“This manual is designed to aid your work as an organizer: building campaigns that enlist grassroots power to achieve outcomes that improve the world.”
“Our objective is to lay out key ideas and practices that, in our experience, result in campaigns that succeed. This includes fundamentals of building relationships, analyzing power, and writing campaign plans.”
“We also dig into some detail on topics such as how to enter a community, enlisting volunteers and cultivating their leadership skills, connecting your campaign to a larger movement, and how to learn from success and failure to improve your skills and campaigns.”
In 2014, I spent six months volunteering with the development team at Openlands, a land conservation nonprofit. It was a fantastic experience; Kaye and Sasha showed me how to run a mail campaign with volunteers, how to use DonorPerfect software, and how to plan a successful luncheon event.
While I was there, I made it a point to visit the organization’s most recent project, the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve on Lake Michigan. Located north of Chicago in Fort Sheridan, the Preserve reminded me of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania, with its lush tree canopy and meandering walkways. I learned about invasive weed species and how removing them and planting native species instead could prevent the erosion of soil on steep sloping landscapes.
While I’ve looked everywhere for photos I took that day, I can’t find them anywhere! However, I’m not sure my iPhone photos would have done it justice. It’s the kind of place you need to visit in-person, so you can feel the coolness of the air under the trees, hear the busy sounds of birds and insects, and see the stunning lake-view vistas wrap around your periphery. My only regret was not visiting more often! Image: Openlands.org
Watershed Watch is a statewide citizens monitoring effort to improve and protect water quality by raising community awareness, and by supporting implementation of the goals of the Clean Water Act and other water quality initiatives.