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A Typical Day in the Life of a Community Organizer

8:30 Plan your day

9:00 Identify community leaders
You meet again for the third time with Sharon, a community leader and a church member, at her house. You spent previous meetings establishing trust and discussing her motivations for volunteering her time to coordinate the neighborhood food pantry. You spend this time making a distinction between short-term charity and long-term systemic solutions. You share examples of how organized people have come together and won justice. She agrees to attend a future training event on community organizing.

10:30 Conduct research on solutions to pressing community issues
Together with a committee of leaders from your organization, you sit down with regional housing experts and discuss possible solutions to the affordable housing crisis in the city. Your committee met earlier to prepare and they run the meeting without your assistance. They probe experts on various policies and relevant decision makers.

12:00 Strategize to win change
You grab lunch with the leaders from the committee to evaluate the meeting, discuss what you learned, and determine what more information needs to be gathered. Ultimately, the committee will identify specific, winnable solutions to be presented to relevant officials during a large public meeting your organization will hold in the near future.

1:30 Establish rapport and trust with the community
You meet with a pastor at his church for the first time. You spend most of the time listening and asking questions. He shares his vision for reaching out to the Hispanic population in the city. You also learn the church was recently been broken into and several of his members are having difficulty securing jobs. You conclude with an agreement to meet again in a week for more conversation.

2:30 Challenge people to act
You meet a second time with Joanna, a schoolteacher. Joanna’s pastor is active in the organization and is encouraging her to get involved. Previously, Joanna shared her frustration with educational inequality in public schools. You challenge Joanna to put her anger into action by joining a core team of leaders organizing others in her congregation.

3:30 Develop skills
You sit down with your Lead Organizer to reflect on recent experiences and determine upcoming objectives for the organization. You also rehearse key presentations you will be making later in the week.

5:30 Train leaders to build power
You meet with a core team a member church. In preparation for a major meeting with public officials coming up, you lead a training session on power and the importance of organized people. The pastor calls upon the core team to work with him in an effort to mobilize the entire congregation for the upcoming meeting. The meeting concludes by having everyone make specific commitments on their share of the work.

7:00 Return to the office and call leaders to coordinate and schedule upcoming meetings 

Note: This page come from the Direct Action Research Training (DART) website.

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