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  • L.A. McCrae

Quick and Dirty Organizing Tools

Developed for a project with Three Sisters Consulting.

May be used with attribution.



First, why are you doing this work?

What brought you to this work? What about this issue is compelling you to action? Why must you be involved?


Second, identify who shares your passion.

Do you know people who share your vision? Your passion? Your sense of purpose?

Who are they? How do you know them? What is your relationship with them?

Remember: effective organizing is about relationships and the ability to use personal stories to connect and create the change you seek.


Third, gather your team.

Effective organizing is a tool of leveraging relationships to create the desire change. In order to strategy, implement, and evaluate your organizing; you need an organizing team… a core. Assemble the people who are on your core team. Share stories. Engage in team building. Get to know each other. Be authentic, real, and vulnerable. The work requires not that you bring your best, this work calls you to show up fully; unapologetically.


Fourth, be clear about your purpose.

As you gather the team, it is imperative that you take time to refine your vision. Why are you gathered? What is the specific purpose? For example, you may all agree mass incarceration is bad. But why are you gathered to discuss mass incarceration? You may be gathered to begin the process of planning for political education in your community and to support BLUU’s Babies and Bailouts by sponsoring 8 bailouts. That is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Well done!


What are your goals? Be clear. Make a list if needed. Always come back to the list of goals. When considering the desired outcomes, always come back to your goals.


How do you make goals? Focus on the actions that are active in justice-making and participating in the project of liberation. Are your goals rooted in what is life-giving? Life-affirming? Life-sustaining? If your goals are not in alignment with Love and Light, advancing the liberation of all people, protecting the vulnerable, and bringing to center the margins… go back to the drawing table and try harder.


Fifth, learn, train, and plan.

Learn what you need to know about your situation. Engage in asset mapping. Who are the stakeholders? Where can you find collaborators and co-conspirators? Where will there be challenges?


Engage in Public Narrative training. At the very least, practice sharing your stories with one another. Three stories are important in Public Narrative: The Story of Me, the Story of Us, and the Story of Now. What is your personal story? Why are you called to this work? What is the story of the group? The community? Finally, what is the fierce urgency of now? Why now? Why this moment? Why this action? What is at stake? Appropriate stories, in this context, should be less than 90 seconds. Think about ways to digitize your stories, or aspects of your story, through easy sharing via social media and social conference (such as Zoom).


Plan the actions that need to be taken. When you are planning, there are three questions buckets that should guide your work: you are organizing who, to do what, and by when.


Review your goals.

  • You need to organize who… what group(s) of people, leaders, organizations.

  • What specifically do you need them to do, vote, pass legislation on, stop doing, investigate, etc.

  • When is this specific action needed? Do you have enough time? Can you plan in advance so you can plan additional campaigns if needed? If the action does not go in your favor, what is at stake?


Once you have your plan in place, make sure it is: life-affirming, life-giving, and life-nourishing.


Sixth, action!


It is time to put your plan in action. Great work!


You have identified an issue, recruited a team, practiced Public Narrative, built relationships, and are ready to execute your mission. Take time to get centered in your principles, your commitments to liberation, and participating in this project of healing and brokenness that we call life. Come back to center and breathe with grace and humility. You have been called to the great task of change-making and liberation.


Seventh, breathe and reflect.


What worked really well? What might need to be changed? What was a complete miss? (It’s okay, we all have those!).


How did you build relationships? What relationships may need repair?


Where did you grow? Where did you see change? What must continue?


Offer thanks. Create ritual for release. Begin again anew.


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