Working Group Best Practices
Keeping a working group active and organized is no simple task! Here's a collection of tips and tricks we've learned so far that help keep things moving.
As stated in our Organizing Document, working groups are expected to report back to the General Assembly. That means sending one representative to the monthly GA to give an update about your group. Other than that, there's no hard requirements for working groups but here are some things that can help your working group stay plugged-in to the rest of MACC:
- Have one group member attend the monthly organizing meeting.
- Have anyone helping run the group join the organizing email list.
- Send a written report back to MIOP for the GA booklet.
- Have a spokes person for your working group join the MACC Money Spokes.
- Add/update a wiki page for your working group. (Add Category:Working Groups to the page!)
- Have a way for external folks to contact your working group.
There are a few kinds of working groups: Infrastructure, Activity and Issue working groups.
- The Infrastructure working groups primarily support Issue working groups.
- Issue working groups do on-going work around a particular topic.
- Activity working groups also often support Issue working groups, but not alway, and are usually focused on one type of work, like jail support, being present at street actions and rallies, or organizing around learning and outreach.
There are a few different ways working groups communicate, some use Signal, some use email lists, some use other online chat platforms. There are pros and cons of each! In MACC, most working groups organize on Signal threads. If using e-mail, it's recommended to use a listserv that people can leave or join easily, such at Gaggle, rather than just an email chain.
Working groups take many shapes. There's no right way or ways to structure a group, but here are some forms our current groups take:
- Some working groups manifest as just a signal thread that's activated when needed.
- An example of this is the MACC Jail and Court Support working group. When jail or court support is needed, anyone in the group messages the Signal thread to remind/inform folks.
- Some working groups hold regular meetings, either in person or online.
- MACC Emergency Action for instance holds a weekly online chat to decide what upcoming actions to support.
- Some working groups are closed. This means their meeting are only open to folks already involved in the group, and only trusted folks in the broader community would be asked or invited to join. This is often the case because the work requires trust, commitment or privacy.
- MACC Legal is a closed working group.
- Some working groups have organizers and participants.
- For example, Conflict Revolution uses two Signal loops to organize. One is folks planning and teaching the sessions, and one is folks who attend or are interested in attending the sessions.
- Some working groups are open, but their meetings are held at private locations so they're spread by word-of-mouth.
- Many groups in MACC function this way! If you're interested in a group that doesn't have open meetings, you might have to ask around at a few GAs before you get connected.
- Some working groups have a spokes-like structure, where smaller groups or other working groups do more specialized work and there's a core group coordinating. Often groups focused on projects or issues take this stature.
- The No Platform campaign is an example of this. There's an organizing group that coordinates the longer-term campaign and that group includes folks from other working groups to do specific work, such as MACC Emergency Action planning street actions, MACC Tech working on the plug-in and MACC Press helping talk with reporters.
Finding places to meet