“We speak often of the courage of the American pioneers; those first audacious few who settled new regions of our country, cleared the land, and blazed a trail for those who followed… Being a pioneer in the most important grassroots movement of my lifetime--well, this most definitely requires a great deal of special skill, plus laser-beam focus, and very thick skin.”
Lorie Medina grew up watching her father, a Baptist minister, build a community at their local church, rallying volunteers and organizing events. She learned that you can get a lot done if you treat everyone with respect, give them an easy-to-follow plan, and follow up with lots of encouragement. Today, she uses those same organizational and leadership skills—and conservative principles—in creating a highly successful get-out-the vote program for the Tea Party movement. Dubbed "Victory in a Box," Medina unveiled her strategy in her hometown of Dallas, Texas Tea Party, where it was so successful that it was subsequently replicated around the country. Ms. Medina describes the practical steps any committed volunteer can use to build their own successful local get-out-the-vote program.An excerpt from Community Organizing for Conservatives
We speak often of the courage of the American pioneers; those first audacious few who settled new regions of our country, cleared the land, and blazed a trail for those who followed. In addition to courage, a pioneer needs special skills. Being a pioneer in the most important grassroots movement of my lifetimewell, this most definitely requires a great deal of special skill, plus laser-beam focus, and very thick skin. The good news is that the pioneers build a road for the others to follow. And every group of newcomers makes that road a little easier to travel.
My father could be considered a pioneer in our family. He felt the calling to full-time ministry and left a cushy, upwardly mobile position with AT&T to become a Baptist minister. His life-changing decision also led me down a providential path. I became what is infamously known in church circles as a “PK”--a preacher’s kid. Years later, I would use the lessons I learned from watching my parents serve tirelessly and selflessly in church. Those lessons laid the foundation for my efforts in the Tea Party movement.
Still, my observations here about organization reflect not theology but merely human nature. The secrets of my organizational strategy for the Tea Party stem from good and bad church experiences. Treating a volunteer with grace and kindness will hold your organization together much better than being negative and unforgiving. Leading by example and by encouraging others to follow is much more effective than barking mandatory orders. Six years after walking away from a successful career in telecommunications to dedicate myself to full-time motherhood, I was drawn, as if by a magnet, to the Tea Party movement. I was in the front row at Victory Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on February 27, 2009, with my youngest daughter, my sister, and two nephews in tow. This event was the ray of hope I had been searching for.
Since that day, I have founded my own local Tea Party group, which I still run. I’ve started or helped to start more than a hundred grassroots groups. Starting that many groups may sound impressive, but don’t be deceived. Keeping them alive and thriving, that’s the difficult part.