As 2009 draws to a close, we consider our past accomplishments and prepare for new ones. As an organization, we are now in an exciting position where our opportunities exceed our capacity: that is to say that if we had more resources, we would be accomplishing more than we are.
If you haven't yet donated to the Open Forum Foundation, please consider doing so. In addition, please consider sharing this message with everyone that you know (original post). Together, we will create responsive government!
We are a young nonprofit organization called the Open Forum Foundation. We believe that the future of government is in being responsive to the needs of its citizens and have already started to do something about it. We're well-connected in Washington, DC; understand the internal workings of Congress; have several projects in operation (with a couple more in the wings); and have a solid vision for the future.
A Vision for the Future: Responsive Government
The quality of a government is determined by the quality of its citizens, and we are at a critical time in history for the development of government. Never before has it been possible for every citizen of a country to participate in the decision-making process, but new tools developed on the Internet are making that feasible.
This doesn't mean the transition will be quick - or easy! Government is entrenched in centuries of internal culture, precedents, rules, and regulations. Some of these are very important; some of them need to go; but deciding which is which will be an effort that lasts for years and impacts the entire world.
Our mission is to ensure that the end result of this transition is responsive government. We do this through three main methods:
1. Education. We educate, inform, and connect the elected leaders, government staff, technology developers, and organizations that are on the forefront of this transition.
2. Technology. We promote the use and development of technologies that enable inclusive and meaningful political dialogue, while lowering the barriers to entry for both citizens and government representatives.
3. Research. We engage in research that illuminates the current state of affairs and proposes paths for a smooth transition.
This is not all that we're working on, but it is what we're currently most proud of.
GovLuv connects you instantly with your government representatives through the magical power of Twitter. It shows messages sent both to AND from your reps, filters them in a number of different ways, and enables you to join the conversation. Visit GovLuv.org to see for yourself.
CongressCamp began as a barcamp to discuss “transforming citizen engagement with Congress through social media and collaboration tools.” The event was a huge success, and the momentum is spawning more events and the development of educational resources. Visit CongressCamp.org for more information or to get involved.
Mapping Political Communication is a joint project with George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet to understand how political communication flows today. This knowledge will help us to understand how the transition is occurring and how best to support it. While still in an early phase, the results of this research will be made available for public use and scrutiny once they are presentable.
How to get involved
If you're still reading, something must have piqued your interest. Don't let that die:
We have committed our lives to this. If you believe in it also, share what you have to offer. Everyone on the planet stands to benefit.
Onwards and Upwards!