Posted by Shawn Strader on Jul 16, 2012 - 05:53 PM
Today on July 16, 2012, IDEA has sent out a Call for IDEA Organizers for 2012-2013. The 2011-2012 year of organizing has come to an end, and our 2012-2013 organizing year is now finding its fresh beginning. I'm excited to say that this next year's organizing model will take quite a different shape than it has had over the past couple years. That said, I will use this space to bring you up to date on some of the changes in organizing structure that are coming. I will only briefly summarize the upcoming changes - to view the full details of what's to come for our organizing model, go on and check out the Call for IDEA Organizers for 2012-2013.
About two years ago IDEA launched a community organizing model that has helped to bring positive change to communities around the United States and Puerto Rico. From Baltimore, Maryland, to Portland, Oregon, and from New York City, to Caguas, Puerto Rico, our community organizers have been hard at work, listening, reflecting, learning, acting, helping, and engaging in their local communities. IDEA has sited more than twenty-five organizers to date, and they have had some great successes and brought us a lot of learning. To learn more about what IDEA's organizers have been up to, check out this snapshot of our current organizer team.
Our organizing model has helped to guide and support IDEA organizers in addressing the issues and needs of their own communities. To date, our model has allowed organizers to take a unique approach, based on their own knowledge and perspective as members of the communities for which they are seeking change. As a result, each of our organizers have had different approaches, working across sectors and on different areas of focus. Now, the way we structure our organizing efforts is evolving based on what we’ve learned from the past two years. We have been engaging in a practice known as Outcome Mapping which has really helped to shape IDEA's overall approach to community organizing and broad impact. You can learn about our more focused organizing work by following this link and reading our Introduction to Outcome Mapping.
Some things about IDEA organizing isn't changing too much. For instance, the five goals of our community organizing efforts are relatively the same as they have been:
What is changing is how we approach actualizing these goals. We are creating ten organizing teams that will develop, execute, and evaluate specific strategies for each team’s area of focus. The first seven teams listed are focused on developing and implementing strategies focused on specific groups IDEA counts on to make change. The remaining three teams will also have specific focus and clear goals, but are different than the above seven in that they are not focusing so much on a set demographic, but instead on actualizing specific outcomes. They are:
The place-based organizing team will be composed of leaders of local organizing teams in places where IDEA is working more deeply. The digital organizing team will follow a similar structure as the first seven teams, but their focus will be on weaving across each of the organizing teams and making sure that powerful stories are shared. And finally, an IDEC 2013 team will bring together 3-6 organizers to create relationships and design an organizing and learning space for IDEC 2013 that can make the most of the opportunity to convene people across the U.S. with international youth leaders, educators, and organizers.
The adaptations to our model of organizing allow us to clearly see which areas across the landscape we wish to focus on. With this clear vision, we can then offer guidance, support, feedback, and overall assistance to our organizers as they are working to catalyze real, meaningful, and impacting change across the spectrum of IDEA's focal areas. Along with each team's area of focus, we have identified changes and improvements we can expect to see in areas of focus that will guide our approach to change and clearly display our progress as we moved forward.
One final change to mention here is that instead of supporting individual organizers as we have in the past two years, we will turn to supporting entire teams of organizers. Each organizing team will be lead by a Senior Organizing Fellow. These leaders will be given significant autonomy and support in developing the team of organizers they think will be most effective in mapping out the area of focus, developing shared strategies, and engaging with their own networks and communities.
In order to keep this brief, I am going to end here. Before closing up shop though, I want to say that we are very excited about what's to come for IDEA Community Organizing. By supporting teams of organizers, each with clear areas of focus, accompanied by progress markers that demonstrate and guide community improvement, we believe our ability to effect change across the U.S. and Puerto Rico is going to only get stronger.
Be sure to catch a detailed glimpse of what our 2011-2012 Organizers have been up to by following this link, and as always please feel welcome to give us your feedback. We're all excited to share out as we move forward with IDEA Community Organizing, so be on the lookout for that, and for now, enjoy the rest of your summer!