COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS NETWORK Frequently Asked Questions
Ready to dig into the details about the Braver Angels Community Collaborations Network?
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Want to talk with someone on the Community Collaborations Team to explore the program further? Email the Community Collaborations Manager, Julie Boler, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be in touch to set up a call or Zoom meeting at your convenience.
For purposes of the Community Collaborations Network, we mean local-level, nonprofit organizations, such as civic organizations, religious organizations, and college campus groups.
(National level organizations interested in partnering with Braver Angels, see “Additional Information” below.)
We are actually looking for groups with some diversity of viewpoint among members. You don’t need a composition of half red-leaning and half blue-leaning members. But you will want to be able to identify some level of balance, with an interest by folks on various ends of the spectrum in engaging in this initiative.
(If your organization is nearly all blue or all red, see “Additional Information” below to find out about other ways to collaborate with Braver Angels.)
We do want to know that your leadership is on board with the spirit and goals of the collaboration. Whether your group is led by a president, board of directors, pastor or rabbi, faculty advisors or elected leaders, support from the top will be important to creating a fruitful partnership. But your group’s official leaders don’t have to attend orientations, or plan events. Your organization will select your own 2-4 member leader team to coordinate your engagement with Braver Angels.
(Note: The 2-4 member leader teams must include at least one red-leaning and one blue-leaning member.)
When considering participation in this network, think about how your organization’s credo, principles, and mission might align with those of a political depolarization organization like Braver Angels. Do your current traditions and practices emphasize seeking ways to bridge differences? Would your members value gaining Braver Angels tools and techniques for engaging across opposing viewpoints? Are they looking for a model for open, respectful conversations about political differences? While our method can be useful for the constructive, respectful, broaching of all kinds of tough topics, Braver Angels’ mission, approach, and materials are specifically designed to address the American partisan political divide. Are your members open to wading into those waters?
No. All of our trainings and resource materials are free of cost. We do ask that the 2-4 members of your Leader Team join Braver Angels. A $12 annual membership fee gives you access to our Member Portal, where you will find a wealth of resources and contact information to help support your organizing, skills and leadership development, event production and promotion, debate and workshop moderation, and more. Membership puts you in the pipeline for regular announcements, updates, and opportunities in the Braver Angels universe, and, of course, makes our important work possible. But once you are a member of Braver Angels and a participating collaborator in our Community Collaborations Network, all the resources we have will be at your disposal without charge.
That will depend to some extent on the capacity of your organization and the leaders you choose to coordinate your engagement with Braver Angels. But we can give you an overview about what the various stages of the onboarding process may entail.
Leaders will go through a three-stage onboarding process that they can complete on their own timetable. This will include an Incubation Phase, a Launch Event, and an Action-Planning Phase. Organizations will have flexibility in scheduling these phases. Some may go through the process over a few weeks, others may take a few months. It depends on your organization’s own calendars and capacities. After this onboarding process, the level of ongoing participation in the network will also be up to the organization, based on interest, needs, and capacity.
Here is an approximation of time involved with each of the three phases:
- The Incubation Phase
- Your leader team members will each attend a Braver Angels event (e.g. an online workshop or debate.) See our What We Do page to read about the choices, and the Events Calendar to find one that fits your interests.
Time commitment: 1-3 hours per person, depending on the event chosen.
- Leader team members will pair up with each other for a Braver Angels Red/Blue 1:1 Conversation, a self-guided conversation between two people with different political leanings. A template is provided and the conversation takes place in two, 1-hour sessions. We will provide more information about how to set up the sessions for your team.
Time commitment: 2 hours per team.
- Each member of your leader team will attend a 90-minute Community Collaborations Network Orientation session. Additional time will be available for training and support, but only the orientation is required.
Time commitment: 1.5 hours
Additional time available based on your team’s interests and needs.
- The Launch Event
- The event itself runs to 90-minutes. Each organization’s planning, set-up, and debriefing processes will vary.
Time commitment: 90 minutes for event
Additional time for internal planning and processing.
- The Action-Planning Phase
The time spent on this phase will vary widely between organizations. You may want to hold open meetings with members who express interest in engaging more with the Braver Angels collaboration. Or maybe you will stick to smaller meetings with your leader group. You may decide on some combination of those, or another format altogether. You can base the amount of time and schedule on your capacity and calendar.
The launch event is a gathering of you and all members of your organization to formally launch your depolarization collaboration with Braver Angels. It is organized and hosted by your leader team. We provide a Braver Angels event template, and you enhance it with, and tailor it to, your organization’s own language, culture, traditions, and rituals.
Here are some of the objectives for the launch event:
- Participants have an understanding of the way political polarization challenges each of us—locally, regionally, and across the country—and the impact it can have on communities.
- Participants have awareness of how this work fits in with the values, spirit, and history of this organization and institution, its value in many contexts.
- Participants feel motivated to engage in the work of bridging the divide in their congregation, their personal lives, their community, and in the wider world. Some commit to taking action in collaboration with Braver Angels.
Take a look at the template for your group-type’s launch event:
- Launch Event Template for Religious Congregations
- Launch Event Template for Campus Groups
- Launch Event Template for Civic Organizations
- The Braver Angels team will host weekly Round Tables for Community Collaborators, where they can meet with the Leader Teams of other community organizations across the country engaged in the same work. Time is provided for experience brainstorming, problem-solving, co-creating, and mutual support.
- We will host quarterly meetings to provide program news and updates, spotlight organizations, and offer in-depth exploration of depolarization issues most relevant to attending collaborators.
- We are in development of an online-meeting space for networking between like groups. I.e., a space for organizations involved with higher education, a space for religious community collaborators, and a space for civic group leaders.
- We invite participants in the Community Collaborations Network to offer their own suggestions and requests for platforms and events that would enhance the value of the network for them.
We are delighted to have an opportunity to collaborate with your organization to pursue our mutual depolarization missions!
Please click here to fill out the form: Register Your Organization.
Once you’ve submitted the completed form, you will receive a Welcome Letter with instructions for moving ahead. We can’t wait to meet you!
Absolutely. Please send us an email to the Community Collaborations Team at email@example.com and we will get in touch. We’d be glad to answer more questions by email, get on the phone with you, or schedule a Zoom meeting; what ever works best for you.
National or regional-level organizations:
If you are interested in sharing information about the Community Collaborations Network with your local chapters, congregations, and campuses, and would like help with strategy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in partnering with Braver Angels at the national level, contact our Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Steve House, at email@example.com.
Community organizations leaning mostly blue or mostly red:
Braver Angels is delighted by your interest in collaborating! There are a range of options for getting involved.
The Community Collaborations Team hopes to develop a matching program in early 2022, bringing together pairs of community organizations with differing profiles for respectful, constructive dialogue, with a shared search for common ground.
Meanwhile, here are some avenues for increased engagement with Braver Angels for your organization:
- See if there is a Braver Angels Alliance in your area. Click here to read about our Alliances and search for one near you.
- Contact your state Braver Angels Co-coordinators to learn more about what’s happening in your local area. If your organization wants to host a debate or workshop, your state coordinator can identify Braver Angels Organizers and Moderators to make that happen.
- Members of your organization can sign up for and attend as a group any of our national offerings, and hold a discussion group to debrief. Bookmark this link to our Events calendar. If you don’t see what you’re looking for now, keep checking back, as new events are added all the time.
To learn more about the nature of the events you are interested in, look at the “What We Do” section of our website. You will find descriptions of a wide variety of offerings.
And stay tuned for that matching program in the spring of 2022!