Frequently Asked Questions    

Getting Involved
Dialogue & Deliberation
NCDD’s Resources, Blog & Discussion Lists
Technical & Administrative Questions

Getting Involved

How can I join NCDD?

Thank you for your interest! Look over the info about joining, then follow the links to join as an individual or as an organization. Feel free to email Joy Garman, NCDD’s Office Manager, at [email protected] if you have any questions about the process. In early 2007, NCDD transitioned from a free membership to a fee-based membership (with a free/pay-what-you-can option for individual members). Most members (unfortunately for us) still take the free option, so don’t feel bad about joining if you can’t pay the membership fee this year. If you can pay the fee, that’s great – we could really use your support! The membership fee for individuals is $50 a year and the fee for organizational members is $100.

Can organizations or individuals from outside of the U.S. join NCDD?

Of course! People who are based outside of the U.S. are encouraged to join the Coalition (as of June 2010, we have 40 countries represented in our membership, and we have 188 members from the outside the U.S.). We value and welcome international members and partners. International members are treated the same as U.S.-based members, although in the future, members from outside of the U.S. may be asked to cover additional shipping costs that NCDD may incur when sending them publications and other materials. Some people have expressed concern that we are limiting ourselves – and leaving out important practitioners, organizations, scholars and activists – by calling ourselves a “national” coalition. From the start, though, we felt it was important for us to establish ourselves and make an impact within the U.S. before striving to be – or claiming to be – an international organization. Since Coalitions for Dialogue & Deliberation are needed around the globe, we encourage and support leaders in other countries who want to initiate Coalitions in their own country. NCDD inspired and assisted Sandra Zagon and Miriam Wyman to organize the Canadian Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation in 2005 (now the Canadian Community for Dailogue & Deliberation), and we are helping Tokunbo Awoshakin of Civic Life International to form an African Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Learn more about how NCDD supports the formation of new Coalitions for D&D.

What can I do to help develop NCDD?

NCDD is a young organization, and we certainly could use your help. If you are a practitioner or scholar of dialogic and/or deliberative processes – or just interested in learning more and getting involved, we encourage you to become a member of NCDD if you haven’t already. Whether or not you join NCDD, however, there are many ways you can help us to strengthen and unite our growing field. Email [email protected] if you’d like to follow up on any of the ideas below.

  1. Financial contributions are of course needed and welcome. A small annual donation to NCDD would be most appreciated. Large donations are also welcome! Visit our donation page for instructions. You can also help us obtain funding by connecting us with your contacts at foundations.
  2. Help to get the word out about NCDD. Informing your networks about what NCDD is doing and how D&D practitioners and scholars can join our efforts is a wonderful help. Placing a link to NCDD on your website is also very helpful (click here for the NCDD logo and instructions). NCDD members in particular are strongly encouraged to do these things.
  3. Get involved in one of NCDD’s projects or discussions. Do you want to help organize NCDD’s next conference? Can you or someone on your staff serve actively in one or more of our initiatives? Are you interested in starting a new project or online discussion in an attempt to tackle an important issue or problem in our field?
  4. Work with NCDD to develop a network of D&D practitioners in your region. In the years to come, we hope to connect more and more people at the local level, fostering regional meetings, trainings and conferences, helping to identify regional leadership, and working with these emerging networks to get the word out about the opportunities they provide.
  5. Resources for the NCDD website are always helpful. Can you provide material for the NCDD site (for the Learning Exchange or the News & Perspectives blog)? Do you know of upcoming events that D&D practitioners might be interested in attending? Does your organization have a new resource that people in the field should know about? Do you have best practices, lessons learned, or research results that you would like to share with other D&D practitioners and scholars? Use this form to submit stuff for consideration.

There are several ways you can link to the NCDD website:

  1. Add NCDD to the resources section or links page of your website. Please use the full name of the organization, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, and link to http://thataway.org. Also, here’s some text you may want to use that describes NCDD.
    • NCDD provides resources, programs, and networking opportunities for a rapidly growing community of practice dedicated to solving group and societal problems through honest talk, quality thinking and collaborative action.
  2. If you have a blog or similar site, please consider adding our main page to your blogroll or link list. List us as either NCDD, NCDD News & Views or NCDD News & Perspectives — whichever fits best — and link to http://thataway.org.
  3. Include our badge or logo. Feel free to use either image below. Right-click and save the image to add to your site. Please add a link directly to our front page at http://www.thataway.org/.
    • NCDD News and Views Blog logo.
    • Small NCDD logo.

