Search form

Ask an Advisor Answers


I am working on figuring out how to integrate my organization's grassroots community organizing work with it's tendency to chase social movements that spur. I am not sure how to balance mass mobilization with long-term engagement in a way that achieves outcomes for both approaches and dignifies the long-time activist who maintain our volunteer leadership structures. Would love any advice you may have.

Hello Adam,
I can recommend a couple of ways that you can balance the need to respond to current issues and then sustain the efforts over time. First, if your organization has not engaged in strategic planning, I would suggest you explore its potential. A strategic plan can be useful to set some specific goals for each of those areas. Preparation might include conducting an organizational assessment to determine the current state. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis of your organization can also help you to analyze your organization. The strategic plan should be sure to include input from all stakeholders and can in the end provide you with a strategy for addressing both, with agreed-upon goals and boundaries for the extent to which you will engage in each. The objective should be to determine the proportion of time and resources that will be allocated to activities for each of your goals.
Chapter 8 of The Community Tool Box presents guidance for developing a strategic plan along with Toolkit #5. Section 14 of Chapter 3 gives more information about conducting the SWOT analysis.
I would also recommend, if you haven't already, that you engage in evaluation for all activities. It will provide you the feedback needed to determine how much to continue engagement in an area. The Community Tool Box Chapters 36-39 and Toolkit #12 may be helpful for this.
The Community Tool Box Advisor

Question Date: Tue, 02/07/2017