Portland Raging Grannies Membership Guidelines

Revised – 07/25/17

Membership Criteria and Meetings

The Portland Raging Grannies is part of the International Raging Grannies, a social activist movement started in 1987 in Victoria, B.C.

  • Membership is open to all who identify as women and are over the age of 50.
  • You do not have to be a grandmother to be a member.
  • You do not have to have singing experience or even have a good singing voice to be a member.
  • Each Granny is expected to attend at least three meetings and participate in at least one action annually.
  • Meetings will be from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm on the third Saturday of each month with the exception of three months per year when we will have afternoon meeting from 2:00-5:00. Throughout the year we may have educational events, singing rehearsals and social gatherings.
  • We alternate meeting locations between the east and west side of Portland
  • Dues are $3/ month or $35 per year and should be paid to the treasurer. Dues are collected once a year in July. You can join at any time of the year and pay pro-rated dues. Scholarships are available. Dues are used for items such as (but not limited to) rental space for meetings, posters and banners, business cards, buttons, website fee, props, instruments, parade entry fees and contributions to organizations we support,
  • A potential Granny starts by attending a monthly meeting.
    • She needs to first attend a monthly meeting before participating in an action as a Portland Raging Granny.
    • At her first meeting she will be assigned a mentor.
    • The mentor will give her the orientation materials which she should review before participating in an action.
    • After participating in two meetings and one action she can become an official Granny by paying her dues.
    • Her mentor will then help her register for the PRG member listserve and if she desires the optional FYI listserve.
  • At any time a Granny can become inactive and reactivate her status by meeting membership requirement.
  • We ask all Grannies participating in an Action to adhere to the “Portland Raging Grannies’ Code of Conduct.”

Portland Raging Grannies Code of Conduct

(Please see separate documents Why Do the Portland Raging Grannies Need a Code of Conduct?” and Portland Raging Granny’s Policy on Civil Disobedience)

  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support peace, we will only use non-violent means of protest. We will not support or encourage others in acts of violence toward people and property.
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support social justice, we will step forward in support and solidarity when we witness injustice and we will step back when those who have been denied a voice need to be heard;
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support human rights, we will respect the worth and dignity of others, even those with whom we disagree. We will be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of others. We will not use sexist, racist, or profane language. We will not try to outshout our opponents.
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support environmental protection, we will respect the earth and not damage the places where we gather. 

Initiating/Organizing a Portland Raging Granny Action

All requests for a Portland Raging Grannies Action need to follow these steps:

  • Information about a proposed action is sent to the Advisory Group. [Requests come from individual grannies and through our website or personal contact from outside groups]
  • If the Advisory Group thinks this is something we should pursue, they will put it on the agenda for the next meeting where the full membership can make a decision about the proposed action and decide what level of action is appropriate.
  • Levels of Action
    • Planned Events: These events must have advisory group and/or whole group approval and a minimum of five Grannies. (Doodles/scheduling emails are sent out so we have a count of who is attending.) Such events are coordinated by a point person, and include full Granny regalia and song rehearsal beforehand. Either the point person or a separate spokesperson speaks for the group.
    • T-Shirt Action: Sometimes we want to show our support for a cause but do not have a major role in the event. (not enough Grannies participating, short timeline, don’t want to distract from organizers, etc.) For such events Grannies are encouraged to attend wearing Granny tee-shirts and or sashes and buttons. We do not wear our Granny hats to such actions.
    • Somber Attire: There are increasingly more occasions when we want to show our support in respectful ways and where our usual Granny attire is not appropriate. For such times we encourage Grannies to wear black, undecorated hats and clothing, and possibly sashes.
    • Individual Participation. These are events that do not require advisory group approval and grannies may put out an FYI e-mail for others to come, but not identify as Grannies. No Granny attire, buttons, etc. If uncertain, consult the Grand Grannies.

(Note: It is fine to wear your buttons and t-shirts out and about, but not at political events. This is to avoid inadvertently associating our group with an event we do not have a consensus about supporting.)

