How to Run an Issue Team


Currently Active Santa Cruz Indivisible Issue Teams


What is the role of an Issue Team?

Issue teams develop and share actions that can be taken by hundreds of Santa Cruz Indivisible members in order to influence the votes of our members of congress (MoC). By sharing its recommended actions, the issue team amplifies its voice at least one hundred times using SCI’s far reaching social media channels.

Each issue team focuses on a topical area in which to develop expertise and methods for continuously tracking legislation and identifying related news and events at all levels of government (federal, state, and local).

Ideally, an Issue Team is small group of people (4-6), who are laser-focused on a particular issue that they are passionate about.  Issue teams will:

  • Focus on surfacing the real information about an Issue.
  • Identify the moving parts of the Issue and its’ participants.
  • Identify the Actions necessary to apply leverage to the situation to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Inform the SCI community of actions they can take and events they can attend.
  • Amplify the situation and necessary actions and events, through SCI Press and/or Social Media support.
  • Rinse and Repeat.

 

 

Leadership

The goal of an issue team is to be active and healthy in developing and sharing actions that can be taken by hundreds of Santa Cruz Indivisible members. There are many ways to approach leadership of an issue team. It may be one person has the time and energy, or it should be shared among multiple people. If you are a group or team leader, and are adding co-leader(s), please notify Admin so we can add that person to our database (admin@santacruzindivisible.org)


Best practices for sustaining issue teams

Every team is different, and there is no one best way of organizing a team. Here are some suggestions that can help teams stay active.

  • Co-leaders share the responsibilities and workload. This is very important if the leaders work, have families, or busy lives. Having a co-leader will relieve the pressure that can build up.
  • Leaders have leadership skills and experience. The leader or co-leaders need to know how to run a meeting, how to communicate effectively, how to delegate tasks, and how to keep members engaged. SCI Facilitators are available to assist in building these skills.
  • Three to six members in the team. Having a smaller team (less than 10) makes it easier to plan where to meet, track any assignments or other activity.
  • Team meets at least one time per month. An established team meets a minimum of once a month with email contact in between. Meeting frequency is usually determined by how new and/or how busy the team is. If the team’s area of focus is prominent in the news or in congress, more frequent meetings are common.
  • Team builds some food and fun into their activities. Getting together to socialize makes a significant difference in the enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence of the team. All three are needed for the well-being and longevity of the team.
  • Willingness to try new things and seek assistance. Openness to new ideas is key to attaining the full potential of the issue team. Consider how your team can help engage others such as developing and delivering training or workshops. Perhaps your team should coordinate and sponsor community events including films, lectures, discussion groups; and more!  If you realize that your team is not submitting many action items or participating in many activities; you can request help from an SCI facilitator.
  • Team is productive. Successful issue teams organize themselves to be productive, and are producing and submitting action items in a timely manner. Teams should also evaluate how how well things are working within the team and adjust. Your team can decide to shrink or enlarge your team’s focus to be more effective.
  • Team is dynamic. We are a volunteer organization run by people like you and me with jobs, families, and other obligations. It may be difficult for members to attend meetings of issue teams. There may be other ways the member can contribute to the team, e.g. research, write, and submit action items for the team on their own time.

Roles to consider for an Issue Team:

Facilitator (Optional/as necessary)

  • Person to help facilitate the meetings and assist with identifying games plans, actions and events.

Issue Team Lead

  • Plan meetings. This person will be responsible for finding a place/time for your next meeting and facilitating it. This person will always schedule the next deliverables (next meeting or action to be taken) before the end of the current meeting.
  • Facilitate communication among members and partners.
  • Be the primary “engine” to drive the process and make something happen.

Action Manager

  • Submit information, actions, and events to SCI Calendar

Partnerships & Outreach

  • Outreach to existing groups that are doing great work. “Strengthen the Strong” – Determine if it makes the most sense to simply provide people power to support existing organizations. Reach out to all potential partners and coordinate activities.

MoC Monitor

  • Person to keep tabs on the announcements, events, positions of Members of Congress.

