Small Group Organizing 101 June 5, 2012
Small Group Organizing 101 The Situation: Americans have become increasingly isolated. Mainstream culture encourages us to be cut-off from each other, relying on money, corporate products, and screen time to fill our needs. Even as activists, we often act as individuals rather than in community.
Small Group Organizing 101 What is a success story from your own life?
Small Group Organizing 101 Every success story is a community success story. See Chuck Collins’ TED Talk http://bit.ly/rqe6At
Small Group Organizing 101 Why Go Against the Grain? Why Form Community?
Small Group Organizing 101 Why Go Against the Grain? Why Form Community? • Provide a supportive space for people to speak openly about their personal lives.
Small Group Organizing 101 Why Go Against the Grain? Why Form Community? • Provide a supportive space for people to speak openly about their personal lives. • It’s fun!
Small Group Organizing 101 Why Go Against the Grain? Why Form Community? • Provide a supportive space for people to speak openly about their personal lives. • It’s fun! • Caring socialization is a prerequisite to positive action
Small Group Organizing 101 “Communities are human systems given form by conversations that build relatedness. The conversations that build relatedness most often occur through associational life, where citizens show up by choice. “The small group is the unit of transformation and the container for the experience of belonging. The power of the small group cannot be overemphasized. Something almost mystical, certainly mysterious, occurs when citizens sit in a small group, for they often become more authentic and personal with each other there than in other settings.” - Peter Block, “Community: The Structure of Belonging”
Small Group Organizing 101 Two Small Group Approaches • Resilience Circles – Use/adapt a seven-session curriculum focused on mutual aid and building an economy that works for everyone in harmony with the planet • Affinity Groups – A small group of people who support each other and work together to change the world. Often embedded in a larger social movement or campaign
Small Group Organizing 101 Other Kinds of Small Groups… • Book Clubs • Movie Clubs • Potluck/Dinner Clubs • Neighborhood Associations • Religious small groups • Women’s/Men’s groups • Parents’ groups • Unemployment support groups • Heart and Soul groups (Transition)
Small group organizing 101 Poll: What kind of small group do you want to organize or join? • Resilience Circle • Affinity Group • Other • Not Sure
Small Group Organizing 101 Poll: What is your current involvement with a small group?
Small Group Organizing 101 FAQ for Organizers • Number of participants • Timing • Food • Geographic Area • Cost • Longevity
Small Group Organizing 101 INGREDIENTS: • Find a Space and Dates to Meet • Find People! A. Find an Organizing Partner B. Grow Your Group C. Find a Facilitator
Small Group Organizing 101 Find People: COMMUNICATION Using the “One-to-One” Is anyone familiar with this term?
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – A structured conversation where you authentically share your story with another person and listen to theirs. Based on your commonalities, you invite the person to work together.
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – • Tell your story.
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – • Tell your story. • Listen.
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – • Tell your story. • Listen. • What are your common concerns? Why should you work together?
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – • Tell your story. • Listen. • What are your common concerns? Why should you work together? • Here is how we can work together: _______.
Small Group Organizing 101 One-to-One – • Tell your story. • Listen. • What are your common concerns? Why should you work together? • Here is how we can work together: _______. • Expect push-back!
Small Group Organizing 101 Assumption Whomever you speak with, you will find some commonality with them. Benefits • If you make any kind of connection, you have created community in a small way, even if you do not immediately work with this person. • You will enhance your story-telling and listening skills by engaging in these kinds of conversations.
Small Group Organizing 101 “A student once asked Cesar Chavez how he organized. He said, “First, I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” “No,” said the student, “how do you organize?” Chavez answered, “First I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” “You get the point. Talking… builds community and can inspire others to action.” - The Story of Stuff website, StoryOfStuff.org
Small Group Organizing 101 • Use Base Communities • Congregations • Neighborhood Associations • Activist Networks • Transition Towns • Campaigns like Move to Amend • Start Where You Are – use the “Linking Method” • Publicize! • Think about what to call your group
Small Group Organizing 101 Your First Meeting • Be welcoming! Say hello to people as they enter • Provide food or snacks if possible • Be participatory; allow folks to get used to talking to the group • Use name tags • Facilitation Tips: http://localcircles.org/2010/01/24/facilitate-a-circle
Small Group Organizing 101 Your First Meeting: Affinity Groups A Guide to Your Affinity Group’s First Meeting: http://bit.ly/Lenede • Get to know each other • Talk about what interests you • Plan next steps
Small Group Organizing 101 Your First Meeting: Resilience Circles Using the Resilience Circle Introductory Session • 90-minute agenda designed to introduce the idea of a Resilience Circle to others • Gives people a taste of the benefits of being in a Circle without requiring a commitment • Provides some new ideas mixed with personal sharing See the Organizing Kit for more info & details - http://localcircles.org/organize-a-circle/
Small Group Organizing 101 The Resilience Circle Curriculum Session 1: Our Resilience Circle Sessions 2 – 3: Change the Story Sessions 4 - 5: Create Community Session 6: Change the Rules Session 7: What’s Next?
Small Group Organizing 101 Download the Organizing Kit http://localcircles.org/organize-a-circle Resources for Affinity Groups http://localcircles.org/?p=4911
Small Group Organizing 101 Sarah Byrnes 617.477.8630 x307 email@example.com http://localcircles.org