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Apply for The 2023 Fellowship

Applications close Friday 17 March 2023

Register your interest in The Fellowship

Nominate someone to apply for 2023

Download the 2023 info pack


Are you looking to grow your confidence, skills, and experience in advocating for social change? Build the power and leadership of people in your community, organisation, or workplace to win positive outcomes? Want to join a national network of highly skilled and effective leaders?

If the answer is yes, we encourage you to apply for The Community Organising Fellowship (COF).


What is The Fellowship?

COF is more than a training. It is also a movement power and leadership building project. The program takes a national network of community organisers and campaigners through a cohort-based online and in-person hybrid learning program. We believe that the best way to learn organising is by doing it, so we use an action learning approach to adult education, which is experiential and highly participatory. We centre relationship building, peer-learning, practice, reflection, and direct application of learning to your work in the field.


Who is The Fellowship for?

Is the Fellowship for you? If you can answer yes to the following prompts, you should apply for the Fellowship:

  • I am working with people in my community or organisation to bring about positive change on important social issues
  • I have a specific issue or campaign I am focused on and can apply my learning to
  • I want to develop my leadership, knowledge, skills, and confidence to organise people and lead winning campaigns
  • I am able to commit myself to 15 days of intensive training and some additional time for practice, applied learning, and mentoring

What will I learn in The Fellowship?

The Fellowship curriculum is structured around 5 key learning areas, with deep dives into campaign strategy, community organising, justice and solidarity, leadership and working with groups, facilitation and training.

The programme will be designed and tailored to the cohort's experience, contexts, and learning needs.

The training is participatory, experiential, and highly practical, with a focus on real-world application.

You will learn the why, how, and what of:

  • Designing and delivering effective organising campaign strategy
  • The core leadership practices of community organising
  • Analysing systems of oppression and power
  • The practice of solidarity
  • Cultivating and upholding cultures community care
  • Identifying and developing leadership, commitment, and capacity
  • Working effectively with groups and teams
  • The art of facilitation
  • Working through complexity, conflict, and uncertainty
  • Action-reflection learning and collaborative enquiry
  • And more tools, skills, and practices that will enable you to build organised leadership and the power to win positive, meaningful, and lasting change.

What will I experience in The Fellowship?

  • Three week-long online and in-person intensive workshops over three months
  • A series of coaching and strategy clinics where you will receive peer-coaching and constructive feedback on your strategic plans
  • One-on-one coaching and feedback from COF facilitators
  • A tailored mentor for one-on-one support, coaching, and practice during the COF program and beyond
  • Group activities and projects to help you practice and apply your learning
  • Building close relationships and a community of practice with a national network of peer organisers and campaigners
  • You are assigned a peer support buddy for connection, reflection, and accountability
  • An online workspace community where you can organise and share your learning with peers and facilitators
  • Lifetime access to the COF resource library of training materials, process guides, templates, and strategy tools you can apply directly to your organising practice

How much does The Fellowship cost?

COF is committed to challenging economic marginalisation and exclusion. We work to ensure cost is not a barrier for anyone.

Fees are negotiated based on a sliding scale of financial accessibility:

  • Small grassroots groups and organisations with annual budget less than $1 million: $2,000 plus GST
  • Medium-sized organisations with annual budget between $1 million and $3 million: $3,000 plus GST
  • Large organisations with annual budget more than $3 million: $4,000 plus GST
  • Partial scholarship for individual community leaders without a supporting organisation: $1000 plus GST
  • Full scholarship (see below): No-cost

Fees include the three Workshops, pairing with a mentor for one-on-one coaching and feedback, lifetime access to COF content and resources library, and connections with a community of peers and facilitators waging campaigns and building organised leadership across the continent.

The fees paid by participants from large and medium organisations help to increase financial accessibility for participants from small grassroots groups and scholarship recipients. Where in-person workshops involve travel costs, we ask that participants or their organisations cover these costs themselves. COF will arrange shared transport to the venue from Melbourne.

