Axioms for (Online) Organizers

Received a handy little book of Axioms for Organizers, by Fred Ross Sr. Great source of inspiration when you’re faced with drafting yet another mass email, or attempting to set up a Facebook group or ignite a Flickr photo petition.

Online organizing is derived from grassroots organizing, and they share many of the same tenets. A few of my favorites below.

1. An organizer is a leader who does not lead but gets behind the people and pushes.

2. Don’t waste time fighting the competition: use that time to fight the issues and win and that will take care of the competition.

3. 90 percent of organizing is follow-up.

4. A good organizer must be able to charge an issue with a supreme sense of urgency.

5. How can you move others unless you are moved yourself?

6. The organizer tries to turn each person she meets into a temporary organizer.

7. When you are tempted to make a statement, ask a question.

8. Reminding is the essence of organizing.

9. When you find “live wires” put them to work immediately. Find something they can do–any little thing–get them started and ready to do more, or you’ll lose them for the cause.

10. The way to break monotony is with motion and emotion.

11. The initial convert often determines the character of the organization.

I especially like that last one. What do you early converts look like? What inspires them? Therein lies the heart and soul of what you’re trying to build online.


5 Responses

  1. Love the list! Very relevant beyond labor unions, for event management, voluntarism, non-profits, and of course, political parties.

  2. Ughh that last one is a home run. Captures that old adage about knowing a person by the company he/she keeps. Yikes.

    Great post, Jess.

  3. Thanks, Eric, for adding value to this post on your own blog! (And thanks for the shout out)

    Qui, great point. And with the rise of user-generated content and social media, the more powerful those early adopters and core supporters become, right? Could be a good thing, or a very bad thing, depending on who you attract. 😉

  4. Fred Ross is some part of our organizing efforts at all times.. great training tool…

  5. I am a Organizer and learned from my experience as a Union worker, Organizers are not trained people that stubble into this line of work, or anyone that takes on the role of an organizer for personal gain and is quickly pegged, youhave to feel it, breath it, smell it, tasteit…. what is it ? The conviction inside that drives you and makes you see what others don’t but with every once of your energy, you show people what you see and art of it all people see with their own eyes and them too feel and the struggle for a better more unified future is promised . Not in words but shown in the sacrifices that are made to keep the fire burning with knowledge and power..

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