6 Signs of a Good Activism Organization

It's been a little while since I posted anything, so I thought I would give a rundown of the Six practices of great non-profits that was discussed at a recent meeting I attended. I believe the list initially comes from Not on Our Watch, the book by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast (though it may have changed slightly as it was passed down the line).

1. A comprehensive range of activities, from working with governments to working in the field to advocacy. Advocacy tends to be improved by in depth knowledge of the situation in the field, while humanitarian activities can be well-supplemented by working with governments to find solutions to the problems a non-profit may be addressing.

2. Harness market forces and partner with businesses.

3. Turn individuals into evangelists.

4. Build and utilize non-profit networks and alliances.

5. Adapt to changing circumstances.

6. Share leadership.

Stand performs a couple of these functions uniquely well. A couple of them don't really apply to us. And some of them I believe we could probably improve on. Stand does not have too much difficulty turning individuals into committed advocates. The national conference last year was a great example of how the organization tries to share leadership (though I believe that internal communication is still something that can be worked on to give everyone more of a sense of what people are doing). We are also fairly good at adapting to changing circumstances, which has been proven by some Stand'ers' willingness to take up the cause of civilians suffering in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now.

On the other side of the coin, we are not uniquely situated to provide humanitarian aid (clearly), although perhaps there is room to make partnerships with groups that do. And although we have some good connections with other groups in the Save Darfur movement, I think there is probably room to establish more connections with groups within Sudan itself, or around the world. Unfortunately, I don't really know about whether we have partnered with business, although the divestment campaign has been a success on this front. Anyone else care to comment?

I know it is not traditional to put an organization's internal discussions in a public forum, but Stand has always been an inclusive and interactive organization and we'd love to hear your opinions. Meanwhile, I leave you with six ways you can be an activist on your own.

1. Raise Awareness
2. Raise funds
3. Write a Letter
4. Call for Divestment
5. Join an organization
6. Lobby the government (through personal meetings/calls to your representatives)

1 comment:

Jan said...

The list actually comes from the book "Forces For Good:The six practices of high-impact nonprofits".