Anyone interested in justice and fairness, personal growth, and career advancement will be excited to learn of DART’s process for developing professional community organizers. Our process is designed to train and mentor new organizers to ultimately become capable of directing a DART organization as Lead Organizers.
This process includes four phases: the DART Organizers Institute, the Nehemiah Period, the Jeremiah Period, and Lead Organizer Advancement. Each phase includes performance standards, mentoring, and evaluations to build on strengths and identify areas for improvement.
Organizers Institute– includes an intensive 4-day classroom training followed by five months of infield training at one of DART’s community organizations. The field training involves weekly training sessions guided by Lead Organizers, readings and reflections in conference with DART Center staff.
Goals for the Organizers Institute include:
- Teach basic organizing principles – how to develop relationships, identify leaders, understand and engage people around their self-interest, articulate mission, run successful meetings and events
- Explore personal vision and motivations – discuss ‘why’ one organizes
Nehemiah Period (typically year one) – includes attendance at: three two-day training and planning retreats, DART’s national five-day training orientation, a summer staff retreat, and joint regional staff trainings. It also includes participation among a team of organizers in executing three major organizing drives (i.e., Listening process, Research and Action phase, Investment Drive).
Goals for the Nehemiah Period include:
- Develop the discipline of time management – practice daily, weekly, and long-term planning disciplines to achieve personal balance and professional goals
- Introduce major organizing drives – building on basic principles, first year organizers will set goals and learn how to engage large numbers of people in major organizing drives/events
- Continue personal vision/motivational formation – develop one’s ‘justice story’
- Promote successful Community Organizers into positions of greater leadership among the team of organizers
Jeremiah Period (typically year two) – includes leading sessions at DART trainings and retreats, taking leadership roles in major organizing drives, broader responsibility in organizational decision-making functions.
Goals for the Jeremiah Period include:
- Provide experience leading organizing processes including an issue campaign from start to victory
- Exposure to sound organizational operations – Board development, long-range strategic planning and assessments, record keeping, selecting and training new staff, etc.
- Continue personal vision/motivational formation – ‘why’ one organizes
- Promote successful Community Organizers into Lead Organizer positions
Lead Organizer Placement – includes monthly site visits and regular telephone contact from DART’s executive consultants and experienced organizers, attendance to DART’s Lead Organizers meeting, leading DART training and retreats, and participation in innovating DART’s organizing practices.
Goals for the Lead Organizer Period include:
- Internalize organizing principles by coaching and mentoring new organizers as defined by DART’s professional development plan
- Develop advanced vision for building a self-sustaining and growing power base to effectively deal with broader issues of justice
- Promote successful Lead Organizers into leadership roles among a number of DART organizations regionally