what we do
As organizers our job is to listen to the communities we seek to serve.
In this unprecedented moment, the needs of the grassroots are wide and diverse, and none are well-served by a one-size-fits all approach to training.
We collaborate with grassroots coalitions, as well as grassroots focused campaigns, to develop large workshops and small coaching house parties, tailored to the community’s specific needs and challenges. No two events are the same. And though we carry with us considerable collective experience, and an extensive network of experts, we believe communities have the solutions they seek with in them. Our focus is on facilitating safe and creative environments, and fostering the trust and communication necessary to solve problems and make plans that build power.
WHO WE ARE
Ten years ago
early on a Saturday morning, a few hundred strangers poured into a soundstage in Burbank, to learn how to contribute to the primary campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama. They were led through the weekend by a man named Marshall Ganz who had once organized with the United Farm Workers, and now teaches organizing at Harvard. Before they talked about phone banks, or canvassing, or data, or anything that resembled a task related to a campaign, they told each other stories. Crucial moments in their lives that made them who they were.
By the end of Sunday, everyone in that room was a member of a team with a clear goal, each member having a clear role and responsibilities. But more importantly, everyone in that room was part of a new community. A community that is still thriving ten years later.
Western Organizing Workshop started as one of those teams. We came for him, we stayed for each other, and there’s no doubt that the reason we’re still together is because of the methods and practices imparted on that Burbank soundstage.
READ MORE ABOUT OUR TEAM HERE.
After a successful 2018 midterm cycle in which the WOW team collaborated with grassroots groups and campaigns across California, training nearly 1000 new organizers, we have taken a hiatus from active organizing. We remain open to inquiries from leaders and groups looking to develop programming to hone their skills and build capacity. Feel free to reach out via the form below.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: We believe our power as organizers is rooted in two connected skills -- the ability to communicate our values and to build teams that last. Whether teams need support with developing leadership or strategy, structure or tactics, systems and processes, or practices of inclusivity, collaboration, and self-care -- we can work with you to tailor an interactive workshop that gives organizers the time and space to consider their challenges and work collectively to address them.
VOLUNTEER EMPOWERMENT: Designed in collaboration with leadership teams and campaigns, we help you ensure your passionate and committed volunteers are not only well-prepared to execute strategy and tactics, but inspired to continue the work long after the campaign has ended.
COACHING HOUSE PARTIES
Tailored for your small group in a living room near you, these house parties can help you learn, incorporate, and improve upon field-proven best practices so you can do your most effective work. We know first-hand the real, on-the-ground impacts of getting a group together with a supportive coach to talk shop, learn from one another, and come away with creative ideas, new skills, and renewed energy.
No matter where you are on your path - rookie or old hand, team formed or forming - we’ll meet you there and focus on your unique needs, opportunities, and goals. Areas of focus include:
Building diverse, inclusive and sustainable teams
Planning your work through the phases of the election cycle
Volunteer recruitment and retention
Volunteer-centric orientation for field success
Best practices for planning and managing voter contact events
Conversations in the field - listening, connecting with stories, persuasion
Voter registration tactics and programming
Phonebanking and canvassing for ID, persuasion, and GOTV
Creativity and continuous improvement in all aspects of field
Campus organizing / Youth Vote
Self-care and sustainability for the cycle (including: relating to social media, news, polling)
Want more information, or a workshop to come to your community? Let us know.