will be able to do so via call-in, text message, and social media. This event will be live-streamed on YouTube from a videoconferencing platform.

Learn more and register at: www.aviewfromyou.com. The event will be simulcast in Spanish.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Check Out the April Tech Tuesday with EnCiv!

Last week, we held the April Tech Tuesday featuring EnCiv and the Undebate platform! We were joined by 40 participants as Will Ferguson, David Fridley, and Adolf Gundersen of EnCiv walked us through their Undebate platform, and the newer Unrountable they are developing. If you weren’t able to make the call, this post includes all of the key link and information – check it out!

EnCiv automates proven human-interaction methods to scale productive democratic discourse. The Undebate is being made available to voters across the country this election season by EnCiv partner Ballotpedia under the label “Candidate Conversations.” In this Tech Tuesday event, EnCiv shared with us an example of how Undebate was used for the San Francisco District Attorney race, which can be viewed at this link.

They also introduced us to the Unroundtable, a platform to allow people to share their thoughts or stories about a topic or issue through brief video responses. You can check out the example they shared with us of an Unroundtable on “What is Democracy?” at this link.

THANK YOU to Will, David, Adolf, and everyone who joined this call! We recorded the whole presentation if you were unable to join us, which you can access here. We had several excellent questions offered in the chat, which you can find the transcript of here.


Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. .To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays. If you have an idea for a future Tech Tuesday event, please email keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org with your great ideas!

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Practical Academics shares: Online Meeting Best Practices

NCDD Member Michael Freedman of Practical Academics shared the following blog post with us. In the post, Michael shares best practices for your online meetings – a timely topic for this moment! We encourage you to check out the article below, or over at the Practical Academics site here.

Online Meeting Best Practices

The advantages of online meetings are to save travel time, convenience, and flexibility while retaining or augmenting the benefits of group interactivity. For interactivity, we need engagement; for engagement, we need encouragement and trust.  A one-way webinar is not a lot better than a video or a one-to-many lecture. Here are some points to consider in developing and running an interactive online meeting.


Leverage time together for interactivity and sophisticated communications. Ask your participants to prepare in advance. Be clear on what this means: what they should come equipped with, and what should they be prepared to do.

Minimize large group time, maximize small group time. Large group time is for opening comments and announcements, setting the tone and agenda, for sharing results of small group efforts, wrap-up, and follow-up. Replace lectures and one-to-many instruction and guidance with pre-work sent in advance.

Group management. Small group models suggest optimum group sizes are (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Recording Available for Cultivating Community Capacity!

On April 24th, NCDD hosted a special event from NCDD sponsoring member Susan Stuart Clark of Common Knowledge, titled Cultivating Community Capacity with Four “Deep Wisdom” Practices. The event, attended by more than 60 participants, was the start of a series of activities and collection of resources at sense-us.org, a new pro bono project for Common Knowledge and allies in the arts, healing and community transformation.

Susan shared with us the four practices identified by cross-cultural pioneer Angeles Arrien, which we can use to help deepen our individual and collective capacity for discovering the deeper wisdom in and between us.  Susan outlines the interpretation of these four practices and their importance to us and our work designing and facilitate community engagement during and after this pandemic in this wonderful piece

Drawn from ancient and indigenous wisdom, these practices invite us to bring our whole selves – heart, body and mind –  to our work as cultivators of community, dialogue stewards and/or peace builders. During this time of physical isolation, let’s embrace the ways we can bring closeness to one another through sharing our truest selves with each other. Let’s see how we can expand our capacity to understand the patterns and structures that brought us to this current moment and choose more inclusive and collaborative ways to co-create our future.

The event was purposefully held on Arbor Day to acknowledge how trees can teach us a lot about nurturing individual and collective resilience.  After an overview of the four practices, break out groups compared their experiences and what is inspiring their work. Participants had the opportunity to connect more deeply with one another, sharing how the practices resonate for them, as well as how they relate to their work in and with communities.The full group reflection served as a wonderful stepping off point for future discussions.

Julie Gieseke created a wonderful visual map during the event which can be viewed below. The full session can be watched at this link, and the chat transcript can be found here. If you’d like to contribute resources and participate in future discussions, visit www.sense-us.org.


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Webinar on Optimizing Online Engagement for Planning

NCDD member organization MetroQuest is hosting another of their great webinars on optimizing online engagement for planning. This webinar is free and happening next Wednesday, May 6th at 11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern. You can read more in the post below and find the original on MetroQuest’s site here.

