Community organizing, when done right, has the potential to create lasting impact. With the collective action of people focused on a specific cause, alleviating a community’s pain points becomes much easier. However, it goes without saying that there are several aspects to community organizing; from the perspectives of the organizers and from that of the volunteers or activists.
While we talked about the steps involved in a previous article on community organizing, we now focus on important community organizing strategies which make it simpler without losing the desired end impact.
- Organize regular training workshops for volunteers, to prepare them during the time of action. The purpose of these workshops is to remove barriers while plugging skill gaps such as lack of confidence, or nervousness of speaking in public. Make use of work organizers to simplify your task.
- When you interact with lawmakers regarding a bill, it is necessary to be tactful. Don’t just talk about the merits or demerits of passing a bill, talk about how supporting or opposing it is in their political interest.
- For instance, if your community wants a bill passed for the promotion of renewables, don’t just tell your representative that it is beneficial for the environment, tell them that by supporting this bill they are more likely to win public support and more votes.
- Keep a plan in place for if and when conflicts arise among the community. For your community organization, everyone’s focus should be on the objective of what the group collectively and ultimately wants.
- Prepare a checklist of materials that’ll be required during the process of action. For rallies or press conferences, mics and speakers are required, to transport people hire buses or cars, and for making calls acquire a phone banking system.
- It is necessary that everyone knows the potential risks involved while being part of a movement. Community leaders should make everyone aware of the things which could go wrong.
- While talking about issues, be energetic, articulate, and direct. To mobilize people it is necessary to connect the issues to their lives, which only motivates them to rally towards taking action.
- Decide on the frequency of every activity that community members are going to take:
- if we’re making calls, how many are we going to make in a given timeline?
- If we’re sending emails, texts, or faxes, how many of them are we going to send?
- Learn to welcome newcomers. Offer them a chance to speak about themselves and what they can bring to the table. By doing so, new (and potentially critical) viewpoints get introduced as well, which only benefits the cause.
- Along with working for the cause, try setting time aside periodically for other activities for members to just cool off and pursue something with others which is more fun and relaxing. For instance, you could organize outdoor picnics or lunches, so that everyone gets a chance to bond in a non work related environment.
- Before your community passes a major decision on a strategic course of action, make sure that everyone votes on it. Keep things democratic so that everyone’s voice is heard.
- After pursuing a course of action, everyone should get together for a meeting which stands as a review. Some of the questions everyone should ponder upon and discuss are:
- Did we meet our goals in the way we wanted to? If we didn’t, why not?
- Could we have done something better?
- What worked for us and what didn’t?
Hopefully, these strategies help you get the most out of your community organizing campaign. If you have any comments, don’t hesitate to pen them down below!
Related: Guide to Devising Great Community Outreach Strategies That Win Big