…..Transformative campaigns push us to expand the lens we use to measure success. Two years ago I wrote an appeal to progressive institutions to think differently about what it means to “win.” I drew on my experience as NDWA’s Campaign Director and from work with affiliates and allies to capture some lessons from our transformative campaigns and how we measured our success. Allies’ campaigns have echoed and expanded upon these lessons:
When “winning” means having the types of power and capacities needed to govern based on our values, success is not defined solely as policy change. Success must also be measured in the increased alignment, capacities and infrastructure built in the process, together.
Governing and building independent political power cannot, and should not, be done by one organization or institution alone. Many of the progressive organizations focused on building independent political power are increasingly connected through national networks like People’s Action and the Working Families Party, as well as the multi-network capacity and field-building initiatives like the Inclusive Democracy Project and the Partnership Fund. Building and running transformative organizing campaigns is amongst the most necessary work to operationalize strategic and functional collaboration across our sectors, networks and institutions.
As a reflection on the lessons I’ve learned from these organizations and our allies, I offer Eight Features of Transformative Campaigns to describe how campaigns can be transformational (vs. transactional) — making them essential for building the alignment we need to move from grievance to governance…..