A committed core of professional community organizers is critical in building strong congregation-based community organizations. DART invests significant time and resources for organizers at all levels to grow and develop personally and professionally.
Training of professional community organizers takes place in four phases. Each phase includes performance standards, mentoring, and evaluations to build on strengths and identify areas for skill development.
While some travel is required to attend regional and national trainings and retreats, the majority of the training that organizers receive takes place in the city in which they are hired.
Organizers Institute– (begins January 8, 2018 and August 13, 2018) – includes an intensive 4-day classroom training followed by five months of infield training. The field training involves weekly training sessions guided by Lead Organizers, specific goals and objectives, and readings and reflections in conference with DART Center staff.
Goals for the Organizers Institute:
- Understand basic organizing principles – how to develop relationships, identify leaders, articulate mission, run successful meetings and events
- Explore personal vision and motivations – discuss ‘why’ one organizes
- Develop an ability to understand and engage leaders around their self-interests
Associate Organizers (first three years) – includes attendance at three two-day training and planning retreats, DART’s national five-day training orientation, two DART regional leadership training events, a summer staff retreat, and joint regional staff trainings. It also includes participation among a team of organizers in executing three major organizing drives (Listening process, Research and Action phase, Investment Drive).
Goals for Associate Organizers:
- 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’
- Promotion into positions of greater leadership among the team of organizers
Senior Associate Organizers (at least two years’ experience) – When Associate Organizers have demonstrated excellence at managing the three core processes of the organization, they will be invited to work with their Lead Organizer and DART staff to design and implement a special project to strengthen the local organization and their own skill set. This project may involve a strategic issue campaign, recruiting congregations or strengthening one of the core processes in a significant way. In addition to attending and leading trainings for Associate Organizers, Senior Associate Organizers receive additional individualized coaching from their Lead Organizer and DART staff.
Goals for Senior Associates:
- Gain experience leading organizing processes. Options include: leading an issue campaign from start to victory, recruitment of new congregations, or driving the local member driven funding process.
- Gain 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
- Advancement into Lead Organizer position where appropriate
Lead Organizer Placement – includes regular site visits and 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:
- 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 congregation-based justice ministry organization to deal with issues of justice
- Promote successful Lead Organizers into leadership roles among DART organizations regionally