IAF Community Organizing: Our Method and Model

The Single Mothers' Alliance BC is an organization with a unique structure and model. We are based on the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) model of community organizing, spread to Vancouver by the Metro Vancouver Alliance, an IAF affiliated organization that trains leaders locally under the umbrella of a broad-based coalition of over 50 local MVA member organizations. 

MVA is based on a model of community organizing pioneered by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Founded by Saul Alinsky in the 1930’s, IAF has over 60 active community alliances across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia.

Broad-based community organizations operate on the principle of ‘power before program’. In other words, they build strong relationships amongst diverse groups in the community. Those groups then come together to listen to their members’ concerns and to agree on issues that can be worked on together. This ensures that the alliances are sustainable over the long term and that members work on those issues that concretely matter most to them. Members develop leadership skills and learn “the art of politics” through active engagement and participation. 

The Single Mothers' Alliance adopts this method of community organizing, and adapts the model to build power across a diversity of women with the lived experience of single motherhood, rather than a coalition of organizations.

SMA Community Organizers are trained in MVA/IAF community organizing, and we hold 'listening campaigns' to determine the issues that matter most to our membership, and single mothers at large. We then identify trends and threads shared through the sessions, and determine our advocacy and campaigns based on what women bring forward about the issues that matter to them based on their direct lived experience.

For more detailed information on IAF community organizing model and MVA:  http://www.metvanalliance.org/about

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