Steps in community organising Wind Project Community Organizing by TimlynnBabitsky (2008)
Common mistakes In choosing an issue on which to focus resources, the most common mistakes are: Taking on too many issues at one time Choosing too complex an issue Choosing the wrong issue for the resources available Ignoring other groups working on the same issue Ignoring the larger picture Failing to prioritize Failing to agree on which issue to pursue Confusing passion for the need to plan
Phase One — Choose an issue, map an agenda Step 1: Identify greatest interest and potential for success Step 2: Select one key inspiring issue Step 3: Research issue for the big picture Step 4: Map issue space to identify agenda
Research questions What is the history of this issue and the underlying issues that led to it? How much of the conflict around this issue can be attributed to misinformation? What are the underlying goals and interests of those who support or oppose this issue? What policies support or constrain this issue? Whose interests are being met if nothing changes [or if it does]? Is there conflict around this issue? Is it latent, developing, or fully escalated? Is the conflict ripe for resolution or is it in the best interest of those involved to continue with [or protect] the status quo?
To Map an Issue: Define the issue precisely. List all the elements directly involved in this issue List other elements that are related to this issue, but not directly List other issues that are peripherally related Identify positive and negative elements and peripheral issues
Step 5: Map the issue network Step 6: Map social networks Step 7: Approach each person as an ally Step 8: Select potential allies for agenda Step 9: Discover currencies of each ally Step 10: Identify advantages and assets
Opinion Leaders Every issue has at least one opinion leader. Every agenda affects at least one stakeholder. Every organization — hierarchical or flat — has at least one information/access gatekeeper. The opinion leader holds information and expresses it, gaining some measure of power and respect. The stakeholder stands to gain or lose something in an agenda. The gatekeeper allows access, or not, to special information, people, or places. … Gatekeepers are often quite powerful although their public role may make them seem only marginal. Map the issue network of opinion leaders, stakeholders, and gatekeepers. Identify the key people surrounding the issue Draw connections that exist between members of this issue network Identify supporters and resisters in this network Highlight key people to consider approaching to move the agenda forward
Social networks [O]ne’s network of direct connections and connections of two degrees of separation ["friend of a friend"] are critical to successful advocacy. Map social networks of personal connections: Draw maps of the direct connections in the social networks of the activists working on this agenda Identify those direct connections who may be potential allies Identify any second-degree connections who may support this agenda
Allies To select the potential allies for an agenda, consider the following questions: What resource does he/she control? How dependent is the agenda on that resource? Des a relationship with that person already exist or must a new one be built? How much time, effort or other resources will likely be required to ain cooperation? Are there alternative others? If this person is likely a barrier, is there a direct connection that can help to influence him/her? Can he/she be reached at two degrees of separation? Keep in mind that others in the issue network, who may not be potential allies, are important to your advocacy agenda: Who should be kept informed of progress? Who should be avoided entirely?
Influence Without Authority In Influence Without Authority [Allan Cohen and David Bradford, 2005], currencies are grouped into five categories: Inspiration-related currencies include having a chance to do important things and having the opportunity to do what is “right” by a higher standard Task-related currencies include providing resources, assistance, support, and information related to the ally’s own agendas Position-related currencies include recognition, visibility, reputation, importance, and access to contacts Relationship-related currencies include understanding, closeness, friendship, emotional support, personal backing, acceptance, and inclusion Personal-related currencies include appreciation, indebtedness, ownership of and influence over important tasks, self-esteem, self-identity, and comfort
Allies To understand the currencies of a potential ally, try these strategies and questions: Be a good listener during conversations; take notes Pay attention as others discuss your potential ally; take notes On what agendas is he/she working? What can you do to help advance their work? What are their interests? What do you have in common? What do they value? About what do they care passionately? Who is important to them? Do you have any relationships in common?
Phase Three — Propose an agenda Step 11: Present a win-win agenda Step 12: Frame the message to generate interest
Phase Four — Expand the network Step 13: Use all media channels to promote the agenda Step 14: Helping others expands your resources Step 15: Hard work builds credibility and incremental success Step 16: Develop plan A, and alternative plans Step 17: Learn from others