How to let members lead with distributed organising

Distributed organising is all about creating opportunities for supporters to take an active, meaningful role in the strategy and execution of a campaign — to feel a real sense of ownership over the issue at hand. When you build power in this way, the number of people passionately engaged in the cause grows, as does the number of pathways to leadership.

The benefits are huge, but many NGOS and advocacy groups remain wary of distributed organising. How do we “let go” and still win? What sorts of tools and resources are necessary to support people to lead?

On 3 October 2018, MobLab Live brought together special guests Mary Alice Crim (Field Director, Free Press and Free Press Action), Landry Ninteretse (Africa Regional Team Leader, 350.org), and Cecili Thompson Williams (Executive Director, Beyond the Bomb) to discuss these questions and more. Watch the recording or read the full recap here.

Missed this MobLab Live? Watch a recording below or on YouTube.

Mary Alice Crim

Mary Alice Crim

Field Director, Free Press and Free Press Action

Mary Alice sets national field strategy, runs campaigns, supervises organisers and participates in ongoing policy initiatives through organising and public education activities. One of her recent efforts includes co-leading Team Internet, a grassroots, decentralized group of nearly half a million people working together to maintain net neutrality. Team Internet organises alongside hundreds of other groups and individuals concerned with media and technology issues. The team is supported by a small and dedicated staff from three partner organizations: Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action. She has extensive experience running national conferences, local events, online trainings and webinars, and chairs the board of an award-winning community media and arts center in Massachusetts called Northampton Community Television. When Mary Alice isn’t working she’s likely taking on one of her hobbies: softball, volleyball, playing with her dog, gardening, community herbalism and brewing.

Landry Ninteretse

Landry Ninteretse

Africa Regional Team Leader, 350.org

An environmental activist and Panafricanist, Landry Ninteretse is a member of several national and regional environmental networks who has been working with 350.org since 2009 to build and consolidate the regional climate movement. He is currently serving as Africa Regional Team Leader at 350.org where he has led and scaled various climate campaigns across the region. Landry is also a co-founder of Action for Peace and Development (APD), a group that worked extensively with youths and other Burundian civil society organisations to mitigate radicalism and prevent large-scale violence.

Cecili Thompson Williams

Cecili Thompson Williams

Director, Beyond the Bomb

Cecili is the Director of Beyond the Bomb, leading a team of kick-ass campaigners and activists to mobilise against the threat of nuclear weapons and war. She has nearly two decades of experience leading mission-driven campaigns with organisations including Amnesty International USA, RESULTS Educational Fund, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. Most recently she founded and served as the Chief Strategist for We Divine Water, a consulting group helping smart and passionate changemakers build strategic and effective campaigns. A strong believer in continually building power and capacity, Cecili has trained thousands of campaigners on how to maximize their impact within their organisations and in the world at large. She also serves as a faculty member at the Center for Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Arts, where she teaches a graduate seminar on campaign strategy. When she’s not campaigning, she can be found freezing at an ice rink with her skating daughters or running slowly in a forest.