Tip of the Month – Gathering People & Resources
From ALL staff October 2007
Now that we have discussed clearly defining your group’s mission and some basic business planning, let’s take a look at gathering a larger group of people in order to accomplish that mission.
The first ingredient needed for your organization is, obviously, people. Carl Landwehr, in his book Right to Life Grassroots Organizing, gives several basic steps for gathering a group of people. These techniques can also be used after your group is formed, to help it grow.
The first step is to make your community more aware of the horrors of abortion. A very short list of ideas includes:
· Hold informal pro-life awareness programs at churches or clubs
· Have a nationally-known speaker address a large community audience
· Distribute pro-life literature and/or a pro-life newsletter; mailings and door-to-door canvassing
· Purchase advertising space in local newspapers, magazines and shopping guides
· Letters to the editor
· Fairs and conventions
Once you’ve started people thinking, the second step is to identify the individuals who share your pro-life views and bring them together for informal meetings. Some of the identification techniques Landwehr suggests include:
· Collecting contact information (name, address, telephone and e-mail address) of people who attend your events (use sign-up sheets, volunteer cards or offer a free gift if attendees drop their contact information/business card in a box)
· Acquiring a membership roster from like-minded churches and clubs
· Asking community leaders for the names of interested people
“The organizer should immediately contact by personal visit, telephone call or letter/e-mail [in that order of preference] each identified interested person. This should be done regardless of the number of people identified. The pro-life movement is made up of people and the more communication between its supporters, the stronger the movement becomes.” (Landwehr, p. 4)
You should remember the concept of personal follow-up throughout the formation and growth of your organization. It can be especially helpful when you begin contacting people for boards and committees.
As soon as you have an informal group of individuals willing to work together, begin discussing your group’s goals and objectives – both short and long-term. Reiterate the mission. Consider the possibility that, with the addition of new members – perhaps people with new skills – your perspective or plans may change somewhat.
Your group should constantly assess community resources as well. Remember that community resources include not only places and things, but people too.
· Opinion leaders – influence others and cause them to formulate opinions, beliefs and attitudes (they can also serve as public spokespersons for the pro-life movement): priests, ministers, rabbis, teachers, athletes and media personalities
· Power structure – decision makers who can serve as legitimizers of the pro-life group and the movement
· Pro-abortionists – These people epitomize the radical trends in our society; their actions should be brought to public attention and their true motivations revealed in order to awaken the apathetic. (They should be attacked for what they stand for; never attack them personally!)
· Tradesmen – electricians, painters, plumbers, carpenters and trade classes
· Professionals – doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, communications experts, organizers, fundraisers, journalists and advertisers
· Technicians – photographers, designers, printers, computer programmers, list brokers and secretaries
· Elected officials – national, state and local
· Media personalities – newspaper editors, reporters and TV and radio announcers
· Businesspeople, registered voters, and state and federal employees
· Youth, church and civic groups
Remember, too, that some of your supporters may come from the most unlikely sources.
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