Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer

Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Website
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
  • Tennessee
  • Full Time

Position Title: Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer
Reports to: Southern Crossroads Director
Employment Status: Full Time
FLSA: Exempt
Location: Tennessee
Union: Bargaining Unit Member
Direct Reports: Tennessee Rural Community Organizer (to be hired in early 2024)

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national organization that brings white people into
fights for racial and economic justice. We work to undermine the power of the Far Right and
build the white flank of multiracial majorities fighting for the things all communities need. We
organize white people by engaging their shared interest– what they stand to gain by joining
alongside people of color. We do this through 150+ local chapters across the US and Canada, a
National Membership base, and local base building projects in the South.

Southern Crossroads (SCOPE) is growing an alliance of membership-based grassroots
organizations building collective power and multi-racial alliances among cash poor and working
people in small towns across the region. To see this vision become reality, we expect all staff to:
● Be serious about your leadership development, personal growth, and goals.
● Have accountability to the communities we work in and membership base.
● Be wise and prudent with staff time and limited financial resources.

Summary of Position:
SURJ is seeking a Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer to help grow the grassroots power of low
income and working class tenants across Tennessee by building tenant unions in small towns
and cities and rural areas, to support the development of statewide power building, and help
build the TN4SafeHomes network through base building and grassroots campaigns. They will
lead the team to identify and invest in tenant leaders in key rural and small town locations to
support them in building tenant unions and other tenant formations, as well as other strategic
areas across the state.

A successful person in this role help grow a statewide network (TN 4 Safe Homes) that has the
power to influence legislation landscape; increase the skill and capacity of tenant base-building
organizations; identify and support at least one additional transformative organizing initiative;
identify issues and campaigns that resonate with our base and have impact; and work to
connect our bases into state-wide efforts to shift power and build cross-race solidarity to win on
issues that impact their lives through base building and leadership development of tenants in

This position will report to the Southern Crossroads Director. This position is included in a
union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific terms and conditions of employment
are subject to negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES — Essential duties and responsibilities may include, but are not
limited to the following:

Priority 1: Grow Statewide Base of Low Income Tenants through on-the-ground organizing and
distributive organizing strategies (60%)
● Recruit new members and engage weekly in at least 20 hours of on-the-ground
organizing across the state, including door-to-door outreach and other forms of
community engagement such as 1-1 meetings, house visits, and group meetings. Recruit
new members and engage weekly in remote outreach, including phone calls, text
banking, social media.
● Help create and implement recruitment strategies for low income rural tenants across
the state with direction from the Southern Crossroads Director.
● Identify and develop potential members and leaders who should be prioritized; follow up
and recruit potential members through phone calls, in person 1-1s, and social media
● Conduct research on policy issues, political landscape and campaign targets and
develop leaders to take on these roles over time with direction and support from
Southern Crossroads Director.
● Provide coaching and support to members and leaders in emerging tenant organizing
projects across the state.
● Provide assessment about local issues and organizing opportunities in local
communities to the Southern Crossroads Director.
● Input contact data, relevant details and follow up notes from new contacts and lists into
Every Action in a timely fashion and use this database as an outreach tool.
● Design and create popular education style workshops and accompanying tools that can
be used by renters and tenant organizing groups in rural communities across the state,
getting input from renters and partners with guidance from the Southern Crossroads
Director/Deputy Director.
● Contribute as a member of the Tennessee team to the development of an overall
strategy to grow power in Tennessee through housing justice.

Priority 2: Support TN4SafeHomes Project Narrative and Comms Work, Digital Organizing
Strategies, and Distributed Organizing to bring cast a statewide net(20%)
● Collaborate with the Southern Distributed Organizer on external social media narrative
work and communications including creating social media accounts, posting, and
engaging with members on platforms about events and news.
● Seek out and engage in list building activities including through social media with the
Southern Distributed Organizer.
● Develop campaign and coalition materials to support strategies with the Southern
Distributed Organizer.
● Conduct external-facing messaging work with the Southern Distributed Organizer.
● Implement systems for tracking potential members’ engagement, participation, and
follow up.
● Execute timely and systematic follow-up on leads garnered from text banks,
phonebanks, social media, and other outreach.
● Run and/or support statewide phone banks and text banking programs to ensure timely
follow up for engagement and recruitment; recruit potential members to participate in
text banks; support them to meaningful engagement in text banking and phone call
follow up on statewide lists.

Priority 3 : Support and Develop TN4SafeHomes Network (10%)
● Grow into Building and cultivating the TN for Safe Homes Network to become a powerful
force capable of influencing statewide landscape, legislation and policy through base
building, campaign building and strategy development with SCOPE Director.
● Identify, recruit, cultivate and maintain strong relationships with movement partners
working on similar issues to build power.
● Create relationships and support statewide coalition meetings including working to grow
participation by creating exciting, purposeful and powerful gathering spaces that align
with our vision.
● Provide logistical support to the Southern Crossroads Director to plan and conduct
monthly meetings with movement partners working on similar issues, including
scheduling, facilitation and creating agendas.

