These are links to recommended sites to help your organization practice effective deliberative democracy and transparent governance.

Collections of Engagement Techniques


Beyond the short list of techniques suggested in the Co-op Tools List, there are a wide array of popular and proven methods for engaging citizens in public policy development or members in organization change. Here are some of the best resource collections for learning more about the various approaches. All are free to access online, unless stated otherwise.

People & Participation Methods Database
Detailed descriptions of over 30 participatory methods including their strengths and weaknesses. (Involve, UK)

The Health Canada Policy Toolkit for Public Involvement in Decision Making
A complete toolkit with guidelines, about 50 techniques described in concise details and with useful suggestions and also case studies and references. An excellent free resource.

Quantum Governance Toolkit
Concise lists of descriptions and resources for planning and managing governance dialogue. (Institute of Public Administration of Canada's Centre for Governance Dialogue)

Urban Research Program / Citizen Science Toolbox
Over 60 community involvement tools, many case studies and with useful searching tools. (Coastal Cooperative Research Centre, Australia)

Dialogue and Deliberation Models and Techniques
Over 400 resources on about 25 different approaches. (National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, USA)

Co-Intelligent Practices, Approaches, Processes and Organizations
Over 50 items listed with many links to related resources.

The Change Handbook
A textbook that summarizes and compares 60 of the most popular methods (for purchase).

Simple Technology and Tips for Co-ops and NGOs

A short list of tools, sites and tips for people who are responsible for technical work and decisions within co-operatives, community and not-for-profit organizations. or
Gmail gives you an easy to use email account, great spam filtering and tons of storage space, plus collaborative online documents and spreadsheets (these are really useful), a shared calendar and a very basic web page, all for free. If you want to use you’ll need a geek friend to spend 30 minutes to set up Google Apps, which is also free.

Create a free personalized group site. Add pages, forums, photos and various widgets. Pay $14.95 USD per month to remove the ads.
An easy way to upload and share really big files, like that 11MB PowerPoint slide show that you can’t e-mail.
Host conference calls for free (although long-distance charges apply). Or get 10 cents minute/caller toll-free calls with MP3 audio recordings.
Easily recognize ideal dates to schedule a meeting with multiple people. Great for avoiding email/phone tag to decide a meeting date. - coming soon. In the mean time try Glance or WebEx
Host online meetings complete with PowerPoint slides, shared screens, whiteboards, chat, web cams and audio. A recommended alternative to the time and expense of arranging and traveling to face-to-face meetings.
Create a simple web based survey for 100 people for free or pay $20 month for up to 1000 respondents. Very easy to use and the results can viewed online or exported in different spreadsheet format.
A collection of simple web tools for project and contact management. BaseCamp makes life easier.
Send and track your invoices online. Get paid.
A set of free applications that work just like Word, Excel and PowerPoint without supporting "the man".


Other sites to help you find the technical solutions you need: - - -

For Co-ops
All the information and links you will ever need to develop an awesome co-operative in Canada. Hundreds of organized resources to download, listings of training opportunities and contact info for smart developers in your province to help answer your co-op questions.
Register your own domain with a .coop. They offer hosting too.


Some Website Building Tips

You can get more tips, consultation and service from,,,,, - all friends who do smart web development for progressive Canadian organizations.

Writing for the Web

People read web sites differently then they read paper pubications. On the web, people visually scan for chuncks of useful information and link to and from related pages and sites. With this in mind, here are some key tips for writing effectively on the web.
  • Get to the point. Start with the conclusion

  • Be yourself. Write conversationally.

  • Write short, tight paragraphs.

  • Stay on topic.

  • Avoid unnecessary wordiness. Half the word count (or less) than conventional writing.

  • Make your title attention grabbing and still descriptive.

  • Preview your edits. Make sure mark-up and links work.

  • Proof-read and spellcheck your work.

  • Include many useful link references.

  • Avoid "marketese" e.g. "hottest ever" and “leading edge”.

  • Write for your audiences’ needs.

  • Avoid hyperbole e.g. “My Web site has a zillion pages.”

  • Check your facts and include links to support your claims.

  • Remember your audience is global.

Write to be Scanned

  • Chunk the information into bite-sized bits.

  • Write meaningful headlines for each thought.

  • Use bulleted lists or a table instead of narrative paragraphs.

  • Use keywords in the title and introduction / abstract.

  • Bold keywords throughout.

  • Use action verbs, i.e. avoid flat verbs like: is, have, was.

  • Make links describe their destination. Avoid the use of “click here”.

  • Use one idea per paragraph

Editorial Style

  • Establish a consistent writing style and use of terminology through-out your site.

  • Decide on a common reference, e.g. The Canadian Oxford Compact Dictionary

  • Recommend spellings: e-mail Web online Internet

  • Avoid jargon and spell-out acronyms the first time used on each page.


