Originally published in January 2022
Recently, I was part of a facilitation and coaching team for a multi-month training program for new organizers in the education space. As a training team, together we have over 150 years of organizing experience. What I learned from that team . . . Wow. Can’t be found in any book.
Over six months of the training, I heard us share many traditional and not so traditional organizing truisms.
I call them “Organizing Rules to Live By.”
With appreciation and thanks to the Community Organizer Training Program facilitation team, here are the top 10, with attribution where appropriate.
- Iron rule: Never do for someone what they can do for themself. (Industrial Areas Foundation)
- “The mark of a good organizer is the attention she pays to the smallest details.” (Fred Ross, Sr.)*
- People are experts in their own lives.
- We can’t be afraid to talk about power.
- Solutions should be led by those closest to the problem.
- “Organizing is transformational.” (Cathy Sarri, my first organizing supervisor)
- People do things when we ask them.
- Never thank people for doing something that benefits them. (**See “Pro-Tip” below.)
- “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” (Frederick Douglass)
- Organizing is bringing people together to build power.
You will also see these rules on social media.
Post your own organizing rules to live by in the comments!
*Yes. Fred Ross said “she.”