When Rootstrikers launched last year we had a little over 48,000 supporters, an inactive program for local groups, and two dedicated volunteers. One year later, and with a staff of two part time employees, we have over 63,000 supporters, nearly 200 talented volunteers, and a network of meetups with almost 300 activists in over 50 cities. We consider Rootstrikers meetups to be our most successful campaign, and that's why we're taking it to the next level, and giving it new leadership. Our goal? We want that 300 to become 6,000 leading the fight against corruption, and we want them to be able to count on a network of 300,000 when they mobilize. Grassroots, meet netroots.
Building local communities of Rootstrikers is important for three reasons:
1. Local communities provide invaluable support for achieving local reform, and joining in national actions.
2. Local communities address one of Rootstrikers' core concerns: that we cannot have a movement by the people, for the people without 100% of the people—from the left to the right, and in between. Rootstrikers communities begin with an Arms Across the Aisle meetup, to establish a culture of cross-partisanship.
3. Local communities of Rootstrikers help identify, nurture, and plug in dedicated volunteers for our national campaigns. Goodnight Democracy, The Anti-Corruption Pledge, and all of our materials would not have been made without Rootstrikers who regularly attend local meetups.
What we at Rootstrikers HQ have learned through building local communities of Rootstrikers is that we have a network of talented, hungry souls who are ready to build their own local campaigns, and to help others do the same. So we've asked two of our most active meetup group leaders to help us grow this network of grassroots leaders, and with their help, we've redesigned the meetup coordination structure and web tools to support more action.
We're pleased to announce that Jay Costa, of San Francisco Rootstrikers, and Alex Sheppard, of Philly Rootstrikers, will be our first class of 2012-2013 National Coordinators. San Francisco and Philly are our most active communities, and Jay and Sheppard have been not only dedicated leaders in those communities, they have also offered their skills and insights to all of our national campaigns and to helping many a new meetup group get off the ground. Jay and Sheppard will be tasked with supporting the growing network of local Rootstrikers, and with advising us on how this important initiative remains an integral part of our campaigns while spreading like wildfire—and vice versa.
Increased activity means investing in new tools. We're committed to getting the most out of our recent site relaunch and the Nation Builder community organizing platform. Local communities can now organize directly on our site, post events to a national calendar, and connect with other Rootstrikers across the country who are active in their communities. (Expressed needs from our local groups will always drive our feature development priorities, so let us know!) It's now easier than ever to join a meetup group, and to connect with members of your group online and off. To find a group in your area or start your own check out the new meetup calendar.
Finally, with a new strategy for national coordination and homegrown leaders to carry it out, we've decided it's time to go back to school, and we're re-launching our campus chapter program. We're thrilled to welcome to our team Blake Wright, the former National Campus Director for Americans Elect, who is working feverishly to bring Rootstrikers to a campus near you this fall.
Before we can enact meaningful reform, we need a movement of citizen leaders who can educate others about the true dependence corruption that cripples our governnment, and who know how to facilitate the kind of basic cross-partisan cooperation our country needs. Rootstrikers has 300 on the front line followed by 63,000 in reserve, and we're already making a difference. Imagine what we could do with more. [And please, as always, tell us what you imagine by adding your voice below.]