By: Steven Clift, Executive Director, E-Democracy.org
September 11, 2013
Imagine reaching thousands of interested residents, business owners, and stakeholders, neighborhood by neighborhood, along the Central Corridor in seconds – for free.
Reaching them quickly and easily with a community announcement, to ask (or answer) important questions about community development, or to strengthen support for local families and youth.
E-Democracy’s BeNeighbors.org initiative is all about creating the world’s most inclusive online community engagement network and it is available today right here in St. Paul. It is part neighbor to neighbor conversation and part a shared community information sharing network.
From discussions about Whole Foods at Snelling and Selby and giving away trees in Frogtown to promoting Little Mekong outdoor films and seeking artists for the Hamline Station during St. Paul Open Streets, the network is growing day by day.
Recently recognized by the White House and featured by the Knight Foundation, the email and web posting format is like a shared community bulletin board at a local cafe. While every organization can have their own niche Facebook Page or email newsletter, via BeNeighbors the shared network reaches thousands. This is perfect for reaching new people. (Sharing your Facebook Page posts and select email newsletter content is highly recommended.)
Thanks to support from the CCFC, we are increasing our corridor-related forum engagement activities, led by our multi-cultural team, to generate interesting dialogue, raise new voices, and build on our door-to-door outreach. Of the nearly 3,000 people we signed up in person in 2012 across St. Paul, 52% indicated that they were a person of color. Over the coming weeks, more field outreach is happening right along the corridor. We need your help to raise all voices and connect all neighbors in the nation-leading local inclusion effort.
How to Get Engaged
● Frogtown (893 members)
● Summit-U Rondo (612)
● Hamline-Midway (614)
● Union Park Neighborhoods (369)
● St. Anthony Park (971, a great independent forum)
● St. Paul Downtown (247)
● Minneapolis Cedar Riverside (673)
2. Follow the forums.
Get the pulse of the community. We provide convenient email, web, Facebook, and Twitter access options. Facebook is not required, so community stakeholders may participate using their work email addresses and avoid mixing their online private life with their community outreach work. You may follow via email, daily email digest, or web-only. You can also follow forums lightly on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Post to the forums.
It is best to target or personalize your posts to each forum. You are entering someone’s digital home, so be friendly and greet them as a neighborhood/forum. Posting to the almost 900 members on our Frogtown Forum, for example, should have a Frogtown greeting or connection. It is OK to invite people to come to the neighborhood next door. We moderate first time posts or contact E-Democracy for advice on postings if needed. Posting is as simple as sending an email or posting via the website. You can attach PDF files, photos, and more.
To Learn More
Contact us for more information, check out the flyer and other promotional material for the public, or dig into the blog and learning center. E-Democracy also provides training and services that can help you further engage online.