Become an Organizer

About Organizing

The Industrial Areas Foundation seeks to recruit, train, and develop a new generation of organizers to work in one of the groups that already exist and to assist in new strategies and targeted campaigns. The IAF seeks women and men from colleges, graduate programs, seminaries, business and law schools, the military, political campaigns, and other professions who are interested in exploring careers in organizing.

Qualities of a Successful Organizer:

  1. NATIVE INTELLIGENCE – not necessarily degrees, but the ability to think, reflect, communicate, challenge the conventional wisdom, make judgments in complicated situations, and show flexibility.
  2. ANGER AND EDGE – not temper, not ideological fervor, not an abstract commitment to “the people,” but a clear sense of what’s wrong, impatience in the face of that wrong, and a drive to address it.
  3. A WILLINGNESS TO CROSS RACE AND CULTURE – to be willing to work with people unlike oneself, people of other races, classes, orientations, faiths.
  4. A TRACK RECORD – some evidence, in high school, college, the local community, the workplace of attempting to relate to people and to respond to situations that seemed to demand responses; and some success in whatever field or career or endeavor has occupied the individual’s time. 

Career Opportunities

NINETY-DAY PROFESSSIONAL ORGANIZER TRY-OUTS (Year-Round): The West / Southwest IAF and Metro IAF offer paid 90-day try-outs to interested men and women at one of its organizations any time of the year. Organizer candidates are assigned to a sponsoring IAF organization, are given an organizing assignment to test their capacity, and receive extensive training and supervision from a senior IAF organizer. These try-outs are offered after a process that includes:

  • An expression of interest by an individual that would include:

              - for Metro IAF: a letter of introduction, a resume, and some references;

              - for West / Southwest IAF: a 2-3 page political autobiography that helps us understand you;

  • An individual meeting, or series of individual meetings, held with the candidate;

  • Often, some contact with the individual in the context of local training/organizing or some mutually agreed-upon voluntary experience that gives the individual a better view and feel for IAF organizing and the local IAF organizer a better sense of the individual;

  • Then the 90-day try-out itself.

Successful tryouts lead to full-time professional organizer positions with an IAF organization.