1. What's the problem I'm really trying to solve here?...
My Congregation-Based Community Organization (CBCO http://www.religionlink.org/tip_040518c.php) holds two large events annually, a Public Meeting and a Banquet/ad book fundraising dinner with a speaker. Forty-four member congregations with Core-Teams turnout their members and invite other citizens to participate in these events. Our CBCO is half African-American, half Anglo, and based in city-neighborhood parishes, synagogues, mosques, etc.
We need to build larger meetings to leverage sufficient power to accomplish specific changes, and raise needed financial support. I want to improve collaboration among congregations to invite people accountably to our meetings. We have relationships to potentially turn-out many people, metro-area-wide.
2. How do these people currently solve this problem?
Core Teams now do pulpit announcements, and after-service signs-up lists and ticket sales, to turn out congregation members for upcoming events. Other congregation members are asked to invite new people, from beyond their congregation to attend events, but we lack accountability for doing so.
3. What is the opportunity?
Troubling signs of our times call us to expand our democratic social movement. We can mobilize more of our 44 faith communities' total capacity to invite new people. This is a focused and compelling organizing opportunity for needed citizen action. Led by staff and Core-Teams, congregation members can themselves organize to invite new citizens by personal conversation and e-mail follow-up to build events.
I want to add to our present meeting turn-out strategy a distributed on-line component for congregation members. With this new peer-to-peer capacity, congregation Core Teams will relationally and accountably ask their congregation members to help invite new people. We will build our events with more of our total capacity:
-- Congregation members are asked to invite new people via personal conversations.
-- From a congregation website-widget, or e-Invitation website, these congregation members then send a follow-up conversations with e-Invites, with event details, which also contains RSVP and Invite-a-Friend links.
-- E-invitations automate some work and compile up-to-date lists for scarce, busy staff.
-- We aid and recognize Core Teams and members with on-line congregation-report displays: e-Invites sent by member, RSVPs received and cumulative totals, by congregation and for the whole event.
Our purpose is social facilitation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_facilitation): Encourage volunteer Core Teams and members to perform better at simple relational tasks off-line, by publicly seeing on-line that we're working better together, accountably.
CBCOs are a movement establishing inter-faith, cross-class, multi-ethnic and multi-racial grassroots organizations. We aim to increase social integration and power in civil society and make civic, regional and state-wide changes for social improvement. Many CBCOs could benefit from this proposed support.
-- 133 local CBCOs in 5 national interfaith networks, comprised of 4000 institutions (2001, http://comm-org.wisc.edu/papers2001/faith/faith.htm).
-- On-line introductory videos (e.g., Jewish Fund for Justice, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr3K8vxKw1c), are a possible e-invitation asset.
-- AMOS Project Public Meeting event (http://www.twincamplus.com/www.theamosproject.org/aboutamos/whatWeDo.html), organized every 12-18 months is now attended by 2000+ people.
-- AMOS Banquet fundraisers currently engage 500+ people and raise $30 K annually.
-- AMOS Project is part of Gamaliel Foundation network (http://www.gamaliel.org/default.htm) of 2000 religious and other institutions with 1 million+ members. More metro-area, intra-network and inter-network collaboration is anticipated.
“Remember me as a drum major for social justice.” -- Rev. Martin Luther King