To meet or surpass off-season election voter turnout, which in 2011 in Salt Lake City was between 20-24% depending on if you are talking about primaries or general. If we achieve above that, we have established a threshold exceeding a real election. Goal of vote margin is a symbolic 2-to-1 in our favor (because we would need 2/3 of senators/reps to approve an amendment).
- City Council and MTA Salt Lake begin Opinion Question dialogue
- Official request submitted to Recorder to initiate opinion question process
- Working groups begin to form
- Kick off event planning begins
- City Council dialogue continues, pursuing MTASLC demands
- OC identifies campaign timeline and post campaign possibilities
- Working groups necessary for campaign have clearly defined goals, timelines, and resources ready in place for volunteer recruitment.
- Mass email to listserve to inspire, recruit and promote event
- Deadline for City Recorder to publish Opinion Question title, number, and content in 2 newspapers and online (state and city websites)
- Outreach materials updated, yard signs prepared, tabling occurring at events to recruit and promote event. Banner actions and press coverage.
- Prepare 500 word pro-campaign language for opinion question
- Kick off event
- City Council dialogue intensifies, preparing for council resolution on time and manner.
- Outreach continues, including canvassing at targeted locations where yard signs will be most visible. City Council supporters recruited to help canvass in their districts. Community Council outreach, and any other creative outreach actions, street theatre, etc.
- Deadline for Council to pass resolution establishing time and manner of voting. Use as press opportunity and show up in mass for vote.
- Final vote push, including possible events and antics, “freedom week” etc.
Strategy Working Group
- Prepare overall campaign goals, strategy, timeline, and resources necessary. What does the post-campaign look like? Where is this headed and what are those goals, strategies, timelines, and resources? How do the working groups fit into it? Think big picture.
- Manage funds, coordinate volunteers, facilitate meetings
- Prepare mass email to listserv to update supporters and promote event. Request volunteer needs from other working groups to include in email, especially Events. Followup with other email blasts. Phone bank.
- Keep social media updated, respond to email inquiries
- Receive press training
- Draft a press strategy, including kick off event, notable city council actions, and the opinion question vote. Include goals, dates, and resources needed, especially volunteer roles.
- Issue press releases, submit event details, identify MTA spokespersons.
- Prepare press info sheet, including list of press contacts and submission deadlines, press release template and MTA talking points.
- Research expected opposition arguments and form counter arguments.
- Prepare pro-campaign 500 word info for city mailer.
- Submit op-eds, letters to editors.
(City Council WG)
- Prepare demands for council of the city opinion question process.
- Identify key council supporters for use in press releases, event participants, canvassing, etc.
- Ongoing dialogue with Council Council for time/manner of voting.
- Draft City Council strategy, including key moments where public pressure may be necessary (in between council working sessions when the time/manner are discussed, during the actual council resolution vote establishing the time manner, during the council vote approving the opinion question results, and the Big Ask). Identify goals, dates, and resources needed, especially volunteer roles.
- Research options for the Big Ask. Assuming we have a successful vote, what leverage does that provide us via the council for meaningful reform measures? Legal memorandum, corporate campaign contribution limits in city races, etc.
- Organize letter writing campaigns to city officials, and mass public turnout at key council meetings.
- Consider broadening this working group to include other levels of government outreach, including the mayor's office, other city councils (in the event of a successful opinion question vote), state reps and senators, etc.
- Draft event strategy, including key moments during campaign, including kick off event, events during voting time, etc. Identify goals, dates, and resources necessary, especially volunteer roles.
- Identify venue, content, timing, and resources needed for events. Handle event logistics.
- Coordinate with other groups to make sure events are well publicized and attended.
- Draft campaign outreach goals, dates, and resources necessary, especially volunteer roles.
- Yard sign design and distribution.
- Prepare OC orientation sheet for new participants.
- Update flyers for tabling/events. Create new flyers for promotion.
- Build relationships with other groups.
- Identify tabling opportunities and recruit volunteers, and implement.
- Identify canvassing opportunities, recruit volunteers, and implement.
- Form corporate power and democracy study groups to deepen analysis.
- Develop short and long presentations for schools and community groups.
- Develop orientation workshop for new volunteers.
