Base Building

Social change happens when the people who are most impacted by injustice overcome their isolation and divisions, come together and develop permanent grassroots organization to sustain and advance their collectivity and power. Building a base of member-leaders is a key organizing practice that includes engaging people in real dialogue, decision-making and collective work. The following resources offer insight into how to build grassroots campaigns that are anchored by base-building groups with organizing committees in communities statewide. The resources also suggest best practices for organizing in the field and running effective meetings.

 Building Our Organizations

  • New Member Handbook: This handbook, produced by the Vermont Workers’ Center, defines what it means to be a member of the VWC and offers new members clear information on the group’s mission, history, human rights organizing approach, organizational structure and lots more.
  • The Path Walked by a Leader – diagram: This flow chart tracks the progress of a Put People First! PA member from initial contact with the organization through active membership and eventually leadership in the organization.


Organizing in the Field

  • Organizing Conversations:  This document, produced by Put People First! PA, breaks down how to have an effective and structured organizing conversation when talking to new people about the organization and its campaign.
  • Anatomy of an Organizing Conversation:  This document, produced by the Vermont Workers’ Center, describes the five parts of an effective and structured organizing conversation when talking to new people about the organization and its campaign.
  • Door Knocking Training:  This training, prepared by Put People First! PA, is intended to prepare members for participating in a door knocking drive.  It reviews the purpose of door knocking, the goals of a particular drive, a rap or plan for an organizing conversation, the materials included in a door knocking kit, and a role play which clarifies the do’s and don’ts of outreach.
  • Survey:  Maine’s Healthcare Is a Human Right survey is an example of a survey that’s useful for both collecting data and stories of human rights violations for reports as well as doing outreach to recruit new members and build an organization’s base. HCHR-Maryland used a similar survey for its report.
  • Point of Entry Canvassing Workshop:  This powerpoint workshop presentation, produced by the United Workers, offers considerations in choosing a point of entry or outreach to potential new members and the basics of canvassing and organizing conversations.


Running Meetings

  • Process Tools Handout:  This table, produced by the Vermont Workers’ Center, offers a great collection of team building and meeting facilitation tools for making sure that all voices and perspectives are heard, collecting feedback, building relationships, arriving at consensus, and lots more.
  • Facilitator’s Guide to Meeting and Organizational AgreementsThis guide, prepared by the Vermont Workers Center, is intended for introducing new members to the organization’s standing agreements which when observed help maintain a healthy organizational culture.
  • Committee Coordinator Member Brainstorm Worksheet:  This worksheet, prepared by the Vermont Workers’ Center, is intended to assist Organizing Committee coordinators in both assessing their committee’s contacts and members and coming up with next steps to advance these contacts and members in their leadership development.