In February 2011, I attended an Organizing 2.0 conference. I had been grassroots organizing for several years for candidates, health care, gun control, and more. At that one-day conference my knowledge of organizing skills multiplied. I saw that for all my caring and determination, I was held back by only knowing, well, what I knew. If I were to know more - the things other people knew - I’d be better at doing what I was giving so much of myself for every day.
This year, Organizing 2.0 is joined by Camp Wellstone, Democracy for America, the Working Families Party, Citizen Action New York, Rootscamp and the Civic Engagement Table for a gathering of our favorite organizers from across New York: community organizations, non-profits, occupy groups, and campaigns.
You have big dreams, late nights and new schemes. You are on the hunt for that elusive tipping point for real legislative change or maybe even more fundamental systemic change.
Our stories are varied, our issues seem disparate. You might have made gun control legislation a reality in New York, elected your favorite candidate, or saved lives while simultaneously calling attention to a broken disaster response system.
Our candidates and organizations and affinity groups work from different political perspectives on different tactics. But all our grievances are connected. If we are fighting for justice and for a better world then we must recognize our own limitations in order to realize our true power. When we move so fast from quest to quest we can miss that those we compete against for attention can be our best teachers.
Campaigners know how to use data, test communications strategies, and empower volunteer leadership to build capacity. Occupy activists are adept at taking action quickly, using public spaces to breed new ideas, speaking truth to power, and expanding networks via social media. Fundraisers are excellent at building relationships, negotiating, messaging, and having the resources to keep our fights sustainable. I am looking forward to seeing these worlds interact on March 22-24th.
A couple of the unique tentative sessions are How to Scare Companies and Influence People Online and Mobile Phone Organizing - Basic Training and Strategies.
There is a session called Twitter for Absolute Beginners. Ever since attending a similar session at Rootscamp last year, I have been trying to ask more questions in my tweets on and facebook to make social media more “social.” What would you like to learn about Twitter? See what I did there?
Although sarcasm does not always work in organizing, it’s a big hit at organizing conferences. I think How to Ensure your Web Project is a Complete Failure will probably prove to be a big success.
Running a Successful Bowlathon, Walkathon (or another type of athon). If you make it to that session please let me know if there is such thing as a chill-on-the-beach-a-thon.
So What the Heck is this VAN Thing Anyway? As a former OFA staffer who also helped organize volunteer transportation with Occupy Sandy, I see this could go in one of two directions. Either one is full of possibility.
Democracy for America will be teaching about Running Against the Machine and Campaigning in Low Turnout Elections (are you supposed to tell voters there will be low turnout or not? Attend to find out).
In the grassroots fundraising track I see How to build a fundraising Strategy, Choosing Your Crowdfunding Platform, and Parties for Fun and Profit. That last one I am hoping will result in me getting to go to a lot more parties.
Please register early and invite your friends. Would you like to share what you know during the rootscamp/unconference portion of the weekend? Check out rootscamp google moderator site where you can make proposals or vote for others.
To find out more about attending the conference as an individual or group, please see organizing20.org/organizingnewyork and with questions email ONY@organizing20.org.