- Research and build lists of classrooms and groups that we can present to.
- Train people to do presentations.
- Staff presentations.
(Outreach - Coalitions Sub group)
- Build list of potential ally organizations and people.
- Reach out to groups to educate and discuss collaboration.
- Get endorsements for the campaign.
- Trade teach-ins to build connections between issues.
This campaign plan provided by Move to Amend Salt Lake City. Contact them directly with questions.
Build Relationships on Common Ground
Too often organizing is viewed as simply a way to get people to do something we want. It should not be surprising why some communities and organizers resist this disrespectful method. To lead, we must first build relationships of trust - and the ability to find common ground is the core of such relationships.
Common ground may be found in a number of ways - shared issues, interests, or values - but discovering that which is shared is essential.
While this may seem obvious, taking the time and consideration to listen to other folks is a quality of leadership that is often forgotten. Good listening is more than just waiting for your turn to talk; it means that as a leader, you take the time to ask what others think and respond to their answers.
While you might be the person in a position to lead, others may have much to contribute. By genuinely listening to the thoughts and concerns of others, those folks will be more likely to respond to you in the future. But more importantly, they will have a chance to see their ideas in action and develop their own leadership potential.
As a leader, it is tempting to keep information about the campaign close to the vest, so that you can maintain your power. However, empowering leadership means intentionally building the power of others.
As a leader, it is important that you share information for a number of reasons - to make volunteers and staff feel like they can see the big picture and understand what they are a part of, to demonstrate trust and accountability, and, practically, to ensure that what you are working to achieve can continue in your absence or after your tenure. The more that volunteers and other folks can see the "big picture" and understand why they are doing what they're doing, the more they will respect your leadership and the cause they are working to achieve.
Give Others Responsibility Matched with their Skills
The next step after sharing information about the campaign is to delegate responsibilities and tasks. An empowering leader always finds an emerging leader to complete tasks that are well matched with their skills and interests, in order to build experience and leadership potential in others. By giving others responsibility, you communicate that, as a leader, "I know you can get this done." You provide an opportunity to excel.
It is critical to match these responsibilities with someone's interests and skills. It is not appropriate to ask someone with limited mobility to lead a team of canvassers going door-to-door. Equally, it is not appropriate to ask someone who has demonstrated an ability to get things done quickly and a desire to take on more responsibility to continue doing a repetitive or menial task. As a leader, you must assess the skills and interests of others and delegate responsibilities - while maintaining accountability and making sure that it gets done. And of course, giving credit generously when credit is due!
Make Yourself Accessible
Empowering leaders make accessibility and transparency a priority. Whether this means holding regular office hours, having a public presence in a community, or simply regularly returning phone calls and emails, accessibility requires an intention to be available to others. Transparency, too, requires that attention be paid to letting others know when decisions have been made, and why.
Warmth and openness can go a long way, but being an accessible leader requires both an open attitude and strategies for making it known that the door is open. Holding regular office hours means little if those office hours are not widely publicized and people are not actively encouraged to attend.
Another aspect of accessibility is remembering to recognize successes and celebrate victories. A strong leader understands how to offer praise and encouragement when tasks are done well, and constructive feedback about how they could be improved. Remember, an empowering leader intentionally builds the leadership of others - if someone else accomplishes a success, make sure that they enjoy the spotlight, and not you. Praise and encouragement are not only complimentary - they are educational as well. By teaching what was done well, you encourage future good work and success.
When thinking about how you communicate with others as a leader, think about what defines true authority. Is it a title or position, or credibility within the community?
An empowering leader derives credibility not from merely achieving a position of power but by working in that position to gain the trust and credibility to lead from members of the community.
This is what real authenticity is about. Being able to communicate that authenticity means that you are able to "reflect the reality of people's lives in word and deed," as defined by the Harwood Institute. It means that you can deliver a message with authority because you have been given that authority by a broad and deep group of people from the bottom up, not from the top down.
Borrowed heavily from WellstoneAction.org – thanks!
- The purpose of a "Non-profit" organization is to do things other than making money
- Non-profit org is not expected to conduct its activities so that it does not have a "profit," (i.e. income that exceeds expenses) – excess income cannot individually benefit officers, directors or members.
- You may reimburse members for expenses incurred while conducting MTA business.