  • If it is a short timeline, the Advisory Group will make the decision about an action and, if appropriate, put out a request for a point person.
  • If someone wishes to be a point person for such action, she will take the lead on getting more information and initiate a Doodle (a scheduling email) and then act as the contact with the organizers. She will act as spokesperson or assign someone for that role.
  • If no one wants to be a point person or if an inadequate number of Grannies respond to the Doodle, we will not participate as Grannies. (Adequate number means at least 5 grannies for a full-regalia action; there is no minimum for a t-shirt or sash action.) Grannies are always free to attend as individuals.
  • The Portland Raging Grannies does not charge for appearances. If an organization wishes to provide an honorarium, the monies will be turned back to the cause.
  • Raging Grannies attire:
    • Colorful and eccentric hats are a Raging Grannies hallmark, and we ask that if you have only one piece of Granny gear that it be a hat. Aprons, smocks, long skirts, etc. can be pulled together to complete the look. The goal is to play with the stereotypical “granny look.” Take a look at our website to get an idea for outfit ideas.
    • Although we are playful in our attire, we want to be sensitive that we do not mock such images as “bag ladies” or the culture of how many women of color dress-up.

Decision-making

  • The Portland Raging Grannies operate by consensus using a straw poll system (explained in detail later in this document).
  • Most decisions will be decided by consensus of those present at the monthly meeting, and the decision will be entered into the meeting minutes.
  • Major and out of the ordinary decisions are discussed at meetings and then referred to the wider membership for a vote via Doodle.
  • If a disagreement arises among the members that we are unable to resolve in a healthy and satisfactory manner, a mediator may be brought in to support communications and problem solving.

Leadership:

Grand Grannies (Coordinators)

  • Two Grannies volunteer or are asked to coordinate the group. We call them our Grand Grannies. Each serves for 6-12 months with one of them overlapping the next appointee. The Gran Grannies are responsible for:
  • Preparing the agendas and organizing the monthly meetings.
  • Handling administrative business and correspondence.
  • Working with the Advisory Group to deal with issues and problems.
  • Clarifying and keeping guidelines up to date.
  • Keeping the membership informed regarding administrative decisions.
  • Approving and distributing minutes from meetings.
  • Making decisions along with the Advisory Group regarding expenditures and when it is necessary to get consensus approval.

Advisory Group

  • The Advisory Group is comprised of the current Grand Grannies plus four members drawn from a pool of Grannies who have held leadership positions in the group.
  • The Advisory Group assists the Gran Grannies in making administrative decisions, especially issues that arise between meetings or issues that are complex and/or sensitive.

Other Roles

  • Treasurer: Collects dues, pays bills, coordinates with Membership Chair.
  • Scribe: Takes notes and writes up minutes of monthly meetings. Sends minutes to Grand Grannies ASAP after a meeting.
  • Membership Chair: Keeps track of our membership roster, which includes names, contact information and addresses, and emergency contacts.
  • Mentor Chair: Assigns mentors, distributes orientation materials to mentors, keeps list up-to-date, sends information regarding potential Grannies to the Membership Chair and keeps in touch with Mentors about status of Mentees.
  • Webmaster:Handles web page design and content including posting pictures and videos and forwarding inquiries to the appropriate leadership members.
  • Social Media Coordinator: Posts and maintains content of Facebook including posting pictures and videos and forwarding inquires to Grand Grannies.
  • Point Person: An ad hoc position created on an as needed basis for Actions. The point person acts as liaison between the Grannies and the event organizers.
  • Spokesperson: Also an ad hoc position created on an as needed basis for Actions. Because we want our message to be accurate and articulate we assign one Granny to speak to the media and answer questions when we are participating in an action.
  • Song writers – see below
  • Speakers Bureau – Grannies who are willing to be interviewed and are articulate and informed about the Raging Grannies and other issues. (Being developed)

Communications

  • Each official Granny must register for the PRG Member ListServe in order to be kept informed about Raging Granny activities.
  • Information posted to the member list needs approval from the Advisory Group.
  • When a message is sent through the ListServe Grannies should use “Forward” to reply to specific member.
  • Information on our website is vetted and edited by our webmaster. Questions regarding this are referred to the AG.
  • Individuals making inquires about the Grannies should be directed to the website for contact and other information.
  • We also use social media such as Facebook for broadcasting information about our actions.
  • Official Grannies may also sign up for a separate optional list FYI-PRG. Any Granny may post to this ListServe if they are signed up to use it.

Song writing

  • We have a loosely organized song writing committee that selects and/or writes songs for our actions.
  • We use songs taken from our website, the International Raging Grannies website and those written by our own Grannies.
  • Periodically the song writing committee gets together for a work session.
  • Any Granny is welcome to attend and to submit songs to the song writing committee. We try to use familiar tunes in the public domain. Songs submitted are usually strengthened by group input.
  • Songs, will be sent to the members prior to meetings and rehearsals.
  • Members are responsible for making their own copies.
  • Once the committee has selected and approved the songs, changes to the songs will be minimal.
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