JUST 223 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Community Organizing

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10 Apr 2018
The Basics of Couity Orgaizig fro Together We Will
Community Organizing: create social change by building a base of concerned people, mobilizing these community
members to act, and in developing leadership and relationships from those involved.
o Form a core group: Identify people who are committed to improving conditions for your community and who would be
interested in initiating a community organizing effort.
o Identify an issue: At a meeting of community members interested in working on an organizing effort, identify an issue
that everyone agrees to.
o Identify a mission and goals: All organizing efforts or campaigns should have an overall mission that clearly describes
its purpose and what participants hope to accomplish with it. There should also be short-term, intermediate-term
(optional), and long-term goals that are specific and achievable.
All campaigns have two kinds of goals: external goals and internal goals. External goals are the public goals: the policy
you want to change, the legislation you want passed. The internal goals are your organizational and base building
objectives: how do you build your organization and get more people involved.
Tip: Do not have more than one or two goals at one time. The short-term goal should serve as a stepping stone for the
intermediate goal. The intermediate goal should serve as a stepping stone for the long-term goal. Develop a timeline for
the goals. Remember to celebrate when goals are reached.
o Identify allies: Who will be helpful and supportive of your organizing efforts? Identify individuals, groups, institutions,
etc. that have influence over the issue on which you're working. How are you going to gain their support? The Basics of
Community Organizing 1
o Opposition: Will there be opposition? If so, who will they be and how will you deal with them?
o Develop a blueprint or strategy: What is your general plan for accomplishing your goal? In developing a strategy,
identify appropriate tools. Examples of tools are demonstrations; meetings with elected representatives; calls, faxes,
letters, etc. to a targeted legislator, company, agency; press conferences, letters to the editor, and other media
Tip: There are many tools to choose from, though not all will be effective for your organizing effort; use a combination
that best advances your goals.
o Decide on concrete activities: These should be very specific. How many calls, letters, faxes etc. do you want to
generate? How many press conferences do you want to hold? How many lobby days do you want to organize?
o Timeline: Working backward from the end of the campaign, what do you want to accomplish at each stage of the
o Recruit People: The heart of your organizing effort is people. Engaging and retaining people in the initiative are an on-
going effort.
Tip: In doing any type of outreach, it is essential that you're able to talk clearly, succinctly, and energetically about the
campaign and the issue. Connect the issue to people's lives and be prepared to answer questions. People will not get
involved if they can't understand you.
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