To create a formal working group that can represent Coulee DSA in a field, you need to create a charter and get it voted on at a membership meeting. A charter should explain what the group’s purpose is, what it should be doing, how it will work, and what the group needs (particularly if money is involved). No group gets an indefinite charter, that way the chapter can hear from the group about what it’s done and evaluate.

Below is an example of a working group charter, taken from one of our current groups.

Article I: Name

The name of this group shall be Medicare for All Working Group, hereafter M4A Working Group.

Article II: Scope

The purpose of the M4A group shall be to fulfill the following objectives:

  1. To get Medicare for All passed at a national level, by pressuring local politicians to support M4A legislation.
  2. To educate the community about the need for affordable healthcare.
  3. To advocated for local at-risk groups in need of affordable healthcare.
  4. The M4A group shall report to Coulee DSA and its Executive Committee.
Article III: Membership and Voting
  1. M4A meetings shall be open to all DSA members in good standing; M4A may not prevent a DSA member from attending M4A meetings. Any membership-related issues are to be brought to the Coulee DSA Executive Committee. As a body of Coulee DSA, M4A is subject to the Harassment-Grievance process.
  2. DSA members who have attended at least two M4A meetings in the past six months are to be considered voting members of M4A. 
  3. Non-DSA members are invited to participate in meetings but are not voting members of M4A, unless the campaign/project the group is working on is explicitly a partnership.
  4. M4A will make decisions in a democratic manner, voting on what actions they take if consensus is not apparent. Any working group member may call for a vote on any decision. A simple majority will suffice for any decision. 
  5. M4A group meets every other Wednesday evening at 7 pm. Meetings may be moved to accommodate member schedules.
Article IV: Leadership
  1. M4A group shall select a chair from amongst themselves. The chair shall be responsible for coordinating the work of the group, including ensuring regular meetings of the working group, and communicating with the Coulee DSA Executive Committee.
  2. Chairs are limited to two (2) consecutive one-year terms, but may run for as many terms total as they like.
  3. Elections shall be held annually, at the same time as the election of the executive committee.
Article V: Finances
  1. M4A group finances are to be handled through Coulee DSA’s Treasurer and should not be independently managed. Any funds raised by the M4A group shall be submitted to Coulee DSA’s Treasurer; funds submitted are not for Coulee DSA general purposes and are to be added to M4A’s ledger. Coulee DSA’s Treasurer must disperse allocated funds as directed by M4A.
  2. M4A’s chair may spend up to $50 at a time on working group activities as they deem fit. Larger expenditures must be voted on by M4A membership.
Article VII: Terms of Charter
  1. To last for 12 months  after the adoption of this charter.
  2. M4A group will be governed by the bylaws of Coulee DSA, which describe the operation and leadership selection of Working Groups.
  3. For the duration of this charter, M4A group  shall be empowered to represent itself as CouleeDSA for issues relating to affordable healthcare and may create events and promotional materials to achieve its ends. Written statements shall be brought to the Coulee DSA Executive Committee for approval.