Inability to cover the cost of participation is not a barrier to a successful application. Where participants cannot cover costs, we will offer support with fundraising.

Scholarships

  • All First Nations people who are successful in being offered a place will automatically be awarded a full scholarship.
  • Additional scholarships will be awarded to applicants who meet the following criteria, subject to funding:
    • Identify as any of: person with disability / disabled person, person of colour, refugee or person seeking asylum, LGBTIQA+, single parent, frontline community leader, student, longterm unemployed; and
      • Demonstrate commitment to the work of campaigning and community organising
      • Are currently working on or planning a campaign to which learnings can be directly applied
      • Can demonstrate financial hardship, or inability to participate without a scholarship


When does The Fellowship take place?

2023 Workshop dates

Workshop 1: June 19 - 23

Workshop 2: July 24 - 28

Workshop 3: August 28 - 1 September


Where does The Fellowship take place?

COF 2023 will be a hybrid online and in-person program. Workshops 1 and 2 will take place online via Zoom. There is an option to host the third workshop as a residential retreat, COVID-permitting and depending on the agreement of the Fellowship cohort and facilitation team. In-person COF workshops are usually held at Commonground, a custom-built venue on Taungurung country, near Seymour in regional Victoria. Some scholarship recipients will also have access to a travel bursary to cover their travel costs. Food and accommodation will be provided for the duration of the in-person Workshop.

When you apply, please let us know your preferences and needs regarding an in-person or online Workshop 3.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the time commitment?

You will attend 15-days of online and in-person residential training, across three workshops. Each Workshop is 5 full days. You should plan to spend 2-3 hours before each workshop doing pre-reading/listening/watching of COF learning resources and some preparatory homework, including reflecting on your experience, preparing a campaign strategy presentation, and a group assignment on workshop design and facilitation.

Do I need to attend each Workshop?

Yes. We expect everyone to attend each of the Workshops, as they are highly participatory, practical, and rely on a consistent and committed learning cohort who work closely together and support each other throughout the experience. If you don't attend, it will undermine the group learning experience. Online Workshops are not recorded. If you have existing commitments that will affect your ability to fully attend each Workshop, please email Max at [email protected] to discuss your participation. 

What happens after the COF2023 program ends?

Fellowship Graduates will join the COF Graduates Network and a Community of Practice where they can continue to learn together and support each other's work. Graduates will have lifetime access to the COF learning resources and Slack workspace.

I’m a grassroots organiser. How much do I need to pay to participate in this program?

COF is generously funded by grants and donations. Each Fellowship place is heavily subsidised by grants and donations. The participant fee is based on the type of organisation you organise with, where participants with larger organisations pay more to support those with smaller community groups. If you plan to participate in COF as an individual from a community group, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. Otherwise, we still expect some financial contribution for your participation to demonstrate your commitment to the program and to reflect the value and benefit it will have on your organising and campaigning practice.

I’m a waged organiser. How can I convince my organisation to pay for this program?

Your participation in The Fellowship will directly benefit your organisation and should be considered part of your work. Your skills and leadership development is critical to being an effective organiser/campaigner. The Fellowship is an immersive learning environment where you will get to do some of your most focussed work designing and developing campaign strategy and community organising plans. You will apply what you learn in The Fellowship directly into your work, which will help you to achieve your purpose, and your organisation to achieve its goals. The outcomes of the program are that you will be better at your job and able to lead and train others to do the same.


Apply for COF 2023

Complete the application form.


Register your interest in COF

We'll get in touch with you for a conversation and to answer any of your questions.


Nominate someone to apply for COF 2023

If you know someone who would benefit from participating in the COF program, please fill in this form to nominate them. We’ll reach out to nominees for a conversation with information, encouragement, and support for them to complete an application.


Download the COF 2023 info pack

With everything you need to know about the 2023 COF program.


Still have questions?

Get in touch by emailing Max at [email protected]