I think that this site was actually launched in mid-December, but, you know, I’ve been on vacation.
Still, it’s a good way to kick off the new year, hitting all of the major resolutions: work smarter, connect with cool people, save money, and, of course, enhance your grassroots organizing skills (or are those just my resolutions?)
The New Organizing Institute’s Toolbox isn’t a complete substitute for dynamic in-person training, where you get a chance to build relationships with organizers working on social justice issues that connect to yours. It’s not designed to be, I don’t think. What it does offer, that’s pretty awesome, is a completely free, very accessible, and quite high-quality training program that you can do totally online, as an introduction to grassroots organizing principles (tell your story, build a strong structure, plan and execute powerful actions), as a refresher, or (and this is the part I like the best) as a train-the-trainer model that you can then use to build the capacity of those with whom you’re working on the ground.
It uses the best of current technology, with videos of trainers conducting presentations and interactive materials, and it’s in the fullest spirit of the exciting transparency movement: everything is downloadable and free and open for sharing.
THAT’s empowering, and it’s welcome.
I spent some time looking through the site and found several pieces valuable to me, even after years of organizing experience. They’re all time-tested and refined from work in the field, which is especially important to me (I cannot sit through another talk about power from people who’ve obviously never been close to it). And they’re still adding content (and accepting submissions, if there are examples from your work that you want to share).
Check it out, and let me know what you think, please, or share your own resources for community organizing. And consider yourself on the way to your 2011 resolutions!