Future Priority 4: Will eventually conduct duties as a Lead Organizer and provide leadership
development to direct reports (20%)
● Set clear goals and track metrics for Tennessee team work, including:
○ Door Knocks
○ New numbers/contact info
○ Actions taken by members
○ Phonebanking – calls made and results
○ Leadership develop metrics
○ 1-1 meetings and outcomes
○ Attendance at meetings and other events
● Conduct ongoing lead organizer duties including working with direct reports on work
plans and annual reviews.
● Nurture and provide coaching and support to direct reports so they increase their skill
and capacity and meet organizing goals.
● Develop and implement tools for direct reports to thrive and maintain accountability for
goals and work.
● Support direct reports in developing and implementing leadership development plans.
● Responsible for setting goals for outreach, one-on-ones, and other forms of member
engagement similar to campaign organizers.
● Support organizers in achieving goals and outcomes for their recruitment, campaign,
and other work with guidance and support from the program director.
● Shares responsibility for implementing organizational policy and ensuring the overall
success and effectiveness of the organization in advancing its mission.
● Give direct feedback regularly, both positive and constructive.
● Facilitate the learning of Tennessee Community Organizer to use Every Action to record
data (outreach contacts, notes, and meeting attendance) and be responsible for
checking to make sure it’s happening and help keep database updated as needed.

Priority 5: Fulfill your role as a SURJ and Southern Crossroads team member (10%)
● Attend SURJ and Southern Crossroads staff meetings.
● Attend weekly meetings with supervisor to create work plans with clear purpose,
objectives, job roles and responsibilities, planned work hours, and metrics that build a
strong tenant union and organization.
● Complete weekly, monthly, yearly work planning and metrics tracking with supervisor.
● Quarterly review of leadership development plan to track progress and make
● Create and fulfill an annual leadership development plan, including relevant trainings,
conferences or classes to grow as an organizer.
● Represent our work in regional, national, and state spaces, with approval and support
from supervisor.
● Maintain an up-to-date Fight4TheSouth Google calendar with clearly marked work days
and off days.
● Complete timesheets and log all sick and vacation days in Bamboo HR Portal.
● Come prepared to your supervision meetings with affirmations, challenges, tasks for the
week, 3-5 top lines filled in.
● Come prepared to the TN Team meetings by filling in the metrics you have achieved for
the prior week and your 3-5 top lines for the week.
● Regularly check commonly used communication channels on work days, including
Fight4TheSouth email, SCOPE Signal threads, SURJ Slack, and STOP member group
● Communicate with your supervisor when planned duties and responsibilities are unable
to be met or unexpected schedule changes occur.
● Give and receive direct feedback that is kind.

● Minimum of 5 years as a community organizer and campaign lead or equivalent
work-related experience doing leadership development, campaign strategy, and base
● Experience with coalition-building, distributed organizing, and digital organizing methods
● Ability to get to canvassing locations multiple times per week, frequently work outdoors
in hot/cold/wet/dry conditions for canvassing purposes, frequently ascend and descend
stairs to access tenant units, regularly canvass from door to door for up to 4 hours at a
time, frequently travel over uneven surfaces to door knock, and occasionally transport up
to 20 lbs to set up for meetings and events.
● SURJ policy requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to
reasonable accommodation under federal, state, and local law. Accommodations may
be not possible for positions that require in-person contact with other staff or members
of the public.

● Solid time management skills, attention to detail, and ability to manage multiple projects.
● Excellent relational and verbal communication skills.
● Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
● Reliability and follow-through capabilities.
● Database experience, especially with Every Action or VAN, preferred.

● The Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer should live in Tennessee or plan to relocate quickly.
● The Tennessee Lead Rural Organizer will be expected to travel around Tennessee
multiple times per week, and occasionally asked to travel outside of the state with
members or to conferences, and will need to have access to reliable and consistent
means of transportation.

● Annual Salary: $60,000
● Health, dental and vision insurance including available employer contribution toward
spouse, children and family coverage
● 401K retirement plan with up to 6% employer match after 1 year of service
● Twenty (20) days paid time off per year (prorated)
● Twelve (12) days of sick leave per year (prorated)
● Thirteen (13) paid holidays per year
● Three additional paid weeks off for organization-wide shutdown summer & winter breaks
● Employer paid short-term and long-term disability insurance
● Employer paid life insurance
● All staff works remote from home (no office location) with expectations of frequent local
groundwork throughout Tennessee
● Monthly technology support reimbursement (internet, phone)
● Professional development resources each year
● Paid parental leave
● Paid sabbatical after 5 years

To apply, fill out this form and upload your resume and cover letter at the end of the form.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

SURJ is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race,
color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, veteran status, or any other characteristic
protected by law.

Oct 2023

To apply for this job please visit surj.org.

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