By the Indivisible East Bay Governance Committee
Early in 2023, Indivisible East Bay turned to making plans for how to show up during the 118th Congress. We know that we want to do two key things: keep fighting for justice at all levels of government, and lay the groundwork for 2024 so that we win a trifecta again in Washington DC. (Oh, is that all!)
And since we don’t have the 2024 election breathing down our necks yet, this is also the perfect time for us to grow our own internal capacity. This includes:
- Building solidaristic ties among membership,
- Identifying more ways to make IEB engaging and rewarding for members,
- Improving our skills (and/or learning new ones), and
- Developing leadership.
And as a grassroots organization, IEB needs member input on the goals that our group should pursue, as well as ideas for how we should pursue those goals. To make plans for IEB, 27 of us gathered at the January All Members Meeting (AMM) for a facilitated session to gather member input. We did not make any final decisions – but this was an important step in understanding where IEB members want to put their energy, and what members believe is the best way to work together toward progressive change. Read on to learn about: (1) the January AMM planning process and the ideas we brainstormed on forming new teams; (2) our plan for launching teams; (3) resources from Indivisible National that will help inform team strategy; and (4) how the new AMM schedule will support relationship-building!
What we did at the January AMM Planning Session
- Sharing background information about IEB and the new Indivisible strategy. To provide context before gathering member input, we (1) reviewed the types of work that IEB already does; (2) shared a high-level overview of the new Indivisible Guide. To see this context, take a look at slides 1-16 of the deck presented at the AMM.
- Brainstorming goals for IEB. Next we participated in a goals brainstorming activity – we imagined what headlines we would like to see in January 2025 that told the world what IEB had accomplished over the last two years. To see what we brainstormed, check out this deck.
- Prioritizing goals. After the headlines were reorganized into goal areas, we used dots to (1) vote on where we thought IEB should focus, and (2) indicate the desire to personally get involved in a particular goal area. To see how the headlines were reorganized into goal areas, as well as the dot voting results, check out this deck.
- Breaking into small groups to brainstorm ideas for launching teams. We used the top four vote-getting goal areas (electoral, democracy, climate, and housing) to structure break-out sessions. People went into Zoom break-out rooms to discuss four potential teams. To see the facilitation notes, check out this GDoc.
Plan for Launching New IEB Teams
At the AMM meeting, we identified four potential teams that attendees were interested in joining: electoral, democracy, climate, and housing. To launch the teams, we will use these principles as touchstones:
- No need to do everything all at once. We do not immediately need four teams! We may start with three, two, or even just one. Let’s take it slow, and focus our effort on the teams that garner the most interest and enthusiasm. Governance committee members will reach out to those who shared an interest in a particular team to learn more about what teams might actually be ready to launch in the next month or so.
- Don’t stay wedded to this initial list of teams. These four teams bubbled to the top at the January AMM, but not everyone had a chance to give input. One or more of the teams may drop off our list (at least for now), and with more input we may identify other teams that members are interested in.
Teams will be successful only if members step into leadership roles. Teams will wither on the vine without leaders! And an excellent way to build your own skills – something that is mission critical to building IEB’s capacity – is to take on a leadership role to help the team accomplish its goals.
- Team leads will have robust and ongoing support! No one will be thrown into the deep end. Here are the types of support available:
- The Governance Committee is developing a team-building toolkit that leads can use to guide their work.
- Teams will launch with a governance committee member to facilitate a planning session or two, in order to make a team workplan – a plan that will include concrete tasks for getting the team rolling soon!
- A governance committee member will also take on a support role on the team (for as long as that role is needed).
- All IEB members with an interest in becoming team leads will have coaching from a governance committee member.
- Leveraging the efforts of California StateStrong (CASS) and IEB’s ongoing MOC work is key to new teams’ success. As part of CASS, California’s Indivisible groups lobby to push for key state legislation. And IEB meets regularly with our Senators and Representatives. Each team should look for opportunities to integrate their own work with CASS and IEB’s MOC teams.
- Collaboration with groups or coalitions outside of Indivisible is also key. Teams should not reinvent wheels that other advocacy groups or local coalitions have already invented! Teams should identify other relevant groups and coalitions, and find ways to collaborate with those organizations, or plug into campaigns already underway.
So what’s next for teams?
- If you attended the January AMM and left your name and contact info in the “team rosters,” a Governance Committee member will reach out to you so we can chat about how you see yourself fitting in, and what you’d most like to do!
- If you were not at the meeting but are exploring the idea of getting involved, please fill out this short survey, and we’ll follow up.
- Once we have people signed up to be on teams, we’ll find a good time for a team launch meeting.
Relationship-Building and New Plan for AMMs!
As shared above, IEB wants to focus more on relationship-building among our membership. One of the ways we’ll do this is to alternate “business” AMMs (on Zoom) with in-person social AMMs. Our social AMMs will always include an action component of some kind, but we’ll also have the chance to keep “indivisigathering”! So keep an eye out for more info on our February social AMM. Look forward to seeing you there!
Indivisible National’s Guidance to Indivisible Groups for the Next Two Years
If you have not already read Indivisible’s new Guide, please do! It’s chock full of ideas for how we can lay the groundwork to win back the trifecta in 2024. We used it as a reference point in our AMM planning session – it’s a valuable resource that IEB can look toward as we build our own capacity and develop our own initiatives.