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Building Your Group’s Structure

With a critical mass of parents interested in organizing, it’s time to pick a name for your group.  The name should reflect your mission and be immediately recognizable. Naming your group gives your efforts legitimacy because it shows that you are unified and organized, and demonstrates to the public, media, and government that you are serious about tackling your issue. It also allows your group to easily serve as a point of contact for any media who are interested in your story. Do not underestimate the importance of this simple step.

Possible Committees for Your Group


Membership

Committee


Outreach

Committee


Media

Committee


Events

Committee


Fundraising

Committee


Legislative

Committee

Training Parent Leaders

As you dive into this section, you might be thinking “But I don’t know what a parent leader looks like!” Recruiting other parents to your cause is hard enough; how will you know how to find and cultivate leaders?

If that’s you, then take a deep breath – and look in the mirror. By reading this guide and building a parent network, you already are a leader. Start this process by asking yourself what drew you to this cause and what could get others to do the same.

Finding Partners

You as a parent don’t have to take on this fight alone. There are many national and state-based organizations and community groups that would make great partners for your efforts, and this section discusses how you can find and partner with them.

The first step is to do your research! If you’re starting from scratch, take a look at the list below, and make a list of other groups in your town and your state. Of course, you probably already have some groups to start with, even if you don’t realize it! Many people are members of civic organizations, churches, clubs, and so on. Even if you aren’t a member, maybe you’ve attended local events that these groups put on. You can start by making a list of all the groups that you belong to or know about and ask your members to do the same thing.

Keeping Your Group Growing and Strong

Elected officials ultimately often look to the input they receive from their constituents. More than most other issues, educational choice is an emotional and controversial policy area, and regardless of what party your representatives are in, what their public statements might be, or what their district looks like, you can expect that they will hear from opponents of educational choice loudly and often.

What If You Can’t Organize in Person? 

Throughout this guide, we’ve talked about remote alternatives to various activities and events. But each state and community is different. You might be reading this guide knowing that your state legislature will be having a shortened session or holding important meetings remotely – or maybe they’re meeting as normal but not allowing people to come in and meet with them in their offices. Maybe you have planned out a campaign, but now something has changed in your community, and it’s either not safe to meet or just isn’t practical.

Supporting Your Efforts

You might have noticed that a lot of what we’ve talked about so far is free – meeting in free meeting rooms, using online tools to connect with members, emailing or calling your state legislators, and so on. But other things, like getting t-shirts, printing materials, and getting to the state capitol cost money.

Raising money can be a challenge, and it is one where your fight will seem the most lopsided, because unions and other opponents are often well organized and start off with lots of money and resources already in hand. You will have to figure out how to pay for things that your group is doing that cost money.

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