Dialogue & Deliberation

What is the difference between dialogue and deliberation?

Visit our What Are Dialogue & Deliberation page in our Getting Started section for clarification about these two closely related processes.

Does NCDD run its own dialogue or deliberation projects?

NCDD often partners with organizations and groups who are running large-scale dialogue or deliberation projects, but we have not run our own D&D projects independently (aside from those held at our conferences). Our members run such projects regularly, and we exist to help them improve their work by connecting with one another, sharing and accessing resources, establishing partnerships and sharing their successes.

When we partner with organizations which are running large-scale projects, we are generally providing them with access to our large network of people and organizations. These projects tap into our network for facilitators, design expertise, partners, resources and increased publicity. More and more, though, we are consulting with people who are running gatherings and want to make their gatherings more participatory – and more valuable and memorable to their attendees! Email NCDD’s Director Sandy Heierbacher at [email protected] if you would like to pursue this possibility.

Can NCDD help me organize networks and events for practitioners in my region?

NCDD is very interested in fostering the development of regional networks of practitioners and scholars, so that people can more easily and more frequently gain the direct support, encouragement and assistance they need from others in the field. As of August 2009, NCDD’s database includes over 22,000 dialogue and deliberation practitioners, scholars and organizations – mainly in the U.S., but in many other countries as well.

We are happy to sort our database by state or city and share our contacts in specific regions with people in the field who are interested in starting regional networks or planning regional gatherings of their colleagues. This is the only circumstance in which we share segments of our database. Email Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director, for inquiries about the database ([email protected]).

As we continue to expand our database of colleagues and to grow in membership, we hope to consciously connect people by region, fostering regional meetings, trainings and conferences, helping to identify regional leadership, and working with these emerging networks to get the word out about the opportunities they provide. If you would like to help us in our efforts to foster regional networks of practitioners, we encourage you to share your contacts with us as well.

Why is NCDD important for the dialogue & deliberation community?

People are leading dialogues across the country in schools, in churches, in workplaces, and in virtually every other venue imaginable. They are encouraging people to engage in deliberative dialogue about issues ranging from race relations in their communities and violence in their schools to how to handle the buildup of nuclear waste or the rapid rate of development in their region. People are organizing dialogues in order to resolve conflicts, to increase citizen input in policy decisions, to increase people’s knowledge about important issues and realities, to help people build self-awareness, to improve communication skills, to strengthen teams or build coalitions, to stimulate innovation and to foster effective community change.

Deliberative approaches to dialogue are being applied with increasing frequency in communities, across regions, online and at the national level. Some of these approaches are designed to bring citizens and government decision-makers together as joint problem solvers; some aim to provide decision-makers and voters with the informed citizen perspective on an issue; and others aim to equip citizens with the knowledge and will to take action on an issue themselves. Techniques range from intimate, small-group dialogues to large forums involving hundreds or even thousands of participants.

Although they are by no means new processes, dialogue and deliberation have enjoyed a tremendous growth in popularity in recent years. This growth has been so grassroots that numerous communities of practice have developed without much awareness of each other. The result is the emergence of an important field whose practitioners use different terminology, networks and resources and emphasize different outcomes.

The October 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation was a vital first step in the effort to build cohesion and foster collaboration among the various communities of practice that center around the processes of dialogue and deliberation. Practitioners and scholars were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to experience one another’s models, to explore similarities and differences in philosophies and tools, and to begin thinking about how we can become a collective force which ultimately could empower citizens to solve many of society’s most pressing problems.

NCDD continues to address the problem of the disconnect and isolation of practitioners, scholars and organizations in our growing field. In order to unite and strengthen this growing field, we need ongoing ways to connect with one another, share tools, build understanding and work together across the entire spectrum of practice. Means of sharing strategies, asking questions and getting great answers to them, getting the word out about events and training opportunities, evaluating programs and developing professional standards – the development of all of these things is essential to the growth of the field and the future of dialogue and deliberation processes.

