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Retro: Members Unite! You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Newsletter And Crappy Coffee Cup Premiums...
Jamais Cascio, 24 Aug 05

This September, 2004, post from Alex ranks as having the longest title of any WorldChanging post (at least until this one). More importantly, Members Unite!... was a sharp and controversial declaration that the world of advocacy had changed, and that very few of the big, established advocacy NGOs had changed along with it. A new model is being born, one that's more collaborative, informed and hands-on -- and has the potential to change the world.

I have no doubt that such a shift will drive some NGOs out of business. This is a good thing. NGOs were never intended to be perpetual. They should exist at the sufferance of the world's need to change, not stumble on, zombie-like, until the heat death of the universe. We could use some house-cleaning. But I also have no doubt than many more NGOs would thrive and become more effective in a world of advocacy networks.

For groups which excell at including members in their activities, advocacy networks will be like horse steroids: they'll get bigger, leaner, faster, stronger. For groups with an extremely specific focus and the humility to take the time to explain why that focus is important, advocacy networks will be incredible boons, providing the most effective way for small groups to find focused allies. For groups willing to learn how to collaborate on the fly, and work from a campaign-centric model, advocacy networks will be transformative.

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