MetroQuest webinar – “Optimizing Online Engagement for Planning with MetroQuest”

Wednesday, May 6th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

After reviewing hundreds of case studies, it turns out that there’s a formula for success with online public engagement to support planning.

Online tools are a critical part of the planner’s public engagement toolbox, especially as we look for safe, effective methods to engage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital town halls? Online surveys? Social media? Online forums? Find out which options result in positive, actionable community input for your urban and transportation plans.

It’s time to learn from the best performing case studies. In this webinar, you’ll learn how hundreds of agencies have engaged (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

National Civic Review 2020 Spring Edition is Now Available!

NCDD member org, The National Civic League, announced the release of the 2020 Spring Edition of the National Civic Review. This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Friendly reminder that NCDD members receive the digital copy of the National Civic Review for free! (Find the access code below.) We strongly encourage our members to check out this great resource and there is an open invite for NCDD members to contribute to the NCR. You can read about NCR in the post below and find it on NCL’s site here.

National Civic Review: Spring 2020 – Code: NCDD20

This issue of the National Civic Review goes out as our nation is dealing with the biggest pandemic in over 100 years, and we are in awe at the creativity and will power of America’s communities in addressing this challenge. While this edition does not address the epidemic directly, we offer ideas about the need for public engagement and civic innovation in addressing community challenges. The issue was published in collaboration with the Charles F. Kettering Foundation. Two articles were contributed by participants in the Richard S. Childs Fellowship, a program that assisted local government managers in reflecting on their experiences with community problem-solving and (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Webinar Recording: Social Distancing Meets Public Engagement

Last week’s webinar, Social Distancing Meets Public Engagement, was our largest to date, with over 325 participants! This webinar, co-hosted with our partners at the National Civic League, featured Wendy Willis, Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and Larry Schooler, Director of Consensus Building and Community Engagement, CD&P.  Wendy and Larry showcased strategies for virtual public engagement in this time of social isolation.

This webinar included information about leveraging government access television to enhance the efforts of local government to connect with their residents and stakeholders.  Presenters also talked about differences in various forms of online engagement and when it might make sense to use them, as well as tips for turning your in-person meetings into virtual ones.

This webinar is full of resources! Check out the recording of this session at this link. The PowerPoint slides, which contain loads of information, can be viewed separately here.

Additionally, a whole host of resources and guidance were shared by presenters and participants alike in the chat.

Thanks to our presenters, Wendy and Larry, the National Civic League for hosting with us, and everyone who participated!

If you have benefitted from events like this one, please consider making a contribution to help support the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation: www.ncdd.org/donate. NCDD is a small nonprofit and we have expanded our programming to be responsive to our community during the pandemic. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated and go directly to helping support our staff.


NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Event: Cultivating Community Capacity with Four “Deep Wisdom” Practices

Join the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) and NCDD Sponsoring Member Susan Stuart Clark of Common Knowledge for this free event Friday, April 24, from 2-3:15 PM Eastern/11-12:15 PM Pacific. In honor of Arbor Day, this is an invitation to explore how we cultivate our personal and community capacity for deeper wisdom and healthy interconnectedness. Don’t miss this opportunity – register today!

This event is the start of a series of activities and collection of resources at sense-us.org, a new pro bono project for Common Knowledge and allies in the arts, healing and community transformation. Participants will learn more about the four practices identified by cross-cultural pioneer Angeles Arrien, which we can use to help deepen our individual and collective capacity for discovering the deeper wisdom in and between us.  The four practices and their importance to us and our work designing and facilitate community engagement during and after this pandemic are outlined in this wonderful piece by Susan Stuart Clark. 

The April 24 Zoom session will include different ways of centering ourselves and an overview of the four practices as a stepping off point for group reflection. Participants will have the opportunity to connect more deeply with one another, sharing how the practices resonate for you personally, as well as how they relate to your work in and with communities. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Convergence Names David Eisner New President & CEO

Our friends at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution recently announced the appointment of their new President & CEO. Please join us in congratulating Convergence and David Eisner on the new position! The full announcement is below and also accessible at this link.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution is excited to share that we have a new President & CEO, David Eisner! Convergence is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to convene people and groups with divergent views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on critical issues. David is a national leader in public, private, and nonprofit sectors and will team with Convergence Founder Rob Fersh to expand Convergence’s scale and impact. (more…)