- Good idea to check with a legal and/or tax professional in your state for more info to determine if you need to make additional filings (if raising larger amounts of $)
- “Nonprofit” does to necessarily = “tax exempt.” Becoming exempt from taxes requires considerable work and approval of that status by state tax agencies and the federal IRS.
- Not same thing as being a federally recognized nonprofit org. That requires application to the IRS.
Obtaining a Tax ID/EIN Number
- Contact the IRS to request Form SS-4: “Application for Employer Identification Number.”
- You can order tax forms by phone at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
- Or apply online: https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp
- IRS does not require you to be incorporated to get a Tax ID Number/EIN.
- Fill in the application as a “nonprofit organization.”
Opening a Bank Account
- A minimum balance
- A copy of the group minutes of your business meeting that includes the name of your organization
- A list of all officers of the organization and anyone else who may be a cosigner on the account, including some form of ID such as driver’s license and Social Security Number on each person.
- A Tax ID Number/ Employer ID Number for the organization.
- You may use the social security number of a group member as the Tax ID for the group’s bank account.
- You may open a checking account (noninterest bearing) under the treasurer’s social security number with a Doing Business As (D/B/A) name on the account (such as “Humboldt Move to Amend”).
- This could have tax implications for the treasurer – depends how much money is raised and spent.
- Number should not be "loaned" or otherwise used by any other group, or person.
- Maintain accurate records and paper trail. Examples may include minutes of business meetings, any changes in officers, and financial records including receipts.
- If you change your address after you receive your EIN you must notify the IRS of the new address -- use Form 8822, “Change of Address.”
- If the group should ever close, the group officers need to cancel their Tax ID Number/EIN with IRS by written notice when the bank account closes.
- MTA groups are "non profit" in their financial behavior but they are not automatically "tax exempt”.
- Tax exemption status is expensive/complicated process that involves legal obligations and ongoing responsibility. Can also limit your activities in terms of lobbying or electioneering.
- MTA national is currently seeking our own 5013c and 501c4 status. We will keep our affiliates informed about what this means for you. In the meantime, we do not recommend seeking tax exempt status for individual affiliates.
- Once you raise or spend about $5,000 we suggest you consult with a tax professional concerning what state or federal tax requirements apply to your group. We can help you if you have questions.
State Sales Tax
- Sale of literature or other items may be trigger responsibility for paying sales tax on those items to your state.
- You can give away materials or accept voluntary donations to avoid triggering this requirement. (Offer T-Shirts or other similar materials to donors/members as a thank you gift.)
- If in doubt, we encourage you to ask other groups in your community or consult an attorney or tax professional.
As we begin to organize our local communities, meetings will be a vital listening space for making plans and mobilizing people to take action. It's important to be very conscious of how we run our meetings to adapt to the people who are in the room. We should acknowledge each other's differences openly and encourage people to see things from the perspective of others.
Providing a safe and open space to all who attend is vital for building is vital for building a local leadership that is flexible and diverse. Be fully supportive of all who attend regardless of their life experience or expectations. Encourage people to see things from the perspective of others. Acknowledge differences openly and identify any roadblocks to participation.
No matter how many times we have organized a meeting, mistakes will happen despite our best intentions. So please remember: there is no one "correct" way to do anything, and mistakes are how we learn to be supportive of those who are different than ourselves.
Facilitator – The facilitator is the person responsible for:
- Starting and ending the meeting on time
- Creating the agenda based on other peoples input
- Presenting the agenda for review
- Setting times for each discussion topic
- Introducing each topic and suggesting how it will be discussed
- Keeping the discussion focused on topic
- Coordinating a decision-making process
- Bringing each discussion to a close
- Closing the meeting by reviewing what decisions have been made, also, allowing time for evaluation of feelings and productivity
- Setting the time/location for the next meeting
- Thanking people for coming
Scribe – The scribe is responsible for writing ideas up on a flip chart so that everyone can keep track of what has been said.
Note-taker– The note-taker is responsible for taking detailed notes of what transpired at the meeting and typing them up into minutes for distribution to all participants.
Timekeeper – The timekeeper is responsible for letting the group know when a discussion time is almost over, 5 minute warning, and for letting them know when time is up.
