Authors: Carol Chetkovich & Frances Kunreuther
Date of Publication: 2007
Publisher: Cornell University Press
From the Ground Up takes a close look at how social-change organizations address challenges related to leadership, staff development, decision-making, resource needs, and collaborations. Carol Chetkovich and Frances Kunreuther, both experienced nonprofit managers, draw on their in-depth interviews with leaders and staff members from sixteen diverse social-change organizations to provide a detailed analysis of these groups and their activities. They note that even working in isolation, these organizations make important contributions to justice in their communities; together they might form the base of a larger progressive movement for change.
Academic theories are great, but students often lack the real-world experience with which to make sense of them. Likewise, practitioners have real experiences, but are frequently have only been exposed to a limited number of ideas about leadership, governance, and organization. This book aims to build the much-needed bridge between the two worlds. The authors, who clearly know their organizational models and means, explore these concepts and topics through detailed case studies of 16 real world social change organizations (SCOs). The cases cover a range of different types of change, different organizational forms and priorities, and different resource pools. Yet they all share the same basic challenges that typically concern classes on nonprofit organizing: how to be inclusive while still maintaining a decision structure; how to prepare for change; how to build a learning environment while benefiting from members’ expertise; how to work together while protecting the autonomy of each organization; how to mobilize volunteers without exploiting them; and how to build an organizational structure that supports both their goals and their values.
For instructors at both the advanced undergraduate and graduate level, this book will ground the conceptual materials in tangible cases. It also allows and encourages us to expand teach about social change organizations more broadly rather than social service groups on the one hand, or social movement organizations on the other.
For organizers, it will take the reader through the steps of planning and operating an organization with a social conscience. From the Ground Up can be an invaluable tool for organizational planning.
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