Organizing is 1/2 Inspiration, 1/2 Personality, 1/2 knowledge and...
see tenant created flyers attached at the bottom of this webpage.
Who is an organizer? Here's an easy definition: The Organizer is the person who leaves with the sign up list.What
this means is that the organizer is responsible for "the
process"...which is another way to say "the organizer owns the process,
the members own the product."
the process requires that an organizer have some knowledge about how
groups work, how consensus can be developed and how to create strategies
and tactics to help the group meet its goals.
should be less involved in what goals are set by the members and less
interested (but not uninterested) in the details of the issues.
who are setting the agenda are taking over the leader role. While this
may be necessary in a crisis or because leadership lacks
experience...the organizer needs to be conscious that she/he is working
outside the organizer's duties and should work to "normalize" the
situation as quickly as possible.
may be tenants (usually not elected leadership) or they may be
"outsiders" who work for an organization or they may be community
activists. Examples of each type of organizer abound.
Make this analogy is it helps: Leader are like candidates running for office, the organizer is the campaign manager.
Organizers only become famous when they become leaders.
will tell anyone-it's not about me, it's about the people, the issue,
the cause...the superstar organizers: Saul Alinsky, Cesar Chavez, Barak Obama became iconic because of their 2nd jobs, ie. author, union leader, POTUS
Personality: Organizers need to be comfortable with:
people, not just the idea of "the people" disorder, because change is messy power, because that's makes change, not just good ideas or compassion...
Knowledge: Organizers need to know how human systems work
the change process
keys to participation
tactics that win victories
Rules for Organizers (apologies to Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals)
1. Organizing is just one form of collective action to create change. some others are:
Ask yourself: is Organizing the best strategy to solve the problem? Are your constituents ready to invest in an organization...or would a different strategy be more effective?
2. Real people are motivated by short term tangible successes. Only organizers are motivated by inspiration, empathy and compassion. Don't mistake your "belief" for the real tangible needs of your constituents.
3. Change is hard...so start small. Because members are motivated by short term and tangible outcomes, create activities that result quickly in tangible victories (both "stuff" and "symbols".) Members will tolerate longer term efforts as long as short term rewards for participation continue.
4. Finding out
what your neighbors like to do is a key step for getting and keeping
them involved.Organizing can be a lot of work, especially if your group is small. Usually people
will contribute their talents because it is enjoyable. (see tenant cartoons below)
5. Change is hard to build into individual behavior so "make it stick" practices, policies and programs.Saul Alinsky says: any tactic that drags on too long is a drag. Kurt Lewin's change model is based on "Unfreeze the system-move the discussion-Refreeze the victory"
create practices (eg. a written maintenance request system with receipts for tenants)
create policies (tenants organization's right to use common areas and post notices)