Goodwill can get you started. It can even keep you funded for a while. However, goodwill can be a perishable commodity without engagement. Meetings can be stimulating but generally have a ‘critical mass’ and can’t realistically constitute the limits of your engagement with the community.
Information is the ‘life blood’ of any successful organization. Engagement is cumbersome and ‘spotty’ at best without it. When you have, for instance, a ‘meeting’… do you record who came and ensure their contact info is current? How do you know who didn’t come? Perhaps someone you used to see regularly. Maybe you didn’t notice or never had any way to reach out to them in the first place. We all know people will come and go. It may be dissatisfaction or it could simply be a lack of engagement and life get’s busy and we have lots of other options at our avail. People want to feel valued and engagement is part of that process to demonstrates it over and over again so people keep coming back.
How do you deal with that data? Clipboards? Spreadsheet? If you aren’t collecting it, you’re proceeding with the blinders on but even if you do, are you able to use it effectively? How hard is it to just pick a ‘regular’ and quickly see every meeting, donation and event they’ve attended? Maybe they volunteered for a campaign or even an event as well. If you can’t answer that in under 10 min without relying on memory, you have a problem. If you don’t know how involved a person is and in what ways, you organization doesn’t have a relationship.
Collecting data requires the right tools and the right talents. If you can’t make use of it, you have unrealized value. If you aren’t collecting it, you won’t go far and aren’t ready to scale. Most Green organizations intend to build their membership, hopefully attract donors and be able to encourage people to run for office. Those intentions just won’t be served if we aren’t well organized with modern technology. There’s no way to get around it. Our competitors have deep pockets and are paying a premium for the best technologies to keep us off the ballot and render our campaigns irrelevant and largely unnoticed. We’re in a struggle to make democracy possible in this country.
If we want to be competitive, we have use the tools that make us competitive.
Talent can be hired. If you’re lucky, you may have some talent among your members with modern technology. Usually, that amounts to one or two people with varying levels of the literacy you really need. Yet, there are limits and often your SME’s in technology aren’t driving what’s possible. Generally, that kind of volunteering often is not rewarding as demands quickly outpace healthy boundaries and they become disengaged as a result. Burning out too few volunteers will never make your organization competitive.
The Southern Greens Action Network was formed to address the lack of organized talents with the underlying value that ‘volunteering with the greens should be a rewarding experience’. Organizing talents broadly across the south and targeted in ways that ‘grow the pie’ of the Green party. We’re architects, engineers. organizers and we’re on a mission!