Curricula Samplings

Samplings of the Academy’s training programs will be be offered in condensed 3-hour public sessions every month. Sampling sessions can be customized into full or half day sessions for individual organizations or collaborative campaigns upon request with up to 10 hours of follow-up individual coaching. Samplings will e offered on the following topics:

Organizing in Hard Economic Times

Advocating for public programs is hard enough in good times. This training program teaches core organizing tactics for leaders, board members and staff of community-based organizations who are advocating for particular policy changes to repair and reform a specific public program during a “fiscal crisis” caused by diminishing or inadequate revenues. 10 hours of additional one-to-one coaching is included.

Organizing for Change

Community organizations often organize others; this training program helps leaders, board members and staff of community-based groups develop the capacity to organize themselves. Strengthen internal capacity to advocate for social, economic and racial justice by working together with others to plan and implement a campaign to promote a positive policy change within a public or private institution.

Real Clout I: Building a Productive and Positive Relationship with Policymakers

Sample the original, time tested, interactive “Real Clout” training that demystifies the public policy process and defines, in human terms, the motivations and values of key players in the public policy arena. Learn the “Three Rules of Lobbying” and a step-by-step guide to 1. Defining a “Hero Opportunity Message” that articulates a sympathetic problem and an achievable solution 2. Building and maintaining an “Operational Power-Sharing Campaign Coalition” and 3. Building and maintaining a district-based grassroots network of affected constituents.

Real Clout II: Campaign Development

Even the most carefully thought-out strategic campaigns will be blessed with moments (sometimes days and weeks) of frenzied activity that threaten to throw the campaign off stride. Learn to keep all the bases covered by breaking down the key operations of a campaign into six “elements”. Practice using this campaign-tested tool for strategic planning, as a SWOT style needs assessment, to manage budget priorities, set agendas, coordinate and evaluate subcommittees and workgroups, and as a tool to focus every day strategic “doing”.

Referenda Campaigns: Leveraging Ballot Questions to Build Power for Your Organization

Step off the sideline and discover the comfort zone for nonprofit 501 c 3 organizations that wish to engage in ballot question campaigns that directly or indirectly affect their membership and their organizational mission. Learn how to participate in a referendum campaign and define and limit your organizations’ relationship and role in the campaign, how to motivate and mobilize your membership, how to re-allocate resources to the campaign effort, how to identify and recruit local allies, and how to organize and implement a local get-out-the-vote effort.

Making the Case: Story Telling and Presentation Skill Building

Before you can organize people, you have to connect with them. This training will help you understand how to develop a sympathetic public persona for your issue by framing the debate properly using community values. Learn to find good stories and develop story tellers; learn to leverage social media tools to promote your issue, identify allies and organize an action agenda; learn to use electronic, print and “old media” to drive your issue to the broader public; and learn to build a story book that illustrates the struggle and documents the effectiveness of your proposed solution.

Campaign Strategic Planning: Turning a Problem into an Issue.

Problems are overwhelming, vague and lack urgency, but issues are concrete and immediate, have a clear decision maker and have the potential to be “winnable”. Learn to examine the problems your community cares about and determine whether they could be actionable issues by identifying how others view the problem, searching for examples of “best practices” that already exist to address the problem, assessing budget and/or legal considerations that may impact the problem and solution, and performing a power analysis of the identified decision maker(s).

Campaign Strategic Doing: Moving into Community Research Action

Any successful campaign requires some homework. Get to work by implementing community research and credentialing. Learn how to start your campaign off right with meeting agenda templates, introduction of who you are/what you’ve done, sample testimony on the problem and solution, model organizing questions and responses, etc.

Campaign Strategic Doing: Planning an Action Meeting

We take an action to get a reaction, both from allies and opponents externally and within our organization internally. Think about the action as a drama, with a beginning, story development, climax/high points, tension, resolution/commitments, ending, and evaluation. Plan and reflect on how your action unfolds across these points and be prepared for the adjustments and decisions you’ll need to make. Walk through the “what if” checklist and learn how to get the reaction you’re campaign wants.