Sweet on the outside, empty power/political calories on the inside...
It’s not hard to recognize the type if you know where to look. Candy Coated Organizing (CCO) is characterized by dash for cash parachute drops into crisis hotspots with an oh so trendy media flash that purports help is on the way.
Who’s taken a sudden interest in Baltimore these days? No local knowledge or experience? No problem. Nothing of substance to offer? So what.
Photo ops and declarative concern are bankable and spokespersons buildable. That’s Strategy A.
Strategy B is to figure out - not hard at all - the next hot thing in foundation land and claim a leading role in doing whatever is up trending there. No one’s going to know the difference anyway so why not?
Strategy C is to claim victory in a fight initiated and won by somebody else. If it’s on your website for a while and you ginned up a bit of earned media your role is secure.
Strategy D is to pretend you have something big and national when what you have is piddling and diddling on the ground. Foundation land loves this vision of grand geographic spread with strong centralized leadership astride a vast grassroots following.
And the money keeps rolling in from all directions.
Frank C. Pierson, Jr.
Frank Pierson retired after forty years of work with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) as a professional organizer. He began his career in 1971 in Chicago, moved to Queens, New York City and migrated west to work in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. He resides with his wife, Mary Ellen Kazda, in Oracle, Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org