Goals

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Definition:

What we want to win—a specific change in people’s lives

Key Principles

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  • A goal is rooted in values—how we want the world to be, rooted in our core vision of the kind of world that we want to live in and that we want to leave for our children. 
  • A goal is also rooted in emotion—there’s a gut feeling that something is not right in the world and that there’s a core injustice that needs to be addressed.
  • Choosing a goal is the art of turning problems into solutions. It’s the art of asking yourself: What concrete solutions could we create in the world that would begin to solve the challenges we face?
  • A goal needs to result in concrete changes in people’s lives—not only be about how we’ll make that change.
  • A goal needs to be winnable. There needs to be a clear, measureable point where you know if you’ve won or lost (or you need to keep fighting).

There are many types of goals: national, regional, state, and local; short-term and long-term. Some goals are very big and will take years, decades, or even centuries to accomplish. Some goals can be won in six months to a year with a strong campaign. There will often be goals within goals—a nationally shared goal for a movement and local goals related to that national goal.

Examples:

  • Jobs for all unemployed Americans.
  • All teachers at PS 107 should have dignity and respect on the job and be able to bargain for better wages and working conditions collectively.
  • All residents of New York who live below the poverty line should have access to affordable health care.

How To

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  • Developing goals requires leadership. This is another way of saying that this is not easy! Goals require leaders making decisions—we simply can’t focus on everything at once.
  • Make sure your goal describes a specific outcome. No goal can solve all the world’s ills. Work with your leaders to concretize your goal—achieving your goal will result in concrete improvements in people’s lives.
  • Think about how your organizing goal relates to other goals. For example, is it a goal to improve opportunities for employment in your town that is part of a larger movement for economic justice? No organizing really ever happens in a vacuum—but a goal must be concrete in order for your strategy to be concrete.

Take-Aways

 

  • 1. A goal needs to result in concrete changes in people’s lives—not only be about how we’ll make that change.

 

  • 2. A goal needs to be winnable.

 

  • 3. There are many types of goals: national, regional, state, and local; short-term and long-term. There will often be goals within goals—a nationally shared goal for a movement and local goals related to that national goal.

 

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