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organize other people
Multiply your efforts and your enthusiasm into action
from other people. The world is biased towards
people that collaborate for a common cause and/or
speak with one voice. The
downside of this is that other people and businesses with values
conflicting with yours collaborate to successfully change
the world in their favor. The upside, the good news, is that by organizing
other people, you change the world for the better as you see
it. There are two ways to organize other
Lead. Guide or direct a group, committee, or project.
For instance, be a team leader for a political party project. Offer
to be on the Board of Directors of a community service organization.
Perhaps start your own group, committee in an organization, etc.
Recruit. Invite people to join a cause and instigate
real-world action from them. If a cause is important to you, it's probably
important to others too, but they may need someone to spark
their interest. Your ability to recruit people to volunteer for
worthy causes is a great way to participate in the world around you.
Organize Within an Existing Group
All non-profits and political groups need volunteers. Most can
also use leadership and organization help if you can offer it. For
example, help a political campaign coordinate their volunteers or
organize fundraisers for a community service organization.
If an organization is already doing what you want
to do, you may get more results for the same number of hours organizing
and volunteering by helping an organization that already exists rather
than creating a new group. Give your favorite organizations a call
and ask how you can help them
organize or lead any project or team.
To find groups that
support your values, check the Particip8
Create Groups or Instigate Action
If no one is already doing what you want, invite people to meet either
informally or formally to do it. Start a letter-writing campaign. Lead
a community service project. Recruit strangers for a new project. Send
an e-mail at work to encourage people to write their congressperson.
Lead a group to register voters at local
Organizing others is easy and you don't need to officially create
organizations to be useful. Simply gather friends with similar interests
to work together.
If appropriate, you can agree on a group name and start talking to
people with one voice. For instance, you could influence newspapers
and other journalists by speaking as or representing an organization.
For instance, "Parents against Proposition XYZ" or "Teachers
for Campus Free Speech".
If you want to do this with little paperwork, you can "do
business as" (DBA)
an organization name even when it's really another name for you.
This is also called a Ficticious Business Name (FBN). There may be
other forms and/or requirements, depending
on your local laws. Call or show up at your town's City Hall and ask
how it works.
Although you don't have to, you can make yourself a separate organization
in the eyes of the law. Official group status has benefits
such as reducing your personal liability and making it easier to raise
money through donations and grants. Depending on what
you want to do, you could set up a non-profit organization that gets
tax benefits that can increase your ability to raise money because
you can accept tax-deductable donations. This takes extra time, meetings,
and organizational structure. For more information, read this, this,
You can buy a good book here.
California residents should buy this or this.
Note that if the group is political in nature, it might not get
Leadership and Organization Skills
Choose focused and achievable goals. Choose some
focused and achievable goals for you and for the people you are trying
to organize. To keep yourself and others engaged in a task, some goals
should have measurable success. For instance, staff a booth all weekend
for a fundraiser, or get one local newspaper to publish an article
on an issue.
Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm for a project or organization
keeps people focused and increases people's commitment and follow-through.
Stay on message, on task, and on time. Figure out
what you will do then do it. Keep people focused and on track (including
during meetings) to encourage group success.
Delegate responsibly. Figure out what you will
do and what could reasonably be delegated. Also, find appropriate
people to delegate to. Don't let people overcommit
or be coerced into signing up for something that they won't do. Know
your own limitations and don't overcommit yourself, even if you have
to limit group goals or expectations.
Motivate and reward. Figure out how to motivate others.
Most volunteers want to help a cause, but
it's still important to motivate them. One way is genuine appreciation
from leaders and others. Consider broader recognition such as thanking
a contributor in a newsletter or a group
Understand concerns. Make sure you understand problems
and concerns from everyone before creating solutions. Listen open-mindedly.
You may need to set your own beliefs aside in exchange for credibility
to lead people. People want their voice to be heard. Then, try to satisfy
some if not all of these concerns with creative win-win solutions.
Involve people early in solutions. Involve people
in decisions early on rather than "selling" your choices
after the fact. Turn them into salespeople
for final decisions, rather than accidentally creating resistance to
For other good info, read Carter McNamara's Field
Guide To Leadership and Supervision.