Membership Levels

What does it mean to be a member at Youth Power Coalition?

See our current draft!

Frameworks

The Art of Community

"We all want to be special to someone or several someones. We all aspire to belong to prestigious inner rings. Mature and strong communities create different levels of inner rings that members can enter (not to be superior snobs but to serve differently). At each level, members gain some benefits related to their maturation or formation. The benefits could include new access, knowledge, authority, acknowledgment, or respect. A typical progression will look something like this, with different labels:

  • Visitors
  • Novices
  • Members
  • Elders or senior members
  • Principal elders and skilled masters

In the context of Youth Power Coalition, I think this roughly shakes out to

  • Visitors → Followers (social media, newsletter)
  • Novices → Explorers (actively seeking more information)
  • Members → Members (consistent contributors)
  • Elders or senior members → Organizers (doing the work)
  • Principal elders and skilled masters → we hadn’t named this ring before, but today I just had a thought, perhaps this is Network Weaver (spreading the word, bringing people in, anchoring the culture, building the systems)

Network Weaver Handbook by June Holley (see more resources on Network Weaving)

“Networks are everywhere. But for networks to make a difference, someone has to help people become aware that they are part of a web of relationships. That someone is a Network Weaver. Network Weavers help shape and weave their networks so that they become more innovative and effective.”

Sometimes I think of Network Weavers as nodes. The people everyone knows. The people everyone relies on. The people everyone trusts—the people with the responsibility of lifting others up.

Community Organizing
Within the community organizing world, people often use the terms “base”, “members”, and “leaders”. The Center for Third World Organizing has the following levels on their Sample Engagement Ladder"

  • Observer: people we have sporadic and indirect communications with
  • Base: people we have regular and direct communications with
  • Engaged: People who engage in activities with us
  • Contributing: People who start taking on more initiative in ongoing collaborative work (selective involvement)
  • Leading: People who are actively leading the work we do, help with creating, planning, executing, and evaluating work (committed involvement)
  • Owning: People who are part of the creating, planning, executing, and evaluating work (influential involvement)

Distributed Membership

Something that I think could be interesting is the idea that each of our circles maps out what these inner rings look like in their context!

Journey Into Inner Rings

From The Art of Community:

Strong communities offer a journey (progression) into successive inner rings. While some members may choose to stay at a particular level, mature communities provide opportunities to progress in their series of inner rings. In the best examples, the progression reflects a journey of growth or maturation.

What does this journey look like at YPC? And, if we were to map it out, what supports enable someone to take the steps into their next ring?

Explore how the Center for Third World Organizing answered this question for themselves on their Sample Engagement Ladder.