Developing the Organization That Can Achieve Your Goals

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Introduction

Every organization has its own culture and resulting style. Effective organizations can have different structures and perform many distinct functions. Some are not static entities, but very organic in nature, changing as they must, to meet their goals and objectives.

There is no "just add water" formula for founding and sustaining an advocacy organization. There are some basic elements, though, and these basic elements can be arranged and interrelated in a number of ways.

We've listed some elements in the following pages that may be important in establishing and sustaining your advocacy organization. For now, you might want to skim through these and jot down questions or concerns you have about some of these issues. As you get closer to starting an organization, or to actively working on an aspect of an organization, you can home in on the relevant section. If you find, after you use the appropriate section and its accompanying template, that you need further help, please feel free to post your questions to the Genetic Alliance MemberForum email list. Visit the Genetic Alliance website at http://www.geneticalliance.org/ to join.

Structure: A strong, flexible structure is the basis of today's effective advocacy organization. Different advocacy organizations emphasize and depend on different aspects of their structures. Some may have a very robust board structure, or a large and experienced staff, while others may depend more on volunteers.

Resources: Advocacy organizations often possess dynamic and fluctuating resources. Some of these are: membership, leadership, financial resources, and intangibles unique to the organization. The quality and quantity of these resources fuel the organization.

Functions: For most advocacy organizations, the various functions are some combination of education, support, research, and advocacy. Understanding the interplay between structure and resources can help you ensure that your advocacy organization is prepared to deliver on the articulated goals.

Chapters

Organizational Structure

Resources for Development