Wednesday, May 04, 2011

ATTEND ORGANIZING 2.0 by Charles Lenchner

Edited slightly:
You should attend Organizing 2.0 on May 10, 2011:

1. You work for an organization that does not use online tools except for some email and a low quality website. Join us for hands on training on relevant software, case studies on organizations in your situation, and suggestions for best next steps that even under-resourced groups can realistically take.

2. You work for an organization that pays for and uses online tools – just not very well. How can you make good use of what you are already paying for? Learn how to move from having an online presence, to using it effectively to achieve mission goals.

3. You work for an organization that uses online tools quite well – but only in specific pockets of your work. We’re bringing together experience labor and organizing professionals figuring out (together) what works best to win campaigns, serve members, and drive up individual engagement. Join us to learn – and to share your own knowledge.

Now for another question. Why are we doing this?

Our experience is that in many organizations the introduction of technology is disruptive. At various levels, from the top to the bottom, questions about what works and why are often suppressed out of ignorance, fear and uncertainty. The gap between status power and expertise often leads to situations where anyone who “knows” can’t decide, and anyone with enough power to decide almost certainly doesn’t “know” how to do online organizing. Exactly how many union presidents come with experience as digital strategists? How many new hires who are digital natives get to decide on budgets? We haven’t met ANY. And it shows. (We've got stories!)

Our solution is to organize. Our targets are the decision makers and front line staff of labor unions and community organizing groups fighting around economic justice issues. Victory for us means advancing an organizations’ effectiveness through the appropriate use of online technologies. We win when online organizers are hired with the power to implement real online organizing strategies, when the
right kind of consultants are consulted and heard, when resources are spent wisely, when risk averse institutions embrace experimentation.

It’s hard; many of us have to bite our tongues much of the time. If we were highly paid consultants we’d probably lose clients or put out a lot of creative ideas that are then ignored. We’re taking our available assets – expertise, community and autonomy – and using them as best we can. This is the one time a year where we get together to ‘tell it like it is.’

If you’re reading this and haven’t already embraced our vision, consider these questions:

* Are Organizing 2.0’s trainers coming from labor, community organizing groups and progressive political organizations?

* Have they done this before?

* Are important organizations endorsing and participating?

* Is the labor movement in New York doing so well that we can afford to continue with business as usual?

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