Making it easier to make a difference.

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    Making it easier to make a difference.

    Civic literacy, trust in government, and participation in democracy are all at historic lows right now. 

    That’s bad news for democracy. And bad news for America.

    Bottom line: it’s hard keeping up with everything. 

    That’s why Forward offers a directory of meaningful actions you can take to make a real difference, starting in your local community. 

    Action feed

    Get customized alerts from the organizations and causes you follow.

    become a civics pro

    Answer trivia and complete Missions to (re)learn the basics of government and level-up your civic literacy score.

    Track your impact

    Earn points, badges and compete with friends to move up the leaderboard.

    build community

    Follow friends and find new collaborators in your own backyard.

    For Individuals

    Our goal is to make it easier for everyday people to take local action on the causes they care about.

    These causes fall into four categories:

    Select your causes

    Follow only the causes, groups, campaigns, and tags that matter to you in your personalized feed.

    Search local actions

    It’s up to you when, where and how you want to take action. Our filters allow you to search opportunities by interest, tag, hobby, date, organization, cause, user rating, cost, time investment, and more.

    Track your impact

    Earn badges and points to reflect your contributions to the community.

    Follow your friends and collaborators

    Share your accomplishments, team up with friends, and get inspired by your own local community of changemakers.

    Level-Up your Civic Literacy Score

    Complete playful lessons to (re)learn the basics of local government, citizen activism, local issues, and how you can make a difference where it matters most: in your local community.

    For Organizations

    You can think of Forward as your ambassador to a broader community of local changemakers. Need to publicize an event? Let's create an Action asking our members to do chalk art to raise awareness about it. Our goal is to support your needs by mobilizing the talents and interests of creative volunteers throughout the local community.

    Does your organization work in one of the following categories? If so, you can add your Group and Actions to Forward right now!

    Social Media Integration

    Staying on top of the latest social media trends can be difficult.

    In addition to promoting your organization's work on Forward’s standalone platform, we can share your content and calls to action across a wide public audience. Our community extends beyond this website to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

    Analytics

    Get in-depth statistics on the popularity of your listing with our dashboard. You can send users who discover you on Forward to your website, Facebook page, mailing lists, and other online resources.

    Be easier to find

    People who support a particular cause often miss out on important calls to action because they only follow one or two organizations in the space. By enabling users to explore opportunities based on issues and interests, we make it easier for them to discover a more of the organizations working on an issue.

    Support learning

    One of the most influential factors when a person is is deciding whether or not to take action is whether they understand the impact the action will have on a movement’s larger goals. We carefully scaffold ladders of learning and engagement that help your followers "level-up" their civic skills and learn about your cause at their own pace.

    Our Approach & Values

    We do things differently.

    We do things differently.

    User-Centered

    Forward is designed around our communities and needs here in central Wisconsin. We spent two years running focus groups, interviews and surveys with activists and everyday people throughout the state to understand how their needs are and aren’t being met by the organizations they care about.

    More than anything, this is what sets us apart - the primary focus of our user research is not on grassroots organizations, but on the people those grassroots organizations are working to reach and mobilize. We seek to continually improve the platform to make it easier for busy Wisconsinites to participate in local democracy and support the causes that matter to them.

    Safety and Privacy

    Safety and privacy are priorities as we develop this tool. To us, safety includes physical safety, the safety of your data, and emotional safety as you participate in the platform itself. We enforce a strict code of conduct for users with a user flagging process and manual moderation of content on the Forward platform. Posts that violate our community standards will be removed and repeat offenders will be blocked. Furthermore, unlike Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, Forward is not in the business of selling your data. Instead, we are exploring models that enable community ownership and governance of the data we collect here.

    Accessibility

    Accessibility is an important value for Forward. That’s why we seek to maximize access by eventually offering the platform in multiple languages. Furthermore, we are deeply committed to optimizing our tools and experiences to meet the needs of people with visual impairments and other disabilities. All that said, we are currently a team of volunteers with very limited resources. The early iterations of the Forward platform do not meet our desired accessibility standards. We welcome your feedback and requests and seek to prioritize accessibility to the greatest extent possible as we test new features. Thank you for your patience as our volunteer team works to meet range of needs.

    Every voice matters.

    Transparency & Ownership

    We believe that platforms designed to function in support of democracy should be democratically owned and governed. As described by Trevor Scholz and Nathan Schneider, the model of platform cooperativism reimagines the traditional form of the cooperative as a way to govern and share value among the participating members of digital platforms. Our goal is to build a platform that is owned and governed by the community-based organizations and users it serves.

    Forward is currently organized as a Wisconsin LLC with nonprofit fiscal sponsorship from Arts Wisconsin for our Education Fund as we explore pathways toward this goal. Furthermore, unlike Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, Forward is not in the business of selling your data. Instead, we are exploring models that enable community ownership and governance of data collected in the platform.

    An early version of Forward is now available in the Fox Cities, Madison, and a growing number of communities throughout Wisconsin.

    Please check it out and share your thoughts, feedback, and requests as we work to improve the tool.