We can learn from organizations who are, in many ways, like us. One such organization is The Convention of States (“COS”), which, like us, is an issue-advocacy group, has no office space, and relies heavily on Volunteers. COS is very well-funded with paid employees, is larger and more developed, and has advocates with a national audience, most notably, Mark Levin.
That last point represents a huge need in The FAIRtax movement. When Neal Boortz retired from radio, we lost our national voice. Returning The FAIRtax to the national conversation is something we desperately need.
COS seeks to call a Convention Of States under Article V of The U.S. Constitution to consider a series of amendments to The Constitution to limit the Federal Government's power. FAIRtax neither supports nor opposes this goal. This commentary merely looks at their organization and structure to give us ideas. However, this being stated, during their "simulation" in Williamsburg, VA, a few years ago, one of the amendments proposed was to repeal The 16th Amendment.
Like us, COS has District Directors called “District Captains” for Congressional Districts. It also has State Directors. Here are the fleshed-out job descriptions from the COS Website:
- District Captain, you will help recruit, welcome, and educate other volunteers in your local area, and be proactive in raising grassroots support
- Welcome new volunteers in your district, and act as a point person as they join the COS family. COS will help you with this by providing training in helping to connect you with people who have expressed an interest in getting involved. You can also reach out to people in your own circle of influence
- Educate friends and others locally about Article V and Convention of States
- Stay in touch with your State Director and participate in state and national conference calls to keep up to date with all the exciting news
- The District Captain will also inform the in-district volunteers of when they can attend, and have their voices heard, at committee hearings and floor votes
- Expected approximate commitment level: 12 hours per month
As to educating friends and others, a previous Grassroots Corner discussed how to get people who are new to The FAIRtax quickly up to speed. Our materials can be found by clicking here. If you have any suggestions for how we can have a formalized training video or training packet for District Directors, I’d like to hear from you.
Here is the COS job description for State Director. As you might expect, it’s longer than the description for a District Captain:
- As the State Director, you will guide your state to victory and act as a liaison between statewide volunteers and the Convention of States national headquarters
- Learning the technical network platform used by Convention of States
- Overseeing the recruitment of District Captains in every district within your state and mobilize volunteers in your state
- Checking all state applications and recruiting accordingly
- Building a state victory strategy with your state's leadership team, and hosting weekly state conference calls
A quick side note on conference calls: FAIRtax California has weekly conference calls Tuesday evenings. FAIRtax New Jersey has monthly conference calls. Other states follow a different schedule. Click here for a list of the State Directors to find out what's happening in your state.
Continuing. A COS State Director is responsible for:
- Grassroots development and activation
- Legislative Strategy
- Speaking at events to raise support and rally efforts across the state for COS
- Reporting weekly progress throughout your state to your Regional Director
- Participating in the weekly conference calls with other State Directors and State Leaders
- Holding state conference calls for your entire state team for inspiration and information
- 18 - 20 hours per week, which may or may not apply to FAIRtax
COS lists qualifications for all their volunteers to which, for sure, every organization aspires:
- Must be able to lead others by example as well as by instruction
- Needs experience in working with grassroots individuals
- Should be able to mentor, encourage, empower and inspire his/her team members
- Must be a team player and be able to take direction from the national team
We don’t know how successful COS has been in filling all 50 State Director positions and all 435 District Captain positions, but they do have a very solid organization.
By definition, COS operates at the state level and therefore their primary focus is on state legislatures. They need 34 state legislatures to call for it before there can be a Convention Of States under Article V of The U.S. Constitution. Our focus is on the U.S. Congress because we need both houses plus The President to pass The FAIRtax.
But we do have significant state FAIRtax initiatives pending in Georgia, Alabama, and Nebraska, so perhaps we can take a page from COS here as well.
COS has other grassroots positions, some of which we may find worthy of adoption.
- Coalitions Director
- COS Prayer Warrior Team
- Events Coordinator
- Follow-up Team Member
- Legislative Liaison
- Regional Captain
- Social Media Warrior
- State Communications Coordinator
- State Content Writer
- State Grassroots Coordinator
- State Information Analyst
- State Videographer
- Veterans Coalitions Director
We have had some of those positions already. At one time we had Regional Directors, and may have them again if we can get enough active State Directors.
Randy Fischer is our Social Media Warrior par excellence. Former Michigan State Director, Roger Buchholtz, once proposed every state organization should cover the following 4 functions: publicity, programs-projects-activities, internal communications, and planning.
I’d love to hear your ideas for growing our organization.
Yours In Liberty!
AFFT Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary
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