NCDD’s Resources

How can I submit resources for the website?

At any time you may send us an email at [email protected] to tell us about a resource. You can also use our online form to submit a resource, event or opportunity for consideration – or just to tell us a little about your work. Please include as much detail as you can, such as author, publication date, publisher, a description, a link to where one can get the resource, etc. And we encourage you to send us multiple resources if you notice there aren’t in our Learning Exchange!

If you have something that you would like to see posted in the blog (on our main page), such as an upcoming event or training or an announcement or report on your project, use our online form at www.thataway.org/?page_id=1163. You can also email a simple announcement (not 3 pages, please!) to [email protected]. The announcement should be in the body of an email, or maybe in a Word document – but not in a PDF (it’s too much work for us to convert it to a blog post). If you’d like to save us time, include all of the basic facts (what, where, when, how much, etc.) in the first paragraph or two. We’ll add it to the blog and we may include it in our monthly email announcements, which are sent out to over 22,000 people who are involved in or interested in public engagement and conflict resolution.

If you’d like to see your program featured in our monthly updates, consider providing a significant discount off of your training, course, or certificate program for paid NCDD members (as the groups on this page have done). Or if you can’t provide a discount, consider listing NCDD as a partner or co-sponsor of your conference. That’s valuable to us, too, since it helps increase recognition of NCDD – though we prefer passing on discounts to our members. Email NCDD’s Director, Sandy Heierbacher, at [email protected], if you are interested in these options.

Copyright Information

This site is made up of both found and original material. As the purpose of much of this site is to collect and share resources, we strive to include with every resource a link or reference acknowledging the source and in many cases the author of the resource. Copyrights to these third party resources rest solely in the hands of the source or the original author. Questions concerning the use of this third party material should be directed to the source or original author.

If you find any material that you feel has been used or presented improperly, please contact us immediately and we will work with you to change it to suit your needs or remove it entirely. Material prepared specifically for the NCDD website should be considered either ©2003 – 2009 by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (for all material concerning NCDD directly) or ©1997-2009 by Sandy Heierbacher (for material written by Sandy Heierbacher for a variety of projects). You can link to this site or specific resources on this site as much as you’d like, but we ask that you contact us before distributing print materials prepared specifically for this site.

Our resources have been printed and distributed to participants at a number of different conferences and gatherings, and have been excerpted and referenced in numerous books and articles, and we do not mind this at all as long as you acknowledge us as the source and include a link to thataway.org. But we like to know how our materials are being used, and we might have a suggestion for a better way for you to present the materials. Let us know what you’d like to do with our materials by emailing NCDD’s Director, Sandy Heierbacher ([email protected]).

Technical & Administrative Questions

How can I receive an answer concerning a technical question?

Andy Fluke, NCDD’s Creative Director, will be happy to address any technical questions you may have about the website. You can send an email to him at andy @ thataway.org. Please include the following info about the computer you are using: Which browser do you use (please include name and version number, this is very important to understanding problems)? What platform does the computer run (Windows XP, 2000, 98, etc., Mac (old or new), Linux, Unix, etc.)? Do you work on a network or behind a firewall? Do you have similar problems on other websites?

Why won’t your forms work for me?

A small percentage of visitors report that the forms on our site do not work or present them with error messages. This is not uncommon. Many computers are on networks which, for security reasons, block the sending of information (such as the data you enter into the forms). Also, many home computers now come with in-built firewalls that can do the same thing. If we have not provided an offline equivalent of the form, we ask that you gather the information you wish to send us into an email (you can use our general contact address: [email protected]) and just let us know which form you were trying to use. We’ll make sure that your submission gets where it is supposed to go.

How do I report a typo, error or problem I have discovered?

We really appreciate hearing about typos and errors. With so many pages on the site now (and that number increases almost daily) we can’t catch every little mistake or bug. If you come across an obvious error, or even something you just think may be a mistake, please email it it to our general administration address: [email protected]. Thanks!

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