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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Renewing America: Democrats Work

    The mission of Democrats Work is to help organizations mobilize grassroots Democrats to perform community service projects . . . as Democrats. To achieve its mission, DW works with Democratic and progressive organizations -- including local clubs, state and county parties, and local chapters of national organizations, campaigns and elected officials -- to get their members and supporters to volunteer for local service projects as part of a Democrat-branded work crews. We can help you connect Democratic volunteers with visible, tangible service projects in their communities -- cleaning up neighborhoods and parks, supporting schools and teachers, planting trees, sponsoring soccer clinics, and working at food banks. DW provides the tools and guidance to help Democrats organize successful service events in their communities.

    When Democrats connect with their communities, both the community and the Democratic Party wins. Democrats Work depends on local activists to organize events for their own communities. Blood drives. Food drives. Building playgrounds. Etc. The initiative begins with you.

    Here is the Democrats Work Event Kit, a 10-step checklist to make it easy to organize service projects in your community. We'll be with you every step of the way. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you.

    1. PICK A PROJECT IN YOUR COMMUNITY: You know best what your community needs. Find a project that you and your fellow Democrats would enjoy doing. Reach out to community-based organizations that already have service opportunities - local parks departments, food banks, schools, veterans centers, Habitat for Humanity, ACORN, etc. (You can see some of the things we've done in the past here.)

    2. TEAM UP WITH LOCAL PARTNERS: Use service as a way to bring together different groups and volunteers. Reach out to local Democratic organizations, elected officials, and candidates to get their members, volunteers, and supporters invovlved.

    3. POST YOUR EVENT ON THE DEMOCRATS WORK WEBSITE: Once you have picked a project, go to our Create Events page to enter all of your information. You can also email the project information to info@democratswork.org and we'll post the information for you.

    4. NOTIFY YOUR MEMBERS: Tell the members of your organization (and your other friends) about the event. You can direct folks to signup at our events page so we can help you keep track of who is coming and send reminders as the date approaches. We can help get other local partners to do the same.

    5. PUBLICIZE THE EVENT: Beyond posting the event on our website and others, you should notify the local media (we can help), place event notices in local newspapers, and publicize the event on local websites and political blogs.

    6. THE POWER OF T-SHIRTS: We can help you get Democrats Work t-shirts for your volunteers, often at a reduced cost. We can even print your organization's name on the back of the t-shirt, so everyone in town knows who is getting things done.

    7. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR THE EVENT: If the organization you are providing volunteers for does not furnish all of the necessary equipment, make sure you have everything you need - like garbage bags, work gloves, paint brushes, etc. There are also other things to think about: refreshments for your volunteers; sign-in sheets; voter registration forms; name tags; a digital camera.

    8. SIGN IN AND SIGN UP: Make sure the volunteers who show up at the event sign in. We hope that you'll meet some folks you didn't know before and who want to become part of your organization. If so, sign them up as members!

    9. SAY THANK YOU: A little gratitude goes a long way. Please make sure you thank your volunteers: send them an email after the event with pictures; have a post-event pizza party; organize a happy hour at a local bar.

    10. REPEAT! We all have an interest in making this a sustainable program. We hope that you will continue to make service a centerpiece of your mission. It will help you keep your members active and engaged, help your organization grow, and, ultimately, help Democrats win more elections!

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