Citizens’ groups fighting to protect natural spaces, stop incinerators, ensure more sustainable planning etc. are usually outgunned by “experts”, outmaneuvered by municipal staff, shut out by local media and outfoxed by politicians. But citizens groups can beat all these odds and win.
Over the past couple of years, Oakvillegreen Conservation Association has offered more than 30 Organize To Win seminars to non-profit community groups around the province. These seminars, led by Oakvillegreen Conservation Association president Liz Benneian, an award-winning community activist and environmental leader, teach groups how to build strong organizations and become effective advocates.
Oakvillegreen has been a tremendously successful citizens’ organization, partly because it had the help of some experienced organizers. (See its successes at: www.oakvillegreen.org under main menu click on “Our Accomplishments”). Oakvillegreen now wants to pass that experience and learning on to other organizations so they can be more effective in their battles.
The seminar discusses: how to organize; forming successful strategies; developing effective tactics; getting publicity; understanding bureaucracies and politicians and avoiding pitfalls. Plenty of real life examples of successes and strategies will be given and those attending will be encouraged to add to the discussion with their stories and questions.
The seminar is geared to give participants useful tools their groups can employ immediately to become more successful.
The seminar is especially helpful to groups that are just forming, offering critical information on how to get a new group organized. This seminar is not just for group leaders but for all members who want to learn how to become more successful advocates.
Seminar leader Liz Benneian is a former newspaper editor who has been president of Oakvillegreen since 2005. In 2010, she received an award from Heritage Ontario for her efforts in preserving the Province’s natural heritage. In 2009, she was the recipient of Earth Day Canada’s National Hometown Hero Award. She is a previous recipient of the Town of Oakville’s Spirit Award and Rotary’s Paul Harris Award for community service. Liz has helped found several environmental organizations and given the Organize To Win seminar to more than 30 community groups around the province.
Oakvillegreen is grateful to Mountain Equipment Coop that provided funding for eight Organize To Win seminars from Spring 2010 to Spring 2011.
Notes from the Organize To Win Seminars have been provided online here
. Please note that these are bare bones notes from the seminars that are four hours long and include many stories of real life successes and failures to illustrate the points made in the notes.
For more information on Organize To Win or to book a seminar, please email