To make progress on the pressing issues we face today, organizers and advocates need the skills and training to turn a desire to change the status quo into meaningful and impactful civic action. But finding the time to attend a training in person can often mean time away from other everyday priorities. That's why OFA offers online trainings—where you can develop your skills without leaving your home. And if you miss a live online training, you can always check out the recording and watch it at a time that's convenient for you. Whether you're looking for introductory-level skill building or something more advanced, we have a training series for you.
Turning Action Into Organizing
Research has shown that our country is becoming more politically polarized - it is increasingly difficult to find shared values even amongst our own neighbors and agree on how the United States should look in the future. That’s why it’s all the more imperative that organizers and activists have the skills they need to communicate across lines of difference to make real, progressive change in our country.
OFA has designed a five part series aimed at developing skills in persuasion and communication. In this series, we cover effective listening, communicating your values, knowing your ‘why’, developing your theory of change, motivational interviewing and key skills for talking to voters—ultimately developing a suite of skills that you can use to have more effective conversations. This series combines social science, psychology, and best practices for political organizers, and gives participants room for practice, feedback, and application of the craft—right in time for 2018.
Part 1: Effective listening:
In this training, we ground ourselves as listeners. In a recent study, 78% of the United States population indicated they were highly effective listeners, but only a quarter of the people polled could repeat back what was shared. This training focuses on the ability to listen for the underlying values that people try to convey when they speak, and how to build a connection based on shared ideas and beliefs.
Part 2: Know your why:
Many Americans have ideas about how to change our country for the better. But why are we not always compelled by them? It’s likely because we don’t always hear the underlying values behind why they care about the change in the first place—their ‘why. Through this training, we will help you identify your own ‘why’, and practice communicating it in a clear, persuasive way that allows others to connect with your ideas/story.
Part 3: Why, how, what:
Through the theory established in Part 2 (knowing your why), we’ve created the space to practice communicating what makes you tick, and we can add on your theory of change for what makes a community more healthy. We end this training by pulling together your motivation, theory of change, and an organizer’s best friend—the hard ask. This training sets you up with a practical framework that you can use in multiple organizing settings, from canvassing your neighborhood to talking to your congressional representatives.
Part 4: Motivational interviewing:
Using a technique borrowed from clinical psychology, motivational interviewing helps practitioners to identify contradictions in what people are saying—highlighting assumptions that are being made, and stating them in a non-judgemental way. Research shows that when people are able to state their own contradictions, they are more likely to change their behavior. Though challenging, this training provides useful techniques that you will come back to again and again, not just in your organizing work, but in your personal and professional conversations as well.
Part 5: Voter contact best practices:
Talking to voters presents a challenge, we have thousands and thousands to talk to, but they must also be quality conversations. These two factors often create a push-pull effect; if we increase the quantity of conversations they often have lower quality but if we increase the quality we often get lower quantity. In this training we will cover three types of voter contact and how to incorporate relational organizing powerfully into voter conversations.
Effective Conversations I: Effective Listening
We must first ground ourselves as listeners. This training focuses on the ability to listen for the underlying values that people try to convey when they speak, and how to build a connection based on shared ideas and beliefs.
Effective Conversations II: Know Your Why
Many Americans have ideas about how to change our country for the better. But why are we not always compelled by them? It’s likely because we don’t always hear the underlying values behind why they care about the change in the first place—their ‘why’. Through this training, we will help you identify your own ‘why’, and practice communicating it in a clear, persuasive way that allows others to connect with your ideas/story.
Effective Conversations III: How, Why, What?
This training sets you up with a practical framework that you can use in multiple organizing settings, from canvassing your neighborhood to talking to your congressional representatives.
Toolkits and resources
With the right resources and support, everyone—from first-time action takers to veteran organizers—can make their voices heard and achieve real, tangible results.
Sign up to learn more
Want to grow your skills? Not sure if there is a program that is right for you? Sign up to connect with an OFA staff member and learn which training track is right for you.