Rural Organizing Project Goals and Objectives 2008-2013
Expand rural grassroots progressive power through our human dignity groups. Power is the simple act of being able to get what you want. It’s neutral. Now what you want to do with power is not neutral. For ROP, we want power to enfranchise people. We think the best way to do that is to create local human dignity groups in every small town community that are easy to find, function as movement centers to a variety of timely causes and are seeking to grow local power that is then connected in cross county lines.
- Map and analyze the distribution of power in no less than six communities each year; resulting in campaign work plans with each of these group’s leadership team
- Evaluate each component of ROP for intentional efforts to build power.
- Discuss how power (and solidarity, discipline) are core to enacting progressive policy outcomes at all ROP gatherings like the Caucus and board retreat, and weave these concepts into ROP’s vision, current program work and communication systems: ropnets, web site, KTAs and STAND newsletter.
Support human dignity groups in expanding their capacity to effect social change. Time poverty and stressed communities means that many organizations find just a few people attempting to do too much. Without capacity, the systems to reduce repetitive work, the people trained and motivated to meet the group mission, the group does less and frustration grows.
- Assess local human dignity groups and ROP programs to ensure ROP resources are focused on member groups with an articulated and agreed-upon plan for capacity building; work with local groups to develop the three structural basics of leadership team, communication systems and organizing action plans.
- Ensure ROP staff works closely with 3-10 specific human dignity groups for defined cycles of time to assist the groups in meeting benchmarks for local capacity growth.
- Ensure at least one anchor group exists in each region.
Break rural isolation in all 36 counties. Isolation limits development of beloved community as fewer people volunteer, see the benefits of civic participation or even know how to get involved. Technology can reduce isolation especially when coupled with genuine efforts to build ongoing relationships. Such civic outreach is nothing new to human dignity groups but creating a process to pair systems with people so that we can track our outreach, is new, exciting and cumbersome. The objectives make manageable steps towards a new era of community building with an old concept of welcome wagons.
- Broaden the “Welcome Wagon” approach of human dignity groups to recruit an annually agreed number of new contacts into ongoing relationship with local group and ROP. Set, track and assess cumulative goals for repeat outreach.
- Track relationship building as an organizing tool (sit-down coffees and living-room conversations) through data base recording and reporting.
- Create plans with targeted groups to resolve barriers to movement growth, including quality communication style, skill-building on distribution, training, and one-on-one mentoring and support.
- Enhance the ability of technology to capture new and existing relationships by annually reviewing the ROP database to measure growth and make refinements.
- Use the ROP office as a hub for supporting local database development and maintaining back-up databases for local groups. Develop a statement of principles on database use, purpose and process.
- Explore use of new database technology, such as the Center for Commnity Change voter file database, to find new contacts to approach for on-going relationships that expand the political education circle of human dignity groups and ROP.
Use multi-issue organizing to promote race, class, gender justice to create policy outcomes in our communities. Policies inscribe societal commitments, how we will behave, what we can expect, what we value. Ultimately, progressive social change is institutionalized politically and culturally in the policies adopted. ROP pledges to work towards policy outcomes that use a race, class, gender justice lens to entrench democracy for all. And to prioritize the political education need for ourselves to be vigilant of dominant culture.
- Analyze and describe how ROP is unique in make-up, values and focus and our associated strategic advantages in organizing for human dignity, peace and justice so that it shapes how we proceed in ranking campaigns and issues; i.e., what do we bring to each issue that is uniquely valuable?
- Record and communicate the story of how and why ROP makes the links between issues of human dignity, peace, and social, economic, gender, and racial justice.
- Develop tools and a shared language for the ROP story to be used by all human dignity groups and insure that one anchor group per region is adept at telling the story.
- Help human dignity groups create their own stories that focus on local history, issues and attitudes; and speak meaningfully to the local community.
- Create and implement a framework, incorporating our core values and unique attributes, that ROP and local human dignity groups will use to evaluate and determine which campaigns or issues to work on and to design our programs.
Assure that ROP’s organizational health is sustainable in both leadership and funding. Creating the world we envision will require time, the patience to measure progress in decades and the commitment to imagine the organization and systems we need to keep warriors for justice active – in short, it requires seeing a plan for our own health as important as the health for the world community. ROP commits to focusing on growing our own resources so that rural Oregonians can know that an organization by and for them will be around over the long haul.
- Create an annual plan for economic sustainability that explores new foundations, incorporates fees for service, explores creative revenue options, and expands our grassroots donor base; track successes in each category through year-end; ensure annual Board review of revenue sources compared to prior years.
- Engage leadership and human dignity groups in grassroots fundraising for the ROP.
- Create a plan to better integrate among fundraising into staff workplans and program work. Promote staff members and our expanding leadership circle to meet annual, individual goals.
- Design and implement ROP’s programs to offer a range of approaches to develop leadership mastery of ROP’s organizing principles and practices; evaluate the programs and results at each annual Caucus.
- Recruit and develop 3 -5 new leaders in each District or region per year; support their growth to lead effective human dignity groups and ROP.