What issues will you choose to tackle? Multi-issue groups
Democracy groups are bound to cover a wide range of concerns and issues. When you initially get together with other activists you may find that priorities lie in different places. Some members of your group may be more interested in lobbying, others might care more about Lords reform, while others still may think voting rights for 16 years olds should be a priority. Sometimes it can feel like it’s impossible to please everyone! Especially as you get more people involved. Rest assured, there are ways of making a multi-issue group work.
Diversity is a good thing
Having a wide range of different opinions about different topics is often what makes a group work. Pluralism means opportunities for discussion and collaborative work, while if everyone thinks exactly the same way, “groupthink” can happen.
Embrace diversity of opinion and interests, they will make you stronger!
Making sure everyone gets heard
Sometimes, people might think their personal interest is the most important and attempt to make the group all about that. This can be off-putting for other members.
The key to negotiating this common problem is fostering an environment where people are comfortable to share differing opinions and that everybody gets heard. This hinges on how the meeting is facilitated: make sure everybody who wants to speak gets to speak and that nobody dominates the meeting. Also make sure it stays polite throughout!
We only have so much time and resources to dedicate to activism, and, as we discussed in “How is your group going to work?” delegation is crucial.
For a group covering a range of issues, it’s often helpful to have small sub-groups specific to various different topics; these are known as working groups. You’ll find that people will be highly motivated to be active in setting up and participating in a working group for their particular areas of interest.
This way, a smaller number of enthusiastic individuals can throw themselves into the nuts and bolts of campaigning, while the rest of the group can take on a supporting role. The additional benefit of working like this is that your group can work on lots of different projects at once.
It’s important that there’s communication between the working groups and the main group: working groups should keep everyone else up to date with what they’re doing and make sure everyone else in the group is comfortable with the direction they’re taking.
Set campaign priorities
Once a year have a planning meeting where as a group you set the priorities for the year. Don't go for more than 3 and use this as an opportunity to get all the members involved in deciding.