Originally published on my friend Will’s blog, March 23, 2008.
To be organized is to do the following:
1. Keeping your word. When you say you will do something, do it. This will give you a good reputation and inherently further your goals.
2. Hard work. Cliche as it is, hard work will get things done. And in the world of activism where it feels like not much gets done, this is a crucial attribute.
3. Coordination. Stay in contact with people and coordinate your efforts. Avoid duplicate tasks and work out a system by which everyone can be working toward a goal, and know what they need to do to make sure the whole group gets it done.
4. Community. Help, protect, care for, and love each other. No other facet of being organized will motivate people more than being a part of a strong caring community. It will also provide an unparalleled sense of security that is very hard to find in life.
5. Courage. Acknowledge and accept your fears, but do not let them interfere with your activities. Change takes the courage to fight (ever non-violently) despite the seemingly insurmountable odds. Of course, courage must be partnered with understanding and vision to prevent brave but pointless acts.
6. Understanding. To be organized, we need to understand the cause and effect relationships or our actions, and how our actions will impact different audiences. Understanding other people, and how they think is also crucial. Also, a general understanding of the world is important. Overall, the more knowledge and problem solving skills you can fit into your brain, the better. It is much better to build a sturdy net to catch fish than to try to catch them with your hands.
7. Mass numbers. To truly be organized, you need lots of people working toward a common goal. They do not necessarily have to all be coordinated, but it helps.
8. Planning. Use all of your understanding to plan a campaign to actually reach the goal. Make contingency plans and make sure everyone knows what the plan is.
9. Love. By far the most important. This one encompasses everything we seek to change in the world. It can remake our entire world if we have the courage to embrace it. Love everyone, and only denounce actions. Forgive and give whenever there is the chance.
There is a strength to this outline that may not be obvious at first. It will bring people in by the droves. Having an effective and loving group actively seeking change, one that fulfills its members deep need to care for each other will be an earth-shaking movement that will fundamentally remake civilization. I have tried to outline my view on organizing, that couples the “professionalism” of corporate America with the love, courage and community that I have found to be amazingly effective at motivating and improving people.
I hope to see a movement that embraces all 9 factors, because, I believe, if I do see it, then we will be able to heal the world.