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Winter Organizing

What is Winter Organizing?

Winter organizing is not a program or bootcamp, but rather funding that directly supports educator voice campaigns to grow and strengthen local and state affiliates. Winter organizing funding specifically supports the implementation of Integrated Comprehensive Issue-Based Organizing Campaigns between January 15, 2020 to April 1, 2020.

What could you do this winter? Your affiliate may focus on identifying organizing issues, or on power by running civic academies, or by organizing parents and communities to articulate campaign demands. All these organizing activities constitute "winter organizing."

Organizing Principles

Integrated Comprehensive Issue-Based Organizing Campaigns are animated by the following principles.

Issues Matter. Sustained membership growth and retention are outcomes of authentic engagement on issues that our members have identified as priorities. Issues may vary, but there is always a traceable connection to educator voice.

Winning Matters. We must run campaigns and programs firmly anchored in achieving the demands related to our members’ priorities. Wins could be school board policies, new contract language, legislation, or any policy or practice change that meets the demands articulated by our members.

Funding Matters. Almost all our members’ demands have one thing in common: they cost money. Money that most districts do not have. This means that campaigns cannot end with the new school board policy or improved contract language. We must ensure there is a consistent funding source to meet members’ student-centered demands.

Integrating Local and State Affiliate Campaigns Matter. We believe that opportunities for deep structural changes affiliate membership growth depend upon building integrated local and state affiliate campaigns and programs that support both. This only happens when all affiliate stakeholders involved from beginning, to ensure that their voices are heard in the campaign planning process, and that all parties understand the local and state campaign plan to win!

Campaign Organizing Model

This campaign strategy focuses first on identifying local priorities through surveys and one-on-one conversations with educators, students, and community members. During this organizing period, affiliates will also develop and strengthen their internal organizing capacity, by building out organizing committee, building representative structures, and assess leaders and structures. Then, education associations and their coalition partners will generate demands related to these priorities. Priorities and demands can create a policy agenda for local school board races, inform the state affiliate’s legislative priorities, and help shape the revenue demands that the affiliate will make of the state legislature and governor.

Aligning Your Work: C4O & EPP

The Center for Organizing is partnering with NEA’s Education Policy & Practice Department to support affiliates that are engaging targeted locals for post-New Educator Campaign engagement but are concomitantly targets for post-Educator Voice Academy organizing. We encourage affiliates to consider targeting these locals for other NEA Center or Department work including but not limited to Teacher Leader Institutes (TLIs), Emerging Leader Institutes (ELIs), and Early Career Learning Labs (ECLLs).

Application Process

All NEA Center for Organizing grant applications must not be submitted electronically through the NEA grants portal. Additional documentation will also have to be filled out including the forthcoming Integrated Comprehensive Issue-Based Organizing Campaigns template (only complete the campaign planning step that your affiliate seeks to accomplish during Winter Organizing or from January 15, 2020 to April 1, 2020.)

Questions or Concerns?

Contact Michael Schoettle, NEA Field Manager, at



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