Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The idea is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results when groups of people gather to complete the same action across the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.
WHY THIS ACTIVITY?
To build a grassroots justice movement with heart, we need to keep in touch with the people we meet and offer them opportunities to get more involved. A group’s database is a critical tool for keeping track of contacts so you can mobilize the largest possible number of people for social change.
This spring presents a great opportunity for group and movement growth. Many groups are getting out the vote for the May school board and special district elections. Others are planning community-wide events such as Pride, or tabling at the seemingly endless events packed into our short Oregon springs and summers. We are collectively putting thousands of hours into these projects and meeting a lot of new people along the way who support our vision for a just democracy and human dignity for all!
These are the folks we want to stay connected with after the energy of the actions and events that drew them to us fade away. The purpose of the May KTA is to shore up those lists of volunteers and voters for the long haul!
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?
This month’s activity is to complete your list of community supporters. The first step is to think through all the people who should be on that list and then decide the best way to contact each one. Do you have sign-in sheets from tabling events? Do you have a smattering of contact info across group leaders’ phones? Have you been friending people on Facebook and don’t have their email or phone number? Put those on a list!
Once you have the list, fill in the holes with mailing addresses, phone numbers, and emails. Remember, in building a broad-based, community-supported movement for change, names are gold. And names along with complete contact information are priceless!
HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
- Locate the relevant lists for your organizing. You might get started right away because you need it to get the word out about an early June Pride event, or you might sit down with your team after the May election to capture all the details about the enthusiastic people who you met knocking on doors.
- Once you have the various lists together (mental, digital, or on paper), create one centralized list (AKA a database). If you want to store this in Google Drive, you can make a copy of our template here.
- Examine those lists and find out what information is missing. If you have a really long list, you may want to prioritize it and focus on the folks who have been most interested or engaged first.
- Find a volunteer (or a few) who will go through the list and research online to find the full contact information for these folks. Does your county have workable online yellow pages? Can you send direct messages to everyone in your Facebook group? Could you go back to the doors of folks you just met to follow up?
- To finish fleshing out your database, check out our tool: Your Database as an Organizing Tool.
- Now you have built a database of progressives in your community! This is just the beginning. You are now ready to build upon the momentum of this May primary election, make sure your whole community knows about the summer events you are hosting, and continue strengthening your group for the long haul!
- Meeting new people coming to your meetings, actions, or events? Designate someone from your group to be part of the “welcome wagon” and greet everyone who comes with a warm welcome and an invitation to sign up! That way you can keep in touch with people you meet after the event. You can use this template sign-in sheet as a starting point!