March 29, 2010

Community organizers know each person matters

Community organizers got a lot of press in 2008 and 2009, thanks to the Obama campaign and President Obama's experience as an organizer.

A friend of mine who is an organizer described the day-to-day of the job very well:

  1. Make a checklist in the morning of all the tasks that need to be done
  2. Get other people to do them

Whether it's turning hundreds of people out for a rally, knocking on 10,000 doors for a campaign, or convincing a city councilman to vote for affordable housing legislation, organizers succeed by taking what seems like an impossible project and breaking it down into pieces that are small enough for a volunteer to complete. Activating supporters also increases the power of the organization – more money, clout, and impact on elections.

It's a difficult way to get work done, but when it's successful, great amounts of power are built up. Volunteers have skin in the game. They are committed. They want to help the cause.

What project is your team working on that seems way too big to accomplish? Would it help if you found 15 new people to pitch in?

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