We’ve been talking a bit internally at Groundwire here about how to define effective social change organizing. Here’s what we have so far:
Effective social change organizing creates relationships in order to build measurable power and wields that power to achieve specific, significant behavioral, policy or political outcomes.
How does that work for you?
We like that it is succinct and clearly connects relationships, power and tangible outcomes. But it also raises questions of what we might mean by “measurable power” and “specific, significant outcomes.”
Any organizing campaign or organizer will need to figure out what measures of power are most meaningful for their context, but in general, we think that power is most often measurable in terms of “I can motivate X people to take action Y, which results in Z.”
“Specific and significant” outcomes will also vary greatly across campaigns, but again, we want to emphasize how important it is to be able to articulate these outcomes in specific and measurable terms. Some examples could include:
- Winning an election
- Passing legislation or administrative policies
- Measure shifts in public opinion or behavior
If your “big hairy audacious” goal will take years to achieve, that’s OK, but you need to be able to define some specific shorter-term outcomes to let you know whether you’re on track.