In trainings, I often find myself saying "90% of organizing is . . ." I realized recently that if I added up all the times I said that, I'd probably be at 792%. Are we organizers working eight times harder than anyone else? Some days, it feels that way. On those days, I try to remember one thing:
90% of great organizing is in the big idea. When I was first trained to organize, I was taught to choose winnable fights. Over time, I've learned that winnable fights without a bigger fight and purpose aren't necessarily very motivating. Some of us find purpose through family or faith, and others through service or time in nature. For those of us who find purpose in organizing, we do it because we want to make a difference and create real change.
When thinking about your campaign goal, don't just ask what's winnable. Ask yourself: what really matters to our people? What's the fight we'd love to be in, and why don't we just do it now? Remember, when Barack Obama launched his Presidential campaign in 2007 it wasn't "winnable." It was only the rigorous day to day work of organizing and campaigning that made it possible.
How do you keep focused on the big idea in your work? Share in the comments on our blog.
Joy Cushman is Organizing Director at NOI.