Attribution Best Practices

  • It's OK to link to any page on the net without requesting permission.

  • Reposting anything more than a link and quoted paragraph requires getting the author’s permission.

  • Use and recommend the use of Creative Commons licenses – these promote the easy distribution of great content. See

Governance Links

Boards and committees, by-laws and policies: these are some of the core elements of traditional governance. Below are links to recommended resources that delve into this topic.


Sample By-laws - worker co-op - non-worker, non-housing co-op

Roberts Rules of Order

Although Co-op Tools recommends consensus decision-making, we realize that many organizations still use a Robert's Rules structured meetings and voting guidelines.

Robert's Rules of Order - Some Basics Edited by Carter McNamara, PhD

Online Tools for Brainstorming, Deliberating and Rating Ideas

While my main interest is in tools for group decision making and governance that people can us without the need for computers, I am frequently asked by the geek types "Hey, I bet dotmocracy would work great online. Do you have a web version?" In short, I don't but there are web applications for brainstorming ideas, deliberating them, rating and recognizing the level of agreement among participants, similar to the paper based dotmocracy process. Here is short list of the best ones I found:

dialogr free web service allows user to quicly register, create topics, post ideas on each topic, rate each idea out of 5 stars and post comments on ideas. Unlike dotmocracy it does not include the "Confusion" rating option, nor does it graph the number of votes per each star, thus users don't know if voting is poloarized or not. That said, so far this is the best out-of-the-box free web based collaborative decision-making tool I have found.


An excellent collection of tools for brainstorming, categorizing, priortization / voting, action planning, surveying and documenting. Unfortunately you are looking at around $18,000 USD for license fees and training.

CoVision’s WebCouncil software

This is a key application used by AmericaSpeaks for their 21st Century Town Hall Meetings. They don't tell you much about the software on their public site but I can tell you it cost over $10,000 USD for set-up, training and license. You can peak at a demo at

Software and services for live large group decision-making. Their latest application called ThinkTank looks quite ideal, except for the price, which was around US $35 seat/day, $105 seat/week, or $200 seat/month (a seat is required for every logged in user).

This is a new web service for controlled and structured posting and voting on content, at last check it was just videos. Seems like it has a lot of potential.

Delphi Decision Aid

This is a free-ware application for hosting a basic Delphi method which has similar characteristic to dotmocracy. unfortunatly the usability is a bit lacking in the software interface.

Hosted groups with rating features

Both free Yahoo groups and Google groups allows users to post topics, comment and to rate each comment. I'd like to see if any organizations are formally using these features for collective decision making.

Content Management Systems with rating options

Drupal CMS with VoteAPI module and probably some modules/plug-ins/features on other content management systems or forum tools (e.g. phpBB) could be configured or modestly upgraded to provide for similar idea rating, commenting, and graphing that is core to dotmocracy.

If you can suggest other applications for brainstorming ideas, deliberating them, rating and recognizing the level of agreement among participants, please let me know via a comment below. Thanks. -JD

Recursos de Facilitación - Facilitation Resources in Spanish

Aquí este una colección de los mejores vínculos para ayudar a facilitadores de reuniones y directores de asambleas.

Recursos Gratis


El formato "¿Que opinas?"

Los instruccíones del Método "¿Que opinas?"


Facilitacón 101
De Edward S. Ruete

Colección de dinámicas

Y otras en

De Amauta International

Conversaciones constructivas sobre tiempos de desafío: Una guía para el diálogo comunitario (PDF)
De la Public Conversations Project

La Democracia Plena: La Práctica Interna del Compromiso Cívico (PDF)
De Patricia A. Wilson y Hugo R. Rincón

Y muchas más en la Biblioteca Virtual por facilitadores

De el Sitio de Participación en el desarrollo

Como facilitar una reunión

Actitudes participativas y principios claves en la aplicación de instrumentos / métodos participativos


La toma de decisiones en equipos de trabajo

La toma de decisiones

El Director de grupo

De la Asociación Internacional para la Participación Pública (AIPP)

Caja de Herramientas (PDF)

Espectro de la Particiáción Pública


Introducción al Proceso de Consenso (PDF)

de Beatrice Briggs

Manual de Facilitación Dinámica
Método Creado por Jim Rough

El método "Indagacion Apreciativa"
Una colecion de articulos y vinculos.

El método "Espacio Abierto"
Introducución y mas.

Asociación participativa Toolkit
Se describen y analizan un centenar de casos de la participación ciudadana en el gobierno local.

El Boletín Electrónico de Facilitadores (BELF)

Libros para comprar

De Maggie Herzig & Laura Chasin - $21 USD
La Participación Pública
Un Manual con Desmond M. Connor - $9.75 USD
El Instituto Internacional de Facilitación y Consenso - libros favoritos

Sugerir otros recursos en el formato para comentarios...



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