Community organizing trainers

ICmatch community organizing trainers can help a variety of intentional community types:

  • Ecovillages often need to approach local policymakers to advocate for zoning exceptions or policy change
  • Small farms and ranches may seek to change municipal laws to stop corporations from monopolizing horticulture thru factory farming
  • Activist communes may work to ban corporate waste dumping that affects their entire community

What is community organizing?

These can also help an IC to strategize about organizing a neighborhood-wide network of sharing economy projects.

  • Making use of the voluntary grassroots efforts of a community’s members acting jointly to achieve an economic or other benefit
  • Generating a collective ideology-based “voice” (consensus message)
  • Developing a coherent strategy for building power and resources to make specific social changes
  • Helping those affected by a problem to speak for themselves
  • Teaching institutional leaders how to build relationships of trust across racial, faith, economic and geographic lines through individual, face-to-face meetings

Community organizer funding strategies

Organizing is often in the service of disadvantaged groups who are unable to fund their efforts thru dues or donations. They rarely receive funding from government since their activities often seek to contest government policies. Grantors are more likely to fund service activities and shy away from groups with contentious approaches or controversial aims. ICmatch can help community organizers to pool resources and reduce expenses, freeing up time for organizing work.

Community organizing strategies for recruiting members

The following is in part a summary from the Wikipedia “Community organizing” article:

  • Protest: generating a sense in the larger community that they have the power of consensus, which may enable them to negotiate with powerful institutions or groups
  • Doorknocking: organizers go door to door to inform and draw individuals into an organization
  • Block-club organizing: two sides of a street on a block are organized into a club, or tenants in a building are organized, to divide and clarify workloads of members
  • House meetings: a series of house meetings are held in a community, leading to a community congress to form an organization
  • Sociocracy approach: problems located across a particular community have local people acting toward solutions, then leaders are brought together in a larger organization to strategize and work toward coherence
  • Coalition building: Teaming up with any organization that has similar goals

What community organizing is not

The following is a condensed version of the Wikipedia “Community organizing” article in the section on “What community organizing is not.” The following activities may be similar to or part of community organizing, but do not alone qualify as community organizing:

  • Activism: engaging in social protest but may lack a coherent strategy for building power or for making specific social changes
  • Mobilizing: gathering to effect a specific social change (such as a march or rally) but without a long-term plan
  • Advocacy: speaking for others who are deemed unable to represent their own interests, which may happen without including helping those affected to speak for themselves
  • Social movement building: coordinating a diverse collection of individual activists, local and national organizations, advocacy groups, multiple and often conflicting spokespersons, held together by relatively common aims but not a common organizational structure
  • Legal action: if a social action strategy is designed primarily around a lawsuit, it can push a grassroots struggle into the background and benefit only the defendant(s)
  • Direct service: providing services thru civic engagement can sometimes hinder community organizing if powerful groups threaten the “service” component in an effort to prevent collective action
  • Community development: improving communities through a range of strategies, usually directed by educated professionals working in government, policy, non-profit, or business organizations, even if it includes a community participation component and seeks out existing community strengths
  • Nonpartisan dialogues about community problems: meeting to discuss community problems, open to a diverse range of opinions, out of which some consensus may be reached, but lacking a team with skills to implement solutions