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Alternatives to forming an organization

What can you do when forming an organization won't work?
Why forming an organization might not work...

1. No consensus. If there's not a critical mass of tenants who want to form an organization, then you're beating your head against a brick wall. A minimum that you need is a core group (true believers) that's about 10% of the property; and another 30% who will participate in an organizational activity (attending a meeting, voting in an election, or signing a petition.)

2. There's only one issue. If there's just one problem that folks want to work on, don't spend a lot of time making an organization. Just have an ad hoc committee, task force, or 'movement'.

3. There's only one leader. If everyone is looking to a single person to lead and do all the work, forget about organizing.

4. Tenants lack social skills because of education, disability or lack of experience. Maybe focusing on helping with communications (newsletter, social/educational activities) would help.

5. Tenants lack time to meet and plan because of family, school, work obligations.


Remember the ladder of engagement.  No one begins as a committed member...make it easy to join and build engagement



 What are alternatives to maintaining a tenants organization?

Become an engaged activist By fighting your own battles for things that improve everyone else's lives you can bring good changes for the whole community.

Manage a newsletter, website or facebook page for your neighbors. You can build consensus around a message or issue that you share with your neighbors. Start a newsletter that you can post or distribute (get management permission). HINT: you can be forceful without calling people names or inciting violence.

Organize social/educational activities that engage your neighbors. Turn the community room into a mini-university by inviting speakers on topics of interest to your neighbors. Turn the community room into an auditorium by showing movies, inviting entertainers (musical groups), and staging game nights. NOTE: be sure you get management permission and understand their guidelines for use of community space. Here's more project ideas.

Create an alliance or coalition. If your core group is too small to be effective, maybe form with other groups that have similar interests. The very first community organizations were associations of social groups and clubs which came together periodically to work on common concerns. 

Join a different group. All through your community there are voluntary associations working on issues that you care about. Find and join one. Learn more about the issue and develop skills and contacts so you are ready when your neighbors want to take on issues of their own.