Press Monitor

  • Person to keep tabs on publications, tv and other media (both left and right), to surface accurate information and identify the “fake news” or “alt-facts” (lies).

NOTE: depending on the size and scale of the actions or strategies that your group decides to pursue collectively, you may want to consider assigning more than one person to anyone of the above rolls, or even a working group each of these roles together.


Issues Team Frequently Asked Questions

 

What’s the difference between a Member Activist and an Issues Team Member?

We are glad you asked! Member Activists perform actions from our action calendar. This could involve emailing a member of Congress, sending postcards to MoCs, calling their office, boycotting a particular product, or going to a city council meeting. You can spend as much or as little time as your schedule allows. If you have just 15-30 min a day you can make a huge difference being a Member Activist. Member Activists are the core of our organization and use our actions calendar to amplify the effects of our actions identified by our Issue Teams. To learn more about what actions the Issue Teams are working on go to our Daily Actions page.

Issue Team Members spend 3-4 hours a week working with a team on a particular issue. Issue Teams do the research and create the Actions that go on the action calendar for Member Activists to do. Santa Cruz Indivisible currently has quite a few Issue Teams that are listed here. So make sure to check them out!

To join Santa Cruz Indivisible, fill out the form in our Footer below.

What if I want to form a new issue team?

That’s great! We love to have even more people involved in our organization. If, after reviewing our existing Issue Team list, you don’t see a group listed there and you want to launch a new issue team, please CONTACT US and let us know!

I have multiple interests, what do I do?

That’s wonderful! We encourage you to be as active as your schedule allows. Take a look here to find an activity based on your interest and available time.

Feel free to participate in groups and events that speak to you. We do not limit participation. We do find that picking a few issues to focus on helps to be the most effective in your activism but we would never want to limit you!! We alway need volunteers for marches or local events and if you’re interested just let us know.

How will I be notified of actions?

Be sure to Join Us here or using the form below in the footer.  As a member, you will get all of our emails - newsletters, special actions, event reminders.

You can always check our Daily Actions page for ongoing actions. We also post actions to  social media (look in the footer below):

How are actions added to the Daily Actions page?

We have multiple sources of for our Daily Actions.  These include Team Leaders for Issue Teams, Indivisible National and Indivisible CA.  We have limited resources to manage and post actions but do try to review and post all action requests to the Actions Calendar within 48 hours.

Can an issue team member speak on behalf of SCI?

When speaking to the public, we encourage you to identify yourself as a member of SCI, talk about SCI’s purpose and activities, and your team’s focus, projects and actions. Please avoid making statements on behalf of SCI or as if you speak for SCI. Visit the link to our mission and values.  

Can we interact with local groups that focus on the same issues as our team?

Yes! Many established groups in Santa Cruz have the same interests as SCI’s issue teams. SCI encourages collaboration with existing groups as long as they follow the same non-harm guidelines as SCI: We conduct our actions with non-harming intentions, and we do not seek conflict for conflict’s sake. That said, collaboration with other groups and organizations can create greater synergy, output, and impact for all.

What’s the role of the SCI Facilitator?

The success of our teams is one of our top priorities. To help them achieve their goals SCI Facilitators play a very important role by providing assistance to group leaders, Issue Team leaders and Issue Teams. Our facilitators are prepared to consult with group and/or Issue Team leaders to help them resolve issues that interfere with the group process. To achieve this, the Facilitator works one-on-one with the leader to help develop their leadership skills, analyze difficult situations, or develop strategies. Sometimes Facilitators, at the request of the team leader, can attend team meetings to lend a hand with improving processes and communications. If you think your group could benefit from the guidance of an SCI Facilitator, contact the admin@santacruzindivisible.org.

What’s the definition of an active team member?

An active team member attends at least 75% of the team meetings and/or performs an activity that the team needs in order to be successful. For example, a team member may not be able to attend most meetings, but they regularly research, write, and submit action items for the team.

Where do we go to get tech support for our team members?

We have a team of facilitators who are able and willing to attend meetings or assist on a one-on-one basis for those who would benefit from a demonstration. We have various technologies we are employing in our resistance work. To arrange for such assistance, please contact admin@santacruzindivisible.org