Intro to Relational Organizing

This guide is an example of what is called Relational Organizing. Relational Organizing is a strategy for organizing an activist community by investing in individual relationships.

The following principles of Relational Organizing should guide you as you engage in the organizer role:

Relationships are the building block of the organization.

Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining whether someone will get involved and stay involved in a social movement is whether they have friends in the movement. An organizer’s job is to ensure every person who gets involved makes friends in our community so they can sustain over the long term.

Take a genuine interest in people.

Relational organizers face a paradox. We’re trying to organize people to build a powerful social movement. But if people feel that we’re only interested in them as pawns in our strategy, their motivation will fall apart. The solution is this: to succeed as an organizer, you need to take a genuine interest in the people you are organizing. You have to connect with the part of you that genuinely wants to get to know them and to see them grow as individuals by participating in the movement.

Communicate often, and not always about the campaign.

If every message you send someone has an ask, they’ll get tired of hearing from you. Make sure some of your conversations with your activists are mainly social. Ask lots of questions to keep the conversation going. It’s a good idea for your first message to a new activist to focus on starting a relationship. For instance, ask about their “animal rights story” or how they became interested in activism.

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