My 2009 Organizing Resolutions

1) “Study War No More.” My organizing is going to live by the lyrics to this blues song by Willy Dixon. Non-violence: Gandhi and King, rather than thinly-veiled war metaphors like troops, campaign, enemies.

2) I am an organizer, I do not speak to the press, I will organize our leaders to speak to the press, or we will not speak at all.

3) Find stuff for everybody to do. No more check writers. Make signs, write up agendas, make phone calls, make cakes, set out chairs, clean up, watch kids etc. Ask for ideas. Organize, don’t do.

4) Recruit, recruit, recruit. More members = more leaders. Get out of the office and talk to people. Schedule one-on-ones with all current members. Recruit members to help recruit others.

5) Regularly scheduled leadership development workshops for leaders. Organizing for power, speaking to the media, story telling and public speaking, how to run an effective and fun meeting, negotiations, accountability.

6) Create a diversified fund raising organizing plan for the Board. All kinds of sources and all kinds of ideas. One day a week dedicated to fundraising–follow up, research, writing.

7) Organize with people in mind, not issues. Do not think in policy wonk terms, start thinking about concrete results. What will the activity accomplish and what is in it for the participants?

8) Monthly calendar to organizer and leaders: monthly meetings (coalition and leadership), workshops, ad hoc working group meetings, special events.

9) Study the history of people’s movements and use it to give power, color and context to organizing.

10) Celebrate victories, make things personable and enjoyable. Organizing should not be a chore.

11) Don’t automatically say no, just because it’s never been done that way before. Plan to shake things up. Say “what the hell” every once in a while.

12) Keep your eyes on the prize. Organize. No one else is doing this kind of organizing, so do not waste time on other folks’ projects.

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