Chapter/OC FAQ

Join our Pre-OC/OC Office Hours call on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm EST!
Please email lisa@dsausa.org for the registration link.

Q: Is DSA a 501c3 or 501c4?

A: DSA is a 501c4. There is a second organization, Democratic Socialists of America Fund, which is a 501c3 and does educational work. Sometimes DSA makes a request for a grant from the DSA Fund to cover 501c3 permissible educational projects by DSA. There is also a federal PAC called DSA PAC.


Q: Our group is just starting to organize. Do you have online materials to help?

A: Yes! Our organizing blog has downloadable handouts, articles, and tips. DSA also has educational webinars and conference calls on an ongoing basis. Check the calendar regularly. We also offer online activist skills trainings and Pre-OC/OC Organizing Office Hours calls on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm EST. Please email lisa@dsausa.org if you’re interested in registering for an upcoming call. The Office Hours calls are hosted by Sam, one of our seasoned volunteer organizers. Although organizing is the focus of the Office Hours call, DSA staff member Lisa Flores is also available to field administrative questions.


Q: Can I get a list of all members in my area so I can contact them?

A: Yes, we send them to one designated person in chapters and OCs. We do NOT send member lists to pre-OCs. Instead, we may send out email blasts to members in your area. These email blasts have a very high open rate. To set up an eblast for your area, email lisa@dsausa.org with your message body, subject line, and the contact info for your group.


Q: I have organizing questions that are specific to my area. Who should I ask for help?

A: You can attend a monthly Pre-OC/OC Q&A Office Hours calls. The next call is Tuesday, July 10th at 7:30pm EST. Please email lisa@dsausa.org for a registration link.

If you’re already a nationally recognized OC or chapter, contact your regional field organizer with national DSA. To find out who that is, email lisa@dsausa.org.


Q: I’m organizing a group in my area. We already submitted a Chapter Interest form and/or OC application but have not heard back. What do we need to attain Organizing Committee (OC) status?

A: Please email lisa@dsausa.org.


Q: I’m leading an Organizing Committee (OC) that has over 15 dues-paying members. What do we need to file for Chapter status?

A: If your group is already an approved OC, please contact your chapter application pipeline point person for further instructions. If you’re not sure who your point person is, email lisa@dsausa.org.


Q: My chapter is having elections soon. How do I get a full list of active members?

A: Chapters that are listed on the national website map may fill out this form using their official email address listed on the website. Make sure to allow at least a week for our database coordinator to assemble the list.


Q: Can I get the tax ID number of DSA to set up a bank account for my chapter?

A: Not at this time. We are reviewing our financial practices vis a vis chapters at this time. For now, discuss best practices with your field organizer.


Q: My OC/Chapter wants to reserve meeting space in a library/public building, and we need to prove our non-profit status to do so. How do we get a copy of DSA’s tax letter?

A: First, make sure that the library accepts 501c4 tax letters, not just 501c3. All DSA meetings fall under our 501c4 activities so that is the letter we must provide. If the library accepts 501c4 letters, send a request for 501c4 letter to lisa@dsausa.org that includes your group’s name, why the library needs the tax letter (i.e. reserving meeting space) and the contact information for the person at the library who receives tax letters. The national office will submit the letter directly to the library for you.


Q: Can my OC/chapter get an official @dsausa.org email address?

A: No. Unfortunately the national office does not have the capacity, nor the money, to create and maintain dsausa.org email addresses for local groups. We strongly suggest you make your own group email address so no one’s personal email is listed on our website, such as XDSA@gmail.com. We also suggest creating a group phone number (using Google Voice or similar program) so no one’s personal phone number is listed on our website.


Q: We have new contact information or a new website or social media account we want posted to the DSA Chapters webpage. How do we get our info updated?

A: Send any updated information (contact information, new webpages, changes in leadership) to lisa@dsausa.org. Please remember to update Lisa when you have elections and change leadership, too.


Q: How do I get members of my local group added to DSA Activist?

A: We now have a DSA member-only discussion board and are no longer adding people to the DSA Activist listserv. As of August, invitations to the discussion board are being sent to randomized groups of members so that we can onboard gradually and resolve tech problems as they arise. If you received an invitation to the discussion board but are having trouble logging in, please verify that your dues are up to date and that you’re using the email address associated with your DSA membership.


Q: We are having an event/meeting/rally, and I want to order swag. How can I get some?

A: Check out our swag shop! Please email swag@dsausa.org with questions or problems.

If you’re a chapter, OC, or Pre-OC leader and want to order bundles of the current issue of Democratic Left for your group’s activities, you should have received a link to a request form via email from Lisa. If you can’t find it, or if you want to order bundles of previous issues, email lisa@dsausa.org.


Q: We want to create our own swag specific to our chapter/OC. Are we allowed to do that?

A: Yes! However we need you to follow certain specifications:

  • Swag must be made either by union printers with union materials (and stamped with a union bug) or made with donated labor and be noted as such with “labor donated”.
  • Swag design should follow our design guidelines.
  • If you need help with design, contact the design team at dsa.design.committee (at) gmail (dot) com.

Q: We submitted an Organizing Committee or Chapter application and the national website has not been updated yet.

A: This means either the National Political Committee has not voted on it yet or the national staff has not completed the administrative work to get it on the website.