query: advanced CO training

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Tue May 23 10:07:50 CDT 2000

[ed:  Doug adds some thoughts and questions to Ben's "advance CO training" 
query that I hope others might discuss.]

From: "Doug Hess" <DHess at frac.org>

Sometimes I think about how the other public professions which have come on 
the scene in the past 30 years and are related to organizing/advocacy could 
be turned to the benefit of senior organizer training.

Often, it seems that "workshops" don't allow for much depth when it comes 
to organizers who need to be familiar (if not mastering) management, 
research and legal subjects that relate to running large, complex campaigns 
or organizations. This is especially true, I believe, if organizers wish 
to: 1) identify how organizing relates to running local community 
institutions (or playing a roll in actual governance) without losing the 
organizing "edge" and 2) if organizing is to develop and manage the larger 
and more complex funding streams needed for groups to grow to a scale which 
brings greater power.

A short list of three degree/certificate programs which have appeared in 
the past few decades and which I think need to be drawn on in a way that is 
more thorough going than week long or weekend courses, are:

* public policy schools  (history and analysis of local/state/national 
policy, policy making processes (including legislation, courts and rule 
making), planning, evaluation, implementation, local economics, community 
* nonprofit management  (fund-raising, large donor work, government grants 
management, accounting, advocacy law and nonprofit status, staff 
development, board development, merging, coalitions, modern controversies 
in nonprofits)
* campaign management (election laws, campaign strategy, issue management, 
polling and influencing public opinion, media and media campaign strategy, 
fund raising, organization building)

The big question: is there a school or locality out there that has top 
level talent in enough of these areas AND which could find resources to 
prepare curriculuum that is tailored to fit the particular needs of 
community organizers.  Of course that raises another question we might try 
to answer on comm-org:  how do public affairs courses currently available 
not meet the needs of organizers?  Is there just not the right mix of 
courses? Are courses too focused on building analysts and not strategists? 

(As an aside: I think if this "advanced training" issue is solved, we could 
turn out some organizers who would be inventing "new" projects and 
strategies in a way that we haven't seen before, or at least haven't been 
able to spread around before.  In short, I think we have a senior/advanced 
organizer shortage in this country.  Anybody have the funds to change that? 
or study that?)

Doug Hess
Senior Policy Analyst
1875 Connecticut Ave, NW #540
Washington, DC 20009
ph. 202-986-2200 ext 3027
fax 202-986-2525

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