Effective organizing

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Effective organizing

Characteristics[ edit ] Organized community groups attempt to influence government, corporations and institutions, seek to increase direct representation within decision-making bodies, and foster social reform more generally.


Where negotiations fail, these organizations quickly seek to inform others outside of the organization of the issues being addressed and expose or pressure the decision-makers through a variety of means, including picketing, boycottingsit-inspetitioning, and electoral politics. Organizing groups often seek out issues they know will generate controversy and conflict, this allows them to draw in and educate participants, build commitment, and establish a reputation for winning.

In fact, specific issues are often vehicles for other organizational agendas as much as they are ends in themselves.

Effective organizing

Community organizers generally seek to build groups that are democratic in governance, open and accessible to community members, and concerned with the general health of a specific interest group, rather than the community as a whole.

Organizing seeks to broadly empower community members, with the end goal of "distributing" power more equally throughout the community. The four basic types Effective organizing community organizing are grassroots or "door-knocking" organizing, faith-based community organizing FBCObroad-based and coalition building.

Political campaigns often claim that Effective organizing door-to-door operations are in fact an effort to organize the community, though often these operations are focused exclusively on voter identification and turnout.

FBCOs and many grassroots organizing models are built on the work of Saul Alinskydiscussed below, from the s into the s. It is a values based process where people are brought together to act in the interest of their communities and the common good. Because they go door-to-doorthey are able to reach beyond established organizations and the "churched" to bring together a wide range of less privileged people.

ACORN tends to stress the importance of constant action in order to maintain the commitment of a less rooted group of participants.

What is a Project Steering Committee?

ACORN has a reputation of being more forceful than faith-based FBCO groups, and there are indications that their local groups were more staff organizer directed than leader local volunteer directed. However, the same can be said for many forms of organizing, including FBCOs. The "door-knocking" approach is more time-intensive than the "organization of organizations" approach of FBCOs and requires more organizers who, partly as a result, can be lower paid with more turnover.

Unlike existing FBCO national "umbrella" and other grassroots organizations, ACORN maints a centralized national agenda, and exerts some centralized control over local organizations.

Because ACORN USA was a c 4 organization under the tax code, it was able to participate directly in election activities, but contributions to it were not tax exempt.

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In the United States starting inthe Bush Administration launched a department to promote community organizing that included faith-based organizing as well other community groups. FBCOs have increasingly expanded outside impoverished areas into churches where middle-class professionals predominate in an effort to expand their power to contest inequality.

FBCOs focus on the long-term development of a culture and common language of organizing and on the development of relational ties between members. They are more stable during fallow periods than grassroots groups because of the continuing existence of member churches.

FBCOs are c 3 organizations. Contributions to them are tax exempt.

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As a result, while they can conduct campaigns over "issues" they cannot promote the election of specific individuals. Dues-based membership allows IAF organizations to maintain their independence; organizations are politically non-partisan and do not pursue or accept government funding.

Broad-based organizations aim to teach institutional leaders how to build relationships of trust across racial, faith, economic and geographic lines through individual, face-to-face meetings. To the extent that groups' actions generate a sense in the larger community that they have "power," they are often able to engage with and influence powerful groups through dialogue, backed up by a history of successful protest-based campaigns.

Similar to the way unions gain recognition as the representatives of workers for a particular business, community organizing groups can gain recognition as key representatives of particular communities.

In this way, representatives of community organizing groups are often able to bring key government officials or corporate leaders to the table without engaging in "actions" because of their reputation. As Alinsky said, "the first rule of power tactics" is that "power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

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Effective organizations pay attention to 10 key characteristics across these five areas. For example, effective leadership requires having a clear vision that is translated into well understood priorities, and supported by a cohesive and aligned leadership team.

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