Participants – This is everyone in the meeting besides the facilitator. Responsible for helping the facilitator do her/his job by following ground rules, keeping on topic and being aware and sensitive to the needs of the group.
Stacker – (Optional) The stacker is responsible for keeping a list of who wants to speak. This role can also be done by the facilitator.
Vibes Watcher – (Optional) The person who keeps tract of the feelings in the room. Tries to make sure that everyone if fully being heard.
Snack Master – (Optional) The snack master is responsible for bringing libations and snacks to feed people's growling stomachs. Food can help people focus on the discussion, especially if the meeting if during a meeting time or in the evening.
Components of an Agenda
Check-in / Introduction: quick go around to get people talking in the space. Help set a tone of openness and accountability for our feelings and attitudes by letting everyone know what you're bringing to the meeting (a good mood, a distracted state, a busy mindset, etc).
Ice-Breaker / Trust Games (optional): Sometimes it helps to start meetings with a short, light-hearted game, or set aside a special event where participants spend time doing these kinds of activities together, which can make a huge difference in how people are able to relate on an interpersonal level. You can find various resources for these exercises at: http://www.wilderdom.com/games/Icebreakers.html
- Ice-Breaker / Trust Games (optional): Sometimes it helps to start meetings with a short, light-hearted game, or set aside a special event where participants spend time doing these kinds of activities together, which can make a huge difference in how people are able to relate on an interpersonal level. You can find various resources for these exercises at: http://www.wilderdom.com/games/Icebreakers.html
Objectives: what is the purpose of the meeting? What needs to be accomplished by the end? Lay these items out upfront so that everyone is clear and on the same page.
Schedule: the order of items and times so that everyone can see what's weighted most important and when each item will be discussed.
Agenda Review:a quick review and agreement on the agenda by the whole group helps to keep a group on topic and to promote transparency.
Announcements: can place these at the beginning or the end but if you don't put them somewhere people will find a way to insert them in and they can be disruptive. Make sure announcements are not discussed.
Appreciations: not required, but a nice way to foster a group culture of acknowledging people for their hard work. We're all volunteers, it is important that we appreciate each other individually when a job is well done or someone takes on a big task.
Old Business: items ongoing or not finished from the meeting prior.
Work Updates: give a brief update on any current work or activities by the group. This will be give new participants an idea of how they might get involved.
- Work Updates: give a brief update on any current work or activities by the group. This will be give new participants an idea of how they might get involved.
New Business: new items not discussed in prior meetings.
Evaluation: a quick go-around to close out the meeting. Ask everyone to say something that worked well and a suggestion for improvement for next time.
- Breaks (optional):keep in mind that human beings can only sit through a two hour meeting without getting really antsy. If your meeting will be longer than that be sure to build in a break. Keep in mind that a break can totally change the vibe of the meeting. That can be good or bad. Use quick impromptu breaks when you need to change the tone or re-focus the energy.
There is no such thing as a "perfect" meeting. Having a purpose, being organized, getting good leadership and being flexible to changing things if needed are important strategies for creating good meetings that people will want to return to. However, not everything always goes smoothly. The following are tips on common issues that can get in the way of a good meeting:
Tips for facilitators
1. When a point is being discussed too long:
- Summarize, or;
- Suggest tabling the question for a later time.
2. When two members get into a heated discussion:
- Summarize points made by each and turn discussion back to the group, or;
- Invite the two to stay after the meeting when the three of you can talk it over.
3. When coping with a "one-man" show:
- Interrupt with a statement giving the speaker credit for his or her contribution, but politely asking him or her to hold any other points until later, or;
- Interrupt with "you have brought up many that will keep us busy for a long time. Would anyone like to take up one of these points?"
4. When a speaker drifts from the subject:
- Interrupt, give them credit for the idea but explain that they are departing from the main point, or
- Put up to the group the question of whether it wants to stray from the outline or follow it, or
- Bring the discussion back to the topic by using the related idea as the transition.
5. When a member has difficulty in expressing him/herself:
- Build up his/her confidence by expressing appreciation for what he/she has said and then re-phrase his/her material with a preface such as "Is this what you mean, Nancy?"
For additional ideas for facilitating good meetings, watch the webinar below: