Community organizers have work to do every campaign season, at least for every campaign season in which they are involved. These rabble-rousers often involve organizing political protests and bringing people together. Sometimes they even organize events for certain communities. The work political organizers can be exhausting or rewarding. Sometimes the work can be both at the same time. When it comes to engaging in this job, it is important to avoid burn out. Professional community organizers should also keep the following things in mind.
Organizers often hear that protests do not work anymore. People who utter this phrase remind such people that the 1960s ended over fifty years ago. However, this is not entirely true. Protests can and do have an effect, even if they are not always positive effects. The 2017 Charlottesville protest proves that even groups that have poor public perception, such as the white nationalists and Neo-Nazi groups that make up the alt-right, can still affect national discourse.
A good organizer must learn that groups are not always as united as they seem. Many groups that seem united on the surface often have deep divisions that are found underneath the surface. If a group makes it clear that it does not want to support the organizer’s cause, the organizer should make it clear to them that the outside organization should stay out of the fight.
No community organizer should be afraid to use humor. Humor can diffuse difficult situations, improve the morale of like-minded individuals, and it can break high tension levels. Laughter has other health benefits as well. In addition, the organizer should not be afraid to use the contacts he has developed as a community organizer to his own benefit. This may mean he has to call in favors or to do a favor in the near future.
Political campaigns are a prime time for community organizer activity. While the politicians sling mud and invective at each other, they often forget the real-world consequences their actions have. Community organizers must never forget these real-world consequences. It is the consequences or the perception of consequences that drives the average individual to political actions. Professional organizers need not feel guilty about manipulating people, as long as they manipulate people in positive ways. Another less negative way to say the same thing is to exercise good leadership. Not everyone can do this, but it is necessary for organizers.