Organizing Skills

Please note that due to our role as national field organizing office for Move to Amend, and how very busy that keeps us, we currently do not hold regular workshops. The information below is out-of-date, but provides historical perspective. We hope to resume holding workshops at some future date.

Join us each month for a quick hands-on training in basic aspects of organizing, organizational development and community building. These trainings are open to anyone regardless of skill level or background. Seasoned organizers are encouraged to attend as well - share your knowledge with others and grow our community's organizing capacity.

We will combine presentation and participation to empower participants with the knowledge, skills, networks, and tools needed to mobilize grassroots action at the community level.

DUHC is offering this series not only to strengthen the skills of Humboldt’s community organizers, but also to enhance collaboration among local groups working for social justice. Guest trainers, workshop requests, and broader staff participation are all welcome.

Workshops are held from 6:00-7:30pm on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Duck House, 1402 M Street, Eureka. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is appreciated.

Check out our Event Calendar for a current schedule.

Monthly Organizing Skills Training Topics

Advanced Phonebanking

In our atomized society, phonebanking has become an essential tool for political organizing and movement building. Political campaigns and community groups must phone new contacts and their members effectively in order to build their capacity. Phonebanks are run to inform people about an effort, remind people about an upcoming event, delegate responsibility to complete a project or a campaign, and motivate people towards social change activism.

With so many critical issues and urgent, decisions before the community just now, we need more people to learn the skill of running successful phonebanks. This training is for seasoned and green phonebankers alike with a section on organizing and managing phonebanks.

Anti-Oppression: Being an Effective Ally

This training is geared for progressives who would like to become more powerful anti-oppression allies. The focus will be on oppression dynamics and the role of "privilege" in transforming existing power dynamics, moving us toward broad, deep economic and social justice.

Particular attention will be given to the development of strategies for effective organizing on the part of people with degrees of privilege (especially white people). Facilitated discussion will address different possibilities in working across racial boundaries that exist in Humboldt County.

This Democracy Unlimited workshop was crafted with the guidance of George Friday, National Co-Chair for United for Peace and Justice and Executive Director of the Independent Progressive Politics Network.

Building Coalitions

A coalition is broadly defined as an effort to bring individuals and organizations together to work for a common purpose. Coalition building is appropriate when an individual or group recognizes that they alone do not have the technical capability or people power to affect a real impact on an issue. As people work together, they expand their individual views of issues to a broadened perspective influenced by their coalition companions.

This training will cover when coalitions should be used, when they shouldn't, things to keep in mind for success and common mistakes to avoid.

Consensus Decision-Making and Facilitation

Doing social change for a democratic society is hard work. Even harder, sometimes, is doing that work in a democratic way, especially as we all live in a culture where hierarchy and domination are the norm.

This training focuses on democratic group decision-making, with an emphasis on consensus process and facilitating good meetings. Whether you’re someone who leads meetings or just someone who has to attend them, come get ideas for ways to both democratize and improve the efficiency of your group’s meetings and decision-making processes.

Making decisions is about wisely exercising power individually and collectively. If we are to succeed at making change, we need to be comfortable in exercising power, and also know how to share it. That’s a tough task, so come learn how to take it on!

Delivering Public Comment

On the local level, there are continual opportunities during the “public comment” portion of hearings for residents to share their opinions and experiences and to offer guidance to government officials. Carefully chosen words, stated honestly can hit home with decision makers and serve to mobilize fellow citizens to demonstrate community consensus.

The three minutes typically allotted for a public comment is not much. This training is designed to help you prepare and deliver the most effective citizen comment possible. Time will be given to craft a comment on a timely issue and to receive feedback on your delivery. If you find getting up at the podium to be intimidating, then this training is for you.

“Earning” Media Attention: Getting On Air, Online, and Into Print

Are you frustrated by the fact that 6 conglomerates control 90% of the media in this country? Public opinion is consistently skewed to serve the interests and parallel the values of the corporate ruling class.

The tools of communications and channels of content have changed and multiplied, but the rules of communications to get your message out have not: be proactive, be clear about your goals, audience, and message, make your communications advance your mission or build your organization.

The skills training will include exercises on handling radio interviews and talk show call-ins, writing opinion pieces and Letters to the Editor, and conducting effective "follow up" to help ensure the publication of submitted pieces.

Good Meetings: Tips and Tricks

Have you ever sat through a bad meeting? Who hasn't! Learn the basics of meeting planning, agenda design, facilitation, note-taking and being a productive meeting participant even if you're not the facilitator.

We'll also give you an overview of the consensus process to help you gain a better understanding of how to use this decision-making method in a way that helps your group gain trust and make sound decisions so that everyone's voice is heard.

How to Talk About Corporate Personhood

While Corporate Personhood may seem like an abstract notion on the surface, it is actually something that affects our day-to-day lives in a deep and profound way. Time and again, the rights of real communities are trumped by the dogmatic doctrine that corporations have the same rights as human beings. Knowing how to talk to people about an issue is a large part of creating a grassroots social movement. In order to effectively dismantle corporate rule, we will need to be well-equipped with talking points geared for different conversational contexts.

This skills training will involve a brief history of Corporate Personhood, looking at particular examples and case studies of how corporate constitutional rights impact individual citizens. There will also be a discussion around the recent Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case which legalizes corporate bribery. We will then go into specific ways to talk about the issue using interactive role playing exercises to get comfortable with engaging folks and educating the public on how Corporate Personhood impedes true democracy.

Inspiring Volunteers and Developing Leadership

Power flows from large numbers of people working in concert. An effective leader offers meaning and direction to that collective action, inspiring others by example while helping others to identify and build upon their existing strengths.

Learn about expanding the leadership core of your organization or project, facilitating volunteer run efforts, as well as motivating, teaching, and supporting new volunteers. Nuts and bolts tools and model agendas will be shared for conducting effective “in-take” processes for new volunteers.

Recruiting New People and Building Your Group

Learn about expanding the leadership core of your organization or project, facilitating volunteer run efforts, as well as motivating, teaching, and supporting new volunteers. Nuts and bolts tools and model agendas will be shared for conducting effective “in-take” processes for new volunteers.

Story Based Messaging

"Story-Based Strategy" is a framework that places storytelling at the center of social change strategy. This messaging approach stems from the recognition that humans understand the world and their role in it through stories. We tell stories through our rituals, customs, words, symbols, and ideas.

This workshop provides an introduction to tools and case studies as well as discussion to craft more effective social change stories, challenge assumptions, intervene in prevailing cultural narratives, and change the story around your issue.

Tabling: Getting Your Issue In Front of the Public

As people no longer gather in the Commons to discuss politics and local issues, tabling has become among the most effective tactics for informing community members about important issues and eliciting new interest in project work.

Viewing tabling as a true skill that can be learned and cultivated, this training is designed to help the tabler connect with far more people, generate more grassroots support, and effectively recruit people to become real allies for the long haul. Nuts and bolts guidance will be shared on preparing and managing a tabling event with advanced tips on engaging the public.


Do you have a topic you'd like to see taught? Or a person you think could offer a great session (maybe even you!)? Please let us know!

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