Today is a big day in Minnesota. It is a day of giving to the non-profit organizations that inspire and serve you.
Whether you are a Neighbors Forum participant in Minneapolis or an e-democracy supporter in Europe, Asia, etc. your donation matters.
We’veÂ opened up our network to local non-profits seeking to reach their neighbors on this special dayÂ as well. Go local. Donate online today – Nov. 15.
On the hour, one donation will earn the lucky non-profit $1,000 and across all the organization one of the participating non-profits will win $10,000. Whether you give $100, 50 pounds, or 10 Euros, a donation of any amount may win that prize for our mission. Exciting.
So press the big button below to learn more and help us extend our work to thousands more people!
Here is our letter this morning to forum members:
Subject: Â Good morning. Support the Lasagna Revolution.
It is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota – http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Minnesota-E-Democracy/
I wrote this up this morning …
I’m excited about the power of connecting people.
Not just those who already show up or have the same background – everyone, ALL people in local communities right down to the neighborhood level.
* Yesterday, on my area’s Neighbors Forum, Julia posted that she needed help right away to bake eight lasagnas for a memorial service later that day for a dear friend. Within the hour Julia posted back that all eight were baking away across in neighbors ovens.
* Also yesterday, in District 1 in St. Paul, on a new very diverse forum built with door to door outreach, a very dynamic and open exchange about the proposed closing (and likely passing on to a non-profit for some programming) of the local Conway park center involved the local city council member and very concerned residents and neighborhood association staff.
* The other week, a found dog was reunited within 45 minutes with its owners via the forum. (I swear lost pets are our number one forum recruitment tool. Â People join out of necessity and stay for community life exchange. :-))
From unleashing the capacity of neighbors to help each other to building community to raising diverse voices and generating greater understanding across diverse communities who live together, this doesn’t just happen.
Why does this work?
1. You are here. You take time to read and reply.
2. You share. You post community announcements and forward posts to others.
3. You volunteer. Each forum has a dedicated Forum Manager (and stay tuned for all sort of new volunteer opportunities where you can help in small ways.)
In the last year we crossed the 20,000 site members mark with about 15,000 forum members in the Twin Cities. With Knight Foundation grant support, over 4,000 new forum members were recruited across St. Paulâ€™s many new start-up forums led by our amazing summer outreach team. (See their picture … linked below. They spoke 6 languages.)
When I heard the story how Hmong youth baseball team members from public housing coached by our outreach team member Vang volunteered to translate when needed for Donna, our African-American grandmother outreach team member, while going door to door in St. Paul introducing these forums, it choked me up. This is real. You can “Like” everything you want on Facebook, but if you really want to connect everyone, all people in local communities you have to go to people whether they are at community events and their homes. With inclusive outreach it takes dedicated people and real resources to build trust and engage people together from across ALL communities in relevant and meaningful ways.
Whether you are on one of our rocking forums with over 1000 members reaching 25% of households daily or on a quiet *for now* start-up forum trying to figure out what it means to be instantly connected with interested neighbors across your local community, you help make this happen.
So let me add two more numbers:
5. You invite others. Invite them to: http://beneighbors.org
4. You donate:Â http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Minnesota-E-Democracy/
Today is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota. Your donation might just be the one that wins us the $10,000 Golden Ticket. If we win, we will door-knock your neighborhood with our outreach team just for your local forum. If we raise even $500 in combined donations across your forum, we can organize a special door knock and for example bring Spanish or Somali speakers if that is part of your community that is least connected on your forum.
There are three main reasons we encourage you to donate any amount to E-Democracy for hosting this forum:
A. You value it. Perhaps you learned something, raised your voice, saved a buck, or got a free couch.
B. You believe in inclusive, open, and civil connections in community and you want us to do more outreach in your area. Our grant resources are focused on lower income areas of St. Paul when it comes intensive door to door outreach. With donations we can expand to your area and do more inclusion work overall.
C. You want to increase our support for your local volunteers. Thank them for their time. Adding new volunteer roles and training to bolster forum engagement is a top priority. If your time to volunteer is limited, a donation will help us coordinate those efforts across our network.
When I woke up this morning with a headache and didn’t know what I’d write, I decided to think of you across the table with a cup of coffee in hand.
It has been an exciting year. We’ve grown more in the last year than at any time in our first 18 years. For the first decade I subsidized this effort with my business (speaking about democracy online around the world … it was fun) and lots of volunteers. Then slowly we built up more volunteers, some funding, and a few donations. We broke through with a three year grant – our first multi-year grant ever. Our work is on fire and our staff team (many are part-time, seasonal) is awesome. I want to give them more work and create more summer jobs for students (mostly.)
Even with social media exhaustion, there are thousands of people to reach – from new residents and immigrants to young people and seniors who are online (our likely oldest poster is 93 and has lived in Phillips since 1958 … her son types for her due to arthritis ) – who if asked would join you on your forum tomorrow. Letâ€™s make this happen.
If you’ve read this far you are awesome … let me note that while grants can help us bolster inclusive outreach on a temporary basis in some targeted areas, it will be your donations, forum sponsorship, and local events that drive our volunteer-supporting work in most communities. The more people who step up and donate any amount, the more likely other funders will be inspired to help us reach more people in great leaps.
So there we go, it is up to you, if you value your forum today or want your start-up forum to reach hundreds more people and join the fun, please donate today on Give to the Max Day:
(See the slideshow of our summer outreach team and some video.)
Your participation and support is appreciated.
Founder and Executive Director, E-Democracy.org