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Does your community want to solve an urgent problem?

In a Unify Deliberation, we invite a community to deeply consider a range of actions to solve a public problem. We give citizens the time and information to really understand the problem and the trade-offs involved in solving it. And we create an open, fun, and collaborative environment where people can build trust, reach consensus, and develop truly innovative solutions.

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Unify Deliberation

In a Unify Deliberation, we invite a community to deeply consider a range of actions to solve a public problem. We give citizens the time and information to really understand the problem and the trade-offs involved in solving it. And we create an open, fun, and collaborative environment where people can build trust, reach consensus, and develop truly innovative solutions.

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What's in it for your community?

A proven process for solving problems

Deliberation is a well-tested method of public decision-making across the world. From rural community planning in Minnesota to energy production in Scotland, citizens' juries have used Deliberation to create positive, lasting solutions.

A support team of unbiased experts

The Unify America team handles the heavy lifting as neutral, unbiased experts with experience in deliberation, community outreach, and engagement design.

Positive change

During the Unify Deliberation, we create opportunities for broad participation and public engagement, fostering solutions that have buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders. You not only find solutions, you also build relationships.

How does a Unify Deliberation work?

Here's what Unify Deliberation looks like:

Build a shared goal

We help your community focus on what the future could look like.

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Explore a wide range of actions

Instead of coming in with the same old ideas, a Unify America deliberation explores a range of solutions to a problem.

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Select citizens’ juries

Citizens' juries are made of representative and randomly selected citizens who are invited to hear various perspectives and make recommendations on how to solve the problem.

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Give citizens the chance to be involved and share feedback

This isn’t a typical town meeting with a line of people making statements that are never addressed. Our process provides opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard, to have their concerns addressed, and to foster connections.

The results? Citizens feel heard. And they've co-created the solution, which builds relationships and buy-in.

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Is your community a good fit?

As we begin to test this Unify Deliberation process, we’re seeking communities with the following criteria:

What issues get discussed in a Unify Deliberation?

Issues that matter to your community! Working with other communities, our staff has tackled issues such as housing strategy, economic development, land use, mental health, community health care, diversity and inclusion, and alleviating hunger in a community.

Why does Unify America make a great partner?

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We’re allergic to boring

Our interactive experiences bring civics to life. We take a dash of behavioral science, mix with plain everyday language, and toss with a bit of lighthearted humor.

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We handle the heavy lifting

A Unify Deliberation is turnkey and designed for busy community leaders. We help build the shared goal, recruit representative and randomly selected jury members, host Unify Deliberations, and determine the solution and a plan for implementation. We also help get the word out to your community with an outreach strategy and marketing/communications support.

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We’re unbiased

With more than 50 years of combined experience in deliberation, creative design, marketing, and community organizing, the Unify America team is an accomplished, unbiased partner.

FAQs

What’s a deliberation, again?

Deliberation (noun):
A small group discussion that aims at producing well-reasoned decisions on public issues. The topic of a deliberation is a difficult problem or public issue – one we struggle to solve. Participants in deliberation explore information, weigh the benefits and tradeoffs of multiple solutions, and ultimately, make a decision about what should be done.

Unify America’s Deliberation (noun):
When an entire jurisdiction–a community–comes together to deeply consider a range of solutions that would solve a public problem. In a Unify America sovereign deliberation, a governmental body invites community members to volunteer to be part of a randomly chosen, demographically representative group to deliberate on an important issue that affects their community.  The community members are given the time and information to understand the complexity of the issue and the trade offs involved in solving it and deliberate on possible solutions.  The work product resulting from the deliberation is then used by the same governmental body to create change and solve the public problem.In deliberation, people act differently—in a good way. They are able to listen across differences, overcome biases, change their minds, and work together with others to decide a solution to a complex public problem.

What would partnering with Unify America for a deliberation look like?

Well, for starters, we’d be interested in meeting with elected officials, government representatives, and community leaders to learn about a problem faced by your community. 

Then, we would broaden participation to determine a shared goal that addresses that problem. Think about a shared goal as a should statement–what should happen. For example, if the problem was that the community didn’t have enough housing, a shared goal might be, “Everyone should be able to find affordable, safe housing.” We at Unify America believe that most of us want things to get better when faced with a problem–in fact, we usually can find a shared goal. That’s our starting place for deliberation, because once we have a shared goal, citizens can take part in deliberative processes to consider a range of actions that work to achieve that goal. 

A Unify America sovereign deliberation provides opportunities for broad participation and public engagement, fostering solutions that have buy-in from a wide range of stakeholders. Simply put, deliberation creates positive change.

Get everyone involved? Won’t that lead to more fighting?

This isn’t a typical town meeting. In the Unify America deliberation process, community members are put into groups that allow different voices to be heard and foster connection through ideas (instead of a line of people making statements that never are addressed). 

And we explore a wide range of actions that could address the problem, so every idea gets tested. 

Where has this type of deliberation worked?

Lots of places, in communities large and small! Here’s a few examples of where deliberations have been held and their focus:

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About Unify America

Meet Unify America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping communities bridge divides and solve problems. 

We leverage interactive design, lessons from history and from your community, technology, and high quality information into a public engagement process called Deliberation, built to involve community stakeholders to identify solutions and achieve a shared goal.

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