Concerned about poverty and hunger on a global scale, but not sure how to make a difference at the local level?
The Oxfam Action Corps is an exciting grassroots effort to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world—starting right in your community. The Action Corps is a group of trained grassroots advocates in 16 US cities who organize with other local volunteers in support of our GROW campaign for policies that will save lives, defend the rights of women and farmers, and protect communities worldwide from rising food prices and climate change. It includes a free national advocacy and leadership training for select participants.
"Oxfam Action Corps has really helped me professionally. Before the training I was working as an administrative assistant and never had a chance to take charge of an event. With Oxfam Action Corps I had opportunities to lead events and reach out to allies. It prepared me for a huge career change, directing a small nonprofit." —Jessica Lettween, Minnesota Action Corps
Join with educators, health workers, scientists, students, parents, lawyers, musicians, retirees, veterans, farmers, business owners, and others who donate their time and considerable skills to building a lasting presence for Oxfam in their community.
Be an Oxfam Action Corps organizer
Oxfam America seeks qualified individuals for volunteer leadership positions in a grassroots advocacy and organizing project, the Oxfam Action Corps. The Oxfam Action Corps is a nonpartisan volunteer initiative whose purpose is to inform, inspire, and mobilize public support for policies to end hunger, poverty, and social injustice in the US and globally. It is comprised of groups of dedicated volunteers based in 16 US cities who campaign with Oxfam, and build a constituency to defend the interests of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. Oxfam Action Corps volunteers lead a charge to improve national legislation and business practices, and deepen community resources. We’re teaming up with Oxfam on its campaigns for justice for small farmers, women, and poor communities.
Each city has many local leadership opportunities for those interested in attending our online and local trainings, but the most significant positions are our two trained Lead Organizers. Lead Organizers are trained volunteers who coordinate activities as well as recruit, welcome and orient volunteers throughout the year. From Friday, April 24 - Tuesday, April 28 we will hold a leadership training for the people who will serve as the city's lead organizers for the coming year. Lead organizers receive continuing support from Oxfam, including campaign materials, strategy tips, and advice on community organizing. Trained organizers serve a 14-month term from April through the following June. They can extend their lead organizer role for additional years as well.
In addition, every Action Corps volunteer group has many opportunities to provide leadership—there are coordinator roles for social media, community alliances, policy and advocacy, and public events. Our online spring training and local trainings provide an excellent starting point for all applicants who meet basic standard requirements. Ultimately, however, the proven way to fill a leadership role is through consistent service and quality support as a member of the group.
The responsibilities of a corps Lead Organizer:
- Upon selection, attend the annual leadership training in Washington DC
- Work with other lead organizers and volunteers on a local level
- Help convene activities focused on Oxfam's GROW campaign
- Follow policy developments and messaging
- Update blog, email announcements and social media sites with events and news
- Create plans for local action
- Lead outreach at public events like concerts and conferences
- Build relationships with like-minded organizations
- Gather volunteers for regular planning sessions
- Cultivate leadership in others
- Work within budget to accomplish goals
- Maintain strong, regular communication with Oxfam staff including tracking and reporting on activities
This leadership position is right for you if:
- You believe it's wrong that 1 out of 9 people go hungry in a world that grows enough food for everybody
- You have modest to advanced experience organizing, volunteering, or leadering--in other words you have experience bringing people together to tackle a common problem or achieve a common goal
- You are older than 19. If a student you have already completed your undergraduate degree
- You are available Friday - Tuesday, April 24 - 28, 2015
- You can volunteer an average of 8-10 hours per week from April 1, 2015 - June 1, 2016
- You will reside in your city metro area during the entire year
- You want to develop your own ability as an advocate, an activist, or an organizer in your community
What you'll get out of it:
- Four day leadership and advocacy training in Washington DC, including one day of lobbying your elected representatives on Capitol Hill, airfare and hotel accommodations paid.
- Close contact and support with Oxfam campaign and training staff for one year of service, with the option to continue longer
- The opportunity to work together with a community of like-minded people in your city
- Insight into Oxfam's programs and approach to fighting poverty
- An in-depth look into current campaign issues and plans, as well as challenges and victories right alongside Oxfam staff
- A practical experience and understanding about the NGO sector
- The chance to make connections in your community to other organizations and leaders, helping make a name for yourself as you introduce Oxfam's work to others
- The satisfaction of applying your knowledge and professional skills and experience to a good cause and to building an organization with integrity
- The development of leadership skills applicable to professional and personal life and experience as an advocate and community organizer
"This is leadership in practice. You can't just read a book on leadership. You have to put it into practice. You should see how I list this on my resume!"
- Jill Mizell, New York Oxfam Action Corps Organizer
While the leadership training is in Washington, DC we are recruiting lead corps organizers from these cities:
- Albuquerque, NM
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Burlington, VT
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- Des Moines, IA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Kansas City, MO
- Madison, WI
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- New York, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- San Francisco Bay Area, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, DC
Successful track record
Now going into its ninth year, the all-volunteer Oxfam Action Corps has achieved remarkable results, helping to build public support for campaigns that empower women, farmers, and people living in poverty.
- For several years, Oxfam Action Corps has helped Oxfam and allies urge Congress to hold the line on foreign aid funding and avoid drastic cuts.
- Oxfam Action Corps contributed to a global Oxfam campaign that succeeded in winning an agreement with Nestle, Mars, and Mondelez to take concrete measures to improve the livelihoods of women cocoa farmers.
- During our summer outreach season, a handful of volunteers in Chicago ran a booth at Lollapalooza and added more than 1,000 fans to Oxfam's petition to reform food aid, while in Madison a single volunteer represented us at a farmers market all season long.
- For World Food Day on October 16, the Oxfam Action Corps in New York convened more than two dozen community organizations to hold a film screening and panel event on land rights, while in Albuquerque, the Action Corps team converted donated produce from the farmers market into an informative community dinner for 100 people.
- In Seattle, the Oxfam Action Corps held a silent auction to raise funds for Typhoon Haiyan relief with more than 200 people attending.
No Oxfam Action Corps in your city? Find more ways to take action.
Follow the action
Read about our latest efforts on the Oxfam Action Corps blog.
Volunteers in action
We asked Oxfam volunteers what motivates them. Here’s what they told us.
You don’t have to lose your passion or enthusiasm over the closing of Invisible Children. You can redirect it to where it’s needed most.
Oxfam supporters are pretty incredible. Over the last year, people like you took so many actions to help end poverty and hunger.