Training Tuesday with #org20: Getting Through the Bureaucracy

originally posted by Will Urquhart at Sum of Change

This week, we have something new for our Training Tuesday series. We still have plenty of videos left to come from Democracy for America’s Campaign Academy, but a couple weekends back, we attended the Organizing 2.0 conference in New York. This conference was a unique opportunity for activists to learn about new media and online organizing from some of the greatest online organizers around.

Today, we present the first session we attended on navigating the bureaucracy of organizations and figuring out how to fit new media into existing organizational structures. Our panelists today are Charlie Albanetti of Citizen Action of New York, Elana Levin of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and Michael Whitney of Fire Dog Lake. A lot of their advice today boils down to one thing: you need to have a policy for this. That is, you cannot just plop your organization online and expect everything to run efficiently. You will need to sit down with the leadership and anyone else involved online and build a policy for online engagement. This is a process over time, not a Friday meeting over lunch.

Today’s training is all bout opening the door. How do you maneuver through the bureaucracy of well entrenched community organizations to provide the conditions necessary to succeed with new media? Not everyone gets to be the Obama campaign with a boss that gets and appreciates online activism (and even they had to fight through a lot of bureaucracy to build their online organization).

Our panelists will provide us with some helpful tips on how to manage your organization’s transition into the new media world. There are all these fun and powerful tools available online, but they are useless to you if your organization is not prepared to accept or understand them.

One of the more significant changes you will encounter as you transition your organization from 1.0 to 2.0 is that what was once primarily one-way communication is now heavily two-way (or three, four, five, six thousand…. etc)

Now that you have made it clear that what happens online is very different from traditional forms of organizing, you need to figure out how to include something so overarching and so necessarily flexible into the rigid structure of an organization:

An interesting conversation was sparked by a question about what to do with a boss that not only accepts online activism, but wants to play a large role, maybe too large a role…

And our last video for today, certainly not our least, is about when to train other staff to use online tools and when not to:

That’s all for today. Check back next Tuesday at 6:00pm EST for another session of Training Tuesday!