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Building Technological Infrastructure and Capacity

Increasing Organizational Efficiency Through Technological Strategy

Organizing & Capacity Building at the Center for Popular Democracy:

Builds strong organizing partners.

Each partner organization is invited to participate in an annual work planning process. Together, we define organizational development priorities and design a set of interventions that CPD can implement to help meet those priorities. These customized interventions include on-site training, meeting design and facilitation, direct support on campaigns or other projects, coaching, and leveraging relationships with funders or...

Organizing & Capacity Building at the Center for Popular Democracy:

Builds strong organizing partners.

Each partner organization is invited to participate in an annual work planning process. Together, we define organizational development priorities and design a set of interventions that CPD can implement to help meet those priorities. These customized interventions include on-site training, meeting design and facilitation, direct support on campaigns or other projects, coaching, and leveraging relationships with funders or allies. This process builds trust and durable relationships between CPD staff and partner organizations. These deep relationships are vital as we work on joint campaigns and other collective movement-building activities.

Aligns our network.

CPD organizes dynamic network convenings to bring partner organizations together to build relationships and a shared vision. Network convenings bring together lead staff, frontline organizers and member leaders. Together we plan actions on issues central to our work, build a continuous learning community, and lay the foundation for increasingly ambitious shared endeavors in the future. In 2019, we will hold our largest convening to date, the People’s Convention, in Detroit, Michigan in late July, which will engage between 1,500 and 2,000 core CPD stakeholders, primarily member leaders, from across our network.

Develops Leaders.

Organizers at all career stages want and deserve leadership development. CPD invests in leadership development as core programming offered to our partner organizations. Since 2015, we have developed and delivered training modules to support new organizers, mid-level organizers with supervision responsibilities, and organizational leaders at our smallest partner organizations, including executive directors and board members.  In 2016, we launched a new, intensive program to support a cohort of 18 to 20 new executive directors, primarily women and people of color.  Since 2016, we have continued to shape our trainings toward the goal of building a deep leadership bench at our partner organizations, including developing an ongoing pipeline program which will recruit, train, place and support deputy directors of color at our partners.

Expands our base.

Central to the success of CPD and our partners is the size and engagement of our membership base.  Over the past three years, we have built out our Sustainability Program, which works closely with partners to develop canvasses that build their dues-paying membership, and we will significantly expand this program over the coming year.  We also support our partners in building out their member leadership development programs, and co-develop political education and skills trainings for members with partner organization staff in order to deepen a culture of member ownership and leadership across our network.

CPD’s Organizing & Capacity Building team includes staff members with extensive experience training and supervising organizers, building and leading organizations, implementing ambitious leadership development and recruitment programs, and winning campaigns across a range of racial and economic justice issues that are central to our work and the work of our partners.  

Foundational to all of CPD’s Organizing & Capacity Building work is a framework that we refer to as our list of “organizational vital stats.” Rather than being a top-down mandate from CPD to our partners, these benchmarks for organizational efficacy inform the content of our trainings, serve as a jumping-off point for conversations with our partners in designing our support interventions, provide valuable goal posts for organizers who are seeking to strengthen their work, and allow our team to understand the impact our work is having.  

Organizational Vital Stats:

Members

  • Adds at least 400 new members per year per FTE outreach organizer to its total membership numbers

Mobilizes members

  • small organizations: 50 members six times per year; 100 members two times per year

  • midsize organizations: 100 Members six times per year; 200 members two times per year

  • large organizations: 100 members 12 times per year; 300 to 1,000 members two times per year

Implement a program for member-leadership development that includes:

  •  transparent leadership ladder that members and organizers understand and rely on

  • a program for member political, leadership, and skills development that yields a determined target number of top leaders, which staff and members understand and are accountable to

Model:

  • Clearly articulate its organizing model and the core programmatic elements needed to support the actualization of that model. Our understanding of organizational model is a description of how the organization adds, retains, and integrates members into campaign activity and builds other forms of organizational leadership, and supports and supervises staff to these ends

  • Follow articulated practices for periodic planning, staff training and evaluation, member decision-making within the organization, membership recruitment, and member-leader development

  • Adopt a database that tracks contacts and participation and has the data management, training and supervision systems needed to make the database work

  • Adopt a digital toolset (advocacy tools, website, social media, etc.) that communicates with the database and configure these tools to complement their organizing model

Movement:

  • Have at least one clearly defined campaign plan, codeveloped by staff, leaders and allies, that is winnable within 12 months—and wins

  • Have clearly defined plans for all ongoing campaigns, codeveloped by staff, leaders, and key allies

  • Establish the right number of campaigns for staff and member base to manage (1 per .5 FTE campaign staff)

  • Engage with other important allies to advance its key campaigns, network and build relationships 

  • Take advantage of opportunities to engage with other CPD partners and staff

Money:

  • Revenue from membership dues accounts for a significant and growing percentage of the organization’s total budget

  • Establish a target for increasing membership dues income over the course of the year, and a plan for reaching that target

  • Make an accurate organizational budget, with projected income and expenditures

  • Identify probable or committed funding prospects triple to its planned expenditures over the next 18 months and identify staff members accountable for advancing donor cultivation and proposal submission

  • Track and report to key stakeholders on its funding plan

  • Board approves annual budget and reviews and discusses regular financial reports 

  • Put systems in place to track 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) expenditures, which are followed by all staff

  • Employ—internally or externally—dedicated support beyond senior staff or organizing staff for all financial work, including bookkeeping and accounting