Once you have formed a group, it is important to decide upon a group structure. Your group structure will determine how you make decisions, how your organization will function, and it should help insure participation by all of your members. We suggest forming group structures for (1) organizational work (2) meetings, and (3) decision making.
For organizational work, we suggest a committee/working group system, in which members are matched with working-groups based upon the best fit for their abilities/ interests.
We suggest that the group select two of your most committed members to become co-chairs for the Affiliate/ group (pause before choosing two older men to be your co-chairs - consider who else might be suited to the leadership of your group. Remember that leads set the tone for your group. Having co-chairs with diverse backgrounds and skills is a good idea).
Co-chair have the responsibility of introducing new members, setting meeting agendas, monitoring committee progress, performing inter-committee communication, distributing organizational reports, and keeping committees focused on larger goals/ insuring progress. Committee members are responsible for brainstorming ideas, creating reports, executing actions toward organizational goals, and crafting work products.
Form should follow function, so be sure you're not creating too many working groups or making needless work and meetings for your members. You can always expand your working-groups as your numbers and activities grow.
Some examples of working-groups can include:
- Coordination: Set agendas for meetings; facilitate internal communication between meetings; develop processes to engage new people and keep membership active.
- Media / PR: Create and distribute press releases; Answer media questions; Social Media – Twitter and Facebook; Develop relationships with local media outlets/ organizations.
- Events: Event Coordination; Meetings/ Teach-ins; Fundraisers; Protests; Press conferences; House parties.
- Outreach: Build coalitions with the community; Obtain endorsements from prominent community members; Public education; Tabling / petition gathering.
- Web/Tech: Manage web page on MTA site; Post announcements and events; Track volunteers; Generate email announcements for larger supporter list.
- Resolutions: Resolution strategy development; Speak/ strategize with local politicians; Understand government/ legal processes.
It is a good idea to select a coordinator, or co-coordinators of each working group. These folks are responsible for setting working-group meeting agendas, communication between meetings, and communicating the plans and needs of the working group to the larger group to be sure this is transparency and accountability. Sometimes the coordinators of all the working-groups make the best people to serve on your Coordination Working Group so that the Coordination group has someone from each of the other committees who can help make sure agendas and larger group strategy matches up with the work of their working group.
Whatever structure you choose, be sure to build in mechanisms to ensure that your leadership is transparent and accountable to the larger group, and that you're creating ways for more people to share the load and develop as leaders so that everything doesn't fall to a small group of people.
- Consensus Decision Making: lays out decision-making structure and process for your meetings
- Tips for Good Meetings: roles and structure for meetings
- Model Group Structure and Decision-Making Processes: an working example of how to structure an MTA group