For a complete list of our 2012 nominees and winners, click here.
Over the past four years, we've honored some of the most innovative technologies, best-constructed campaigns, and inspiring organizers in the progressive movement.
2012 has been remarkable, with tremendous individual achievement, incredible campaigns, and huge leaps forward in the technologies that help us win. If you want to know more about the contest, you can read the rules and FAQ.
Our 2011 RootsCamp held in February of 2012, honored Wisconsin-based organizer, Nick Niles as our Most Valuable Organizer.
Here's what Nick had to say about his experiences.
When I first heard about RootsCamp I really wasn't sure what to expect. A gathering of hundreds of organizers from across the world with no set agenda? This could be an incredible success or an unmitigated disaster - a bold move to say the least. I had to be there to see it happen.
As we kicked things off I vividly remember Jamie McGonnigal, NOI's Community Engagement Manager, getting up in front of the entire group and telling his story of self. He grew up as a gay youth, overcame numerous challenges and frustrations before eventually going on to fight for LGBT rights and lead the charge against Proposition 8.
The power of his story struck all of us - while our individual stories had different details from Jamie's, we could all identify with him. Each of us was at RootsCamp because we all faced our own struggles, struggled through our own challenges and ultimately made a choice to fight back. This common theme helped create a powerful bond between all of us.
Jamie's story and voluntary vulnerability helped set the tone for the rest of the conference and created an open space where we could share ideas without fear of ridicule or judgment.
From there, Rootscamp continued to be much different from your average run-of-the-mill conference. Attendees we’re responsible for creating the bulk of the agenda and serving as resident experts on the items they chose to present. With the help of NOI’s leadership we created “The Wall” which functioned as a living agenda that mapped out the different sections of the day by time and by room. From there attendees were free to create presentations on whatever they deemed fit and place them on the wall for all participants to see.
The first time I saw the wall I felt like I was in organizer heaven. It covered topics ranging from "How to use online tools to create direct action" to "Results of scientific studies on voter messaging and behavior" to "Polling, vote goals, and electoral strategy" and "Creating a sustainable lifestyle while continuing to organize." An awesome array of subjects that was almost unbelievable. But I guess it makes sense - in a room full of hundreds of passionate and committed individuals – their collective ideas and expertise makes for one heck of an agenda. Many the presenters were resident experts in their fields from who had come to RootsCamp to share their findings and best practices – with verifiable scientific data and challenging new ideas.
By the end of the RootsCamp, I felt completely reinvigorated. I’d met hundreds of people from across the nation and even the world that were all fighting for the same progressive values that I hold dear. We exchanged ideas, best practices, and reminded ourselves that together we are a force that can change the world. It was also at the end of RootsCamp that I was voted as NOI’s most valuable organizer of 2011. This was an incredible honor and on of the proudest moments of my organizing career. And with this honor I’ll continue move forward and continue to fight for the progress we so desperately need.
Since RootsCamp, I've also had the honor of being a coach for NOI’s Field Manager Bootcamp. In this training the NOI team worked tirelessly to create a community that allowed participants to learn from each other, share best practices, and push each other forward just like they did at RootsCamp.
This, I believe, is the most important thing that NOI does. They work to create a close-knit community of organizers and a culture of organizing that has the power to change the world. In my experience, they’re pretty darn good at it. So a huge thank you to the NOI team and another huge thank you to my fellow progressive patriots. Let’s continue to fight for what we believe in and move our world forward.