"Endorsers" vs. "Co-Sponors" or "Co-Organizers" on publicity

2 posts / 0 new
Last post
Left Turn Left Turn's picture
"Endorsers" vs. "Co-Sponors" or "Co-Organizers" on publicity

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Many times the activist groups that I've been involved in have been asked to either "endorse", "co-sponsor", "co-organize" or otherwise sign onto or publicly support various events, coalitions, causes, ect. This is where activist groups and coalitions get permission from other organizations to list those organizations on the publicity.

The thing is that in my experience there tends to be not a lot of care put into the choice of which term to use. Each of the different terrms has a distinct meaning, and the one that is closest to the relationship between the supporting group and the event or coalition in question is not always the term that is used. The other problem is when the various terms are considered to be more or less equivalent, such that the term that was used when the request for support was made is not necessarily how it appears on the publicity.

The issue is that the different terms connote a different level of responsibility for the events themselves.

If a group is listed as an "endorser", it generally means that they support an event as per the publicity, but are not actually involved in the organizing. Sometimes groups that are involved in the organizing of the event but who did not initiate it are listed as endorsers. This could be seen as a slight, but my experience is that most activists are not that petty.

If a group is listed as a "co-sponsor" it usually implies that the group is helping out with the leg-work in some capacity, but is not involved at the decision-making level. It also usually implies that the co-sponsoring group knows the ins and outs of the event in advance and agree with decisions made. Sometimes when a group gets listed as a "co-sponsor" it means that the main group doing the organizing only wants to work with their one contact in the co-sponsoring organization, and this can feel like a slight against other members of the co-sponsoring group. Other times a group listed as co-sponsoring is merely endorsing, and should really only be listed as such.

If a group is listed as a "co-organizers" it implies that the group was invited to the organizing meetings, and it can feel like a bigger slight if the group is treated as mere endorsers.

Then we get to coalitions. Groups can sign on to coalitions as either endorsers or they might "join" the coalition. Some coalitions don't have members, and list all supporting organizations as endorsers. Other coalitions list endorsers as "members", which can be problematic.

Even more problematic is endorsements of events put on by coalitions. Event endorsements are often treated as endorsements of the coalition, especially if a coalition has a very limited mandate. For instance, Vancouver's Stopwar coalition originally had a very limited mandate of organizing large rallies against war on Iraq, and endorsements of individual rallies were treated as endorsements of the entire groups. Some groups we had listed as endorsers of Stopwar based on their endorsement of the March 2004 rally on the 1 year anniverary of the war in Iraq claimed years later that they had never endorsed Stopwar.