Whether we plan for it or not, new member onboarding is happening all the time: by attending our meetings and events, following our social media, and receiving our communications, potential future members and allies are forming impressions of DSA504, and based on those impressions deciding their level of involvement. Lacking a consistent and sustained approach to outreach, those less socially outgoing, newer to organizing, or less able to attend frequent meetings will all struggle to become involved and contribute to DSA504.
Further, while it’s critical to expand and develop our more directly-engaged membership, not everybody needs or wants to be involved in an active organizational role, or attend organizational meetings; members who are willing to occasionally volunteer their time, a specific skill, or donate will also be essential for DSA504’s growth.
With the Mobilizers Program, we aim to begin addressing these engagement issues by providing every potential and less-engaged member with a familiar face actively involved in the organization, to answer questions, listen to suggestions and concerns, and serve as a personal point of contact. Our goal is to assist and facilitate each new and less-involved member in finding a way to contribute and be productive parts of our collective struggle.
- Share unwritten organizational norms and procedures with new or less-involved members, and reduce cliquishness and organizational opacity
- Build social cohesion and encourage networks of solidarity, friendship and trust
- Build a list of members we can call on for specific skills (writing press releases, translation, has a truck, etc)
Stuff You’ll Need
- Comfort and familiarity with the DSA504 as an organization- we want mobilizers to have a general understanding of our basic rules/procedures, and some social familiarity with at least a few other folks in the chapter. That said, you don’t need to be an expert or a social butterfly! The mobilizer desk channel in slack (#mobilizerdesk) is there for if/when you’re not sure about the answer to a program member’s question, and being a mobilizer can be a great excuse/motivation to meet more chapter members.
- Phone for calls/texts* (see note on security)
- Time for 1-5 short calls per cycle
- Availability to attend at least one strategy session or social a month
- Ability to access the program’s Mobilizer App via web browser
* Note on security: there are definitely greater than negligible risks involved in using your personal phone number for DSA504 outreach. If you’d like to be in the mobilizer program but are uncomfortable contacting program members using your normal number, let us know and we can help you set up a service like Google Voice or Burner. These services allow you to set up a temporary, disposable phone number from which to call and text program members (and even allow you to text from your computer, which is handy).
How it works
Each cycle, you’ll be assigned the name and contact info for at least one, and at most five, program members to take through the onboarding process; you’ll have the full duration of the cycle to do this, on your own schedule (one of our goals with this system is to distribute the workload for onboarding as much as possible, so be reassured we’ll try to keep the number of program members assigned to each mobilizer to a minimum). The complete list of steps in the onboarding process for each assigned member is described below.
In addition to the contact information for each program member, we’ll also provide you with a link to a form to track your progress- as you complete each step of the onboarding process, just fill out the form.
Sketchball Note: If at any point a program member you’re mobilizing makes you uncomfortable, or you suspect may be an infiltrator or other bad actor, stop the mobilizing process for that program member and check the red “Mark as Sketch” checkbox at the bottom of the onboarding form, and we’ll follow up with you.
Oboarding Cycle Overview
- Initial Text
An initial text to schedule an intake call. If you don’t get a reply after 24 hours, that’s okay! Just select “no reply” and press the “Mark as Done” button at the bottom of the form.
- Intake Call
A short (less than 10 minutes) call to record the Program Member’s interests and skills, and to schedule a meetup at a DSA event.
- Followup Text
A quick text the day after the intake call to thank the Program Member for chatting and send them the details of the Event meetup.
- Social/General Meetup
Your chance to meet your Program Member in person at an official event, and answer any questions or concerns they might have.
Below are sample scripts and guidelines for each step of the onboarding process. Keep in mind this is just an outline, and very much a work in progress- feel free to use your own words in each of the designated call and texts, and if in the course of acting as a mobilizer you have suggestions to improve or streamline the process, let us know!
- Initial Text
Hi [Program Member Name]! This is [Your Name] from New Orleans DSA. We got your info from our site and we’d love to talk to you. Do you have time today or soon for a phone call?
- Intake Call
- Determine if the program member has any preexisting interest in a specific committee, project or campaign
- Identify any skill or resources the program member would like to contribute to DSA504
- Invite program member to next social or general meeting
Stuff Helpful to Know/Have Handy
- The date/time/location of the social or general meeting (or both) you’re attending this cycle
- The DSA events calendar
- A computer to fill out the intake form (or pen and paper to record it, to enter later)
Intake Call Sample Script
- Make sure you’re talking to the right person
“Hi, is this [Program Member Name]?”
- Introduce yourself
“This is [Your Name] from the DSA New Orleans mobilizers program- I’ve been assigned to you though the program, to act as a point of contact for you to DSA New Orleans, to answer any questions you might have, and help you get involved. First though I’ve just got a couple quick questions, if that’s cool?”
- Identify pre-existing committee or project interest
“I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the stuff we’ve been working on or our committees, but if you are, is there a specific committee or project we’re involved in that you know you’d be interested in?”
- Identify skills/resources the program member would like to contribute
“Could I get the pronoun you prefer to be called by (she/he/they/etc), and your occupation?”
“Do you have any additional skills or experience that you’d be interested in contributing- like design, photography, writing, childcare, etc?”
- Answer any questions
“OK, so do you have any questions about DSA?”
If somebody ask a question you’re not sure about, note it, say “Honestly, I’m not sure- let me check on that and get back to you.”, and post the question in the #mobilizerdesk channel so you can text back an answer later.
“If you think of any any [more] questions, just text me at this number.”
- Schedule meetup
“Alright, so if you’re still interested in getting involved in DSA, one of the best ways is to come to a [social/general meeting]– I’ll be at the next one at [location] on [date/time]– it’s a great way to meet some of the members, meet the committee stewards/leadership, etc. and see what we’re all about. Think you could make that?”
If not, suggest another DSA public event, or a committee meeting, if they expressed interest in a specific committee
- Say Bye, and thanks for their time
- Make sure you’re talking to the right person
- First Followup Text (Send 24-48 hours after intake call)
“Hey [Program Member Name] – was really nice talking to you the other day, just wanted to follow up to make sure you had the details of our [social/general]: [location/date/time]. Hope to see you there!
- Social/General Meetup Suggestions & Guidelines
- We’ll make an announcement at the event, but find your program members and introduce yourself!
- Keep an open mind and be friendly
- Learn about your program members– their interests, best way to contact, availability, etc
- Make introductions– particularly to members that share interests, professions or are in committees your program member has expressed interest in
- Explain basic stuff– committee/leadership structures, general meetings, grievance policy, etc
- Answer any questions; if you’re not sure, note and contact #mobilizerdesk (or ask around the event- if the question is pertinent to a specific committee or project, it can be an opportunity to introduce the program member to a DSA member.)