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What do you expect from Surfrider?

March 01 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

An organization's internal view of themselves can be out of synch with what outsiders desire. The former is captured in our Strategic Plan.

I wanted to hear what people wanted. So, I popped this poll up for the month of February.

I'm not knocked out of my chair with surprises... yet there are some messages I can (and do) draw from this poll.

1. Keep polls simple. The fact that this was a "choose all that apply" poll and had eight choices to choose from... contributed to the fact that less than half the people that voted in earlier polls voted on this one.

2. Keep it local and grassrootsy. We are not a Washington beltway, policy wonk-filled environmental organization... and our supporters don't want or expect that from us. We're all about keeping it local, "local coastal support" was picked by almost everyone that voted.

3. Engage people. Be bold. We've been known to embrace and reflect culture. From punk rock imagery to edgy, breakout advertising campaigns. People expect Surfrider to help form culture... and to mold it around a coastal environmental ethic.

4. Do something, then tell me what you did. The third most popular answer was "understandable, relevant victories". This rings true to me. It's why we have a list of our victories since 1/06 on our home page. This isn't about claiming it, it's about cutting through the clutter and telling people something they can understand. We opened up beach access here. We helped drive better water quality there. Specific. Real. Wins.

5. Education, activist training, policy work and research are not at the top of the list. This point is probably the most arguable conclusion I'll make. In fact we have listserves that already argue these points day in and day out... and it's good dialog. I won't argue it one way or the other... but just point out that these four points clumped in below the others. Another way to state this is less than a third of the people included these in their selections.

6. We may be rad but we're not radical. We're not Haydukes. We're working within the law... I mostly threw this answer in to see if people were paying attention.

What do you think of these answers?

What question should I ask in the future?
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