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Vermont Connected - Engaged Communities

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Vermont Connected - Engaged Communities

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From helping citizens and volunteers rally within a community post-disaster, to creating a system for better transparency, collaboration, and communication within a community, our speakers told stories of how social media, mobile phones, websites, Front Porch Forum, and more helped their own communities become more engaged.

From helping citizens and volunteers rally within a community post-disaster, to creating a system for better transparency, collaboration, and communication within a community, our speakers told stories of how social media, mobile phones, websites, Front Porch Forum, and more helped their own communities become more engaged.

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Vermont Connected - Engaged Communities

  1. 1. Resilience Through Engagement Engaged Communities: A Panel of Stories & Ideas
  2. 2. Engaged Communities (A6) ! Michael Wood-Lewis, Co-Founder & CEO Front Porch Forum (Moderator) ! Sarah Waterman Manning, VTResponse.com ! Steve Butcher, Mad River Valley ! Janette Shaffer, Middlesex
  3. 3. Michael Wood-Lewis CEO, Co-Founder Front Porch Forum ! Founded FPF with his wife Valerie in their Burlington neighborhood in 2006
  4. 4. How can community-­‐focused programs succeed when only 25% of Americans know most of their neighbors? © Front Porch Forum 2014.
  5. 5. Front Porch Forum Our Mission To help neighbors connect and build community We host a statewide network of online local forums 86,000 VT members + thousands more joining every month © Front Porch Forum 2014.
  6. 6. Front Porch Forum helps neighbors connect and build community Our contribuPon FPF results for many Vermont towns: • 67% of households subscribe to FPF • 50% of members spoke up last year on their FPF • 330% more members feel “very informed” about opportuniPes to get involved in their local community since joining FPF than did before joining (56% vs. 13%) • 89% have recommended FPF to neighbors • 98% of members say FPF helps their local economy “I can’t imagine our neighborhood without FPF!” Tim Douglas, Burlington FPF member © Front Porch Forum 2014.
  7. 7. ConnecPon leads to engagement • Neighborhood watch kickoff • Book club forming • Let’s support neighbor’s new business • Rebuilding playground this weekend • Block party returns aber 30-­‐year hiatus • Join meal train for fire vicPms Neighbors start with posPngs like... “FPF connects me to my community, makes the bond between us stronger, and personal conversaPons conPnue due to FPF posPngs. I look forward to reading it every night. I'm not a Facebook fan but I LOVE Front Porch Forum.” Marianne Eaton, Bristol FPF member And move toward... • Plumber recommendaPon • Lost dog! • Car break-­‐in • Teen babysiger available • School play Friday • Bicycle to give away • Best ice cream in town? • Car for sale © Front Porch Forum 2014.
  8. 8. FPF’s local impact Increases civic engagement • Heightens interest in local issues • More informaPon flows • Organizers solicit parPcipaPon... and get it! © Front Porch Forum 2014. Nurtures small businesses • People seek and make recommendaPons • Business owners post offers directly • Businesses buy adverPsing Builds more resilient communiPes • Neighbors talk more face-­‐to-­‐face • Increases parPcipaPon in public processes • Supports neighborhood watch & mutual aid
  9. 9. Connected communiPes respond beger when calamity strikes... “We’ve lost half a house but gained a community. Thank you neighbors for your heart-­‐breaking generosity.” -­‐ Elga Gemst, Moretown FPF member "In 36 hours we all donated 3 tons of food and supplies, and $3,000 in support of Hurricane Irene vicPms. The goods were loaded by an enthusiasPc group, then Jack and Adam headed for Bennington, detouring through New York State to avoid closed road." -­‐ Dennis Shanely, Cambridge FPF member © Front Porch Forum 2014.
  10. 10. Sarah Waterman Manning ! Founder of VTResponse.com in 2011
  11. 11. (Digital) Neighbors Helping Neighbors A Story of the Vermont Way in the Digital Age
  12. 12. Where the Story Begins
  13. 13. Twitter After Irene
  14. 14. Key Goals of VTResponse • Consolidate information • Create a place to connect • Accessible to all • Simple to use
  15. 15. Managing VTResponse • Check Email, Twitter, and Voicemail • Review comments and forums • Review VTExchange.org • 17 individual town pages • 12 individual town web pages • 6 State of Vermont Sites • 27 person contact list • Traditional Media Sources
  16. 16. WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
  17. 17. Social media is what you make it. It’s a place to engage, to share, to learn and to connect. The tools change weekly. The basic principles don’t.
  18. 18. GETTING STARTED
  19. 19. The Basics Build your audience before you need it. Manage the information. Use a few tools well, rather than all the tools poorly. Create a system that is as automatic as possible.
  20. 20. Building Audience Engagement is key. • Identify key players • Follow/add/participate generously • Create a conversation
  21. 21. Manage the Information If you don’t share it, someone else will. • Clear, concise, original. • Provide contact information for follow-up • Seek user generated content • Active, consistent participation
  22. 22. Thank You • Vermont Council on Rural Development • Tom Birkland • Matt Sisto/Katy Kent
  23. 23. Questions/Comments/Contact Sarah Waterman Manning Sarah.w.manning@med.uvm.edu
  24. 24. Steve Butcher ! Mad River Valley
  25. 25. Janette Shaffer Ø Middlesex
  26. 26. Janette Shaffer Remote Town Meeting Participation Coordinator, Middlesex Town Meeting Solutions Committee The Town Meeting Solution Committee‘s goal is to improve participation in Middlesex town meeting and Middlesex civic affairs through 1. Information • Middlesex Operator’s Manual (Print and online) • Welcome new voter letters • Town Meeting Tidbits on FPF • Facilitation of f2f roundtable meetings 2. Remote Town Meeting Participation (RTMP)
  27. 27. Contact the Panelists ! Michael Wood-Lewis, Front Porch Forum michael@frontporchforum.com ! Sarah Waterman Manning, VTResponse.com sarah.w.manning@med.uvm.edu ! Steve Butcher, Mad River Valley steve@vickoryhill.com ! Janette Shaffer, Middlesex janette.shaffer@ccv.edu steve@vickeryhill.com steve@vickeryhill.com

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