Frequently asked questions: short answers
1. How do we connect with people outside of our circles?
- Host booths/tables to talk to new people!
- Engage with other groups. Find out about their activities, attend their events/meetings and, if appropriate, share about a campaign or project they might be interested in collaborating on.
- Recognize that different types of relationships are possible. We don't need to force total agreement and alignment. A group or individual may want to start by collaborating minimally, perhaps because they need to confirm the intentions of the group or individual approaching them (e.g., Tokenism, social capital).
- Keep in mind the importance of making collaboration enjoyable (and desirable). Don't make it a chore to collaborate!
2. How do we prevent activist burnout?
- If needed, agree to not have people assigned to certain tasks for a while - identify them as "on hold" and come back to them in a subsequent meeting
- Invite people to share if they need support so that the load felt can be distributed among the group
- Celebrate the good things!
- Groups easily fall into a culture of criticism, which drains people and feeds negative feelings. Feedback is healthy and necessary, but make sure it's followed with support or solutions.
- Have a caring culture. Practice non-violent communication and empathetic listening. You can join our 2-part conflict workshops for more on these skills!
- Make discussion on power dynamics a regular practice in your group. Many situations to burnout are the result of oppressions that are invisible or even denied (sexism, racism, classism, etc.).
Related, see the following printable resource for post-action care and recovery tips by the support and recovery team in Amsterdam.
We also include suggestions that are relevant to preventing burnout on the following wiki page: Diagnosing low group capacity
3. If we have a budget, how can we manage it democratically?
- structure (roles and decision making)
We suggest the following steps be taken:
- If working with a large budget, it is wise to consult with others outside of your group/organization who have managed large budgets and who are doing similar work.
- A starting point for where to allocate funding is: are you paying for operations, paying people, or both.
If you decide to pay people, define what this means for the group and clarify as much as possible the role of these people.
2. Discuss how you'll keep money coming in.
- This is especially key if you decide to pay people.
- Clarify the budget for what/what type of project or group is being funded. Make some kind of grant policy / budget allocation; see this example.
3. Bring together the different parties, roles or projects interested in receiving funds.
- Consider having an outsider (someone not interested in receiving funds) participate in the discussion.
- Discuss why each needs money and how much it estimates it needs need?
- For actions, don't discuss how much things cost until after you've done visioning/proposed an action plan. Have a second round of discussion for budgeting, adapting & drafting a proposal.
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