Archives for Organization

Five Tools for Conservative Grassroots Organization

grassroots organizationGrassroots organizing is no different than pretty much anything else in life.  If you’re serious about doing anything, you need to make sure you have the right tools to get the job done.

Here’s a handy list of five of the most basic tools you should have at your disposal if you’re going to try and build a grassroots organization at the precinct level that can truly have an impact on the things you care about.

1) A list of all registered voters in your precinct

It’s hard to identify and organize if you don’t know who the registered voters are, (or aren’t), and in order to do that you need a recent copy of the voter registration list for your precinct (or whichever precinct you’re working in).

You can get this from your local election (or voter registration) board.

2) “Prospect” lists

Just like in sales, you make your job of finding the people you’re looking for easier if you have a “warm” list of prospects.

Conservative issue petitions, surveys or membership lists from conservative churches make great “prospect” list for potential conservative activists and voters.  They will make it easier for you to identify registered (and unregistered) conservatives by cross-referencing them with voter registration lists.

The result is that you know who lives in which precincts, and who is registered to vote and you could possibly approach about getting involved in your efforts.  You also find out who isn’t registered, so you can get them registered in the future.

3) Blank voter registration forms

Call your local voter registration office and get copies of your state’s voter registration form, (you may even be able to download it online, depending on where you live). You want enough copies for all of those unregistered conservatives you identified from your “prospect” lists.

If people aren’t registered, they can’t vote.  And if they don’t vote, they don’t count.

4) A map of the precinct

Having a map makes it easier to get an idea of who is where and how to get to them. You should be able to get this from your local planning commission or voter registration office, (or if not, they will probably know where you can).  Try to get one with street lines and names overlaid on it, to make it easier for you to use.

Remember, precincts are the building blocks of all other election districts, so you want to make sure your efforts revolve around individual precincts.

5) A political events calendar

Identifying conservatives and organizing them is one thing, but it is also important to keep them informed.  Set up a calendar to keep track of the dates of party primaries, general elections, special elections, school board, local council elections and meetings, as well as local political party meetings.

Let your people know what’s going on and how they can get involved.

Bottom line: do the basics

This is just a basic list, but that’s the point.  It’s “basic”.  Don’t get too distracted by anything that would keep you from focusing on the basics until you get them done.

(Find out more about grassroots organization in my training series!)

Three methods for conservative grassroots organization

grassroots organization

Whether you’re organizing for a campaign, a group or just an issue you care about, there are three areas where it pays for conservatives to focus their time.  And each area has different benefits and challenges.

1) Precinct Organization

Organizing by precinct is more geographically focused and as a result can have a more direct and greater potential impact on a specific area.

Political power in American flows from the precinct level upward, because precincts are the building blocks of the American political system.

Virtually every election district, from the school board on up, is a combination of various precincts.  They’re like the small pieces in a bigger jigsaw puzzle, which means that if you’re organized in the precincts you can influence an election – or have influence on an elected official who is interested in running for re-election.

2) Church Organization

Organizing in churches allows you to work with people you’re probably more familiar with, and are likely to have more in common with.  As a result, you may be able to get things moving more quickly.

Since a typical church’s membership may be spread across multiple precincts, focusing on churches also has the benefit of helping you “sow seeds” of activism in more than one area, (which means church organization can quickly feed “precinct organization”).

3) Online Organization

Online organization can exist on its own or as a compliment to church and/or precinct organization, (ex. online “groups” via Yahoo, Google, Ning or Facebook; or online petitions and campaigns at AktNow – or a combination).

And when you organize online, you make it easier to share information with others and for others to find you.

Online organization is also a great way to being to build a list of supporters that you can contact and keep informed.

Where to Focus Your Time?

In order to determine where you should focus your time and efforts, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What specifically do I want to impact or accomplish? Is it more educational and/or issue related, or is it more political?
  • Where do I know the most people who think like I do, and who are willing to help? (Hunt where the ducks are!)

Whichever type of organization you plan to focus on, remember that it all comes down to people. Politics is people.  And when you get enough people together with a common purpose, you’ve got grassroots organization. 

Real grassroots organization leads to political impact!

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(You can find tips like this and much more in my “Grassroots 101: Grassroots Training Series“.)

How conservatives can impact the political system

keys to impacting political systemSo, you want to make a difference in the political system on the things you care about?  But how should you go about it?

When it comes to being effective politically, there’s no great mystery.  But there are some time tested basics to successfully impacting the political system.

Generally speaking, there are three keys to impacting the political system:

  1. Identify and organize your supporters
  2. Inform them
  3. Mobilize them

Without identified people that are willing to help, you have no organization.

Without information, people will not know how to proceed, let alone when, where or why.

And without mobilization towards a given objective, an organization lacks a reason to exist and will quickly fade away.

These three simple steps constitute the fundamentals of successful grassroots politics at every level and can help you build a successful local organization from the ground up.  Embrace them and you’ll be on the path to achieving your goals.

So how do you get started?

Your first order of business is to identify a small core group of people who share your views and a vision for what you want to do.

Think of it as a sort of “steering committee”.  When small groups come together and direct their energies in pursuit of a common goal, leverage and synergies are achieved.  They begin to feed from one another and keep each other enthused.

Get together and discuss the different areas each of you would like to focus on and what you believe is important. Develop a consensus and then decide who will do what.

Then pool your resources.

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Get more tips like these in my “Grassroots 101 Training Series“.  Check it out!