Resources for Organisers

tools and handouts to build long-term capacity and power

Base-building


Building a movement isn’t just about carrying out an action. Movement-building is about growing relationships, and growing people’s sense of power. For that, we offer ways to get people more deeply involved. The concept of the ladder of engagement can make sure we are inviting people to make a deeper commitment.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-20 people

Time: 20 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


A young organiser was asking for advice on how to be a better organiser. An older organiser replied, “You are selfish—you take all this work and do it yourself. But other people want to participate and help out. They need you to be more giving and give them meaningful work so they can feel part of the organisation.” Those are wise words—and true for many of us. So how do we get others involved by giving work away? One tool to help us with this is: the menu of tasks.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-30 people

Time: 10-20 minutes


Elicitive Tools


Media


Journalists don’t cover opinions (that’s for the Opinion section of the newspaper). They cover news — something that is new, preferably dramatic and surprising, and connected to current affairs or issues already being covered in the media. This is a challenge for us because they are not built well for covering on-going slow-burn problems, like the warming of the planet.  Here are some tips to help an action be more newsworthy:


Organising


Journalists don’t cover opinions (that’s for the Opinion section of the newspaper). They cover news — something that is new, preferably dramatic and surprising, and connected to current affairs or issues already being covered in the media. This is a challenge for us because they are not built well for covering on-going slow-burn problems, like the warming of the planet.  Here are some tips to help an action be more newsworthy:


Building a movement can sometimes feel like pushing a boulder up a hill. We’re pushing against major forces who take great effort to budge. Other times it can feel like racing downhill — we start something and it quickly takes-off. Sometimes we are running to keep up with what is happening, spending energy to help events roll on course and in the right direction. Whatever our work feels like, it needs the same thing: momentum.


Activist groups can reach a point where they stop growing. Such groups often mistakenly believe they’ve tapped all the people who care about their issue. They think, for instance: Nobody else cares about the expansion of coal plants or is willing to take a stand against rising sea levels. The problem is often not that we have run out of people in our city or town, it’s how we are organizing and the way we think about growing our group.


Building a movement isn’t just about carrying out an action. Movement-building is about growing relationships, and growing people’s sense of power. For that, we offer ways to get people more deeply involved. The concept of the ladder of engagement can make sure we are inviting people to make a deeper commitment.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-20 people

Time: 20 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


350 staffer Sarah from Egypt has been using a method called appreciative inquiry. That approach believes that groups make their best progress when they they focus on the skills they do well. When a group says they aren’t good at communication, for example, this approach asks of the group: “Okay, but when you’re the best at communication—what does that look like?” The idea is that seeing what you’re lacking doesn’t help you know what to do more of. Instead focus on what resources you have and how to expand and grow those.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-25 people

Time: 45 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


Campaigns aren’t won all at once. They are won through a series of actions. Yet, too often, we design only one action ahead of time. That can be a problem because when that action is over, people want to know: “What’s next?” Right after the action they are energized and ready to do the next thing. We lose that energy if we don’t have the next step. This tool is about helping us plan ahead so we can keep momentum. It’s a great tool to do after people have been thinking about possible tactics, or near the end of a campaign workshop to finalise a plan.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 10-50+ people

Time: 20-45 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


Power-mapping can help you to identify targets and focus your strategy. The idea is to map out your potential targets, and the institutions and individuals who influence your target, so you can begin to understand possible points to impact them. A power map can be a useful visual tool to help your team understand power, and see possibilities for campaigning.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-30 people

Time: 20-30 minutes


The goal of this activity is straightforward: getting people to create a timeline of what they have been up to in the last, say, six months. We encourage reflection in small groups so that you get a wide range of input and more chances for participation. Plus, small groups are another way of getting participants to work with each other, especially if you encourage people to get into groups with people they don’t as well or don’t work with as often.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-40 people

Time: 35 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


A strategy tool to examine the range of social forces and groups, spread across a spectrum, from those who are the most dedicated opponents to those who are the most active supporters. This tool can uncover how tactics need to be planned in relation to whether or not they attract key allies; encourage more optimistic mobilisation efforts through a realization that it is not necessary to win over everyone to our point of view; and to assess where a group needs to do more research related to allies.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-50+ people

Time: 15-30 minutes

Learning Styles: Reading/Writing, Visual


By themselves, rulers cannot collect taxes, enforce repressive laws and regulations, keep trains running on time, prepare national budgets, direct traffic, manage ports, print money, repair roads, keep markets supplied with food, make steel, build rockets, train the police and army, issue postage stamps or even milk a cow. People provide these services to the ruler though a variety of organizations and institutions. If people would stop providing these skills, the ruler could not rule.  - Gene Sharp • The Politics of Nonviolent Action

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-50+ people

Time: 15-30 minutes


A young organiser was asking for advice on how to be a better organiser. An older organiser replied, “You are selfish—you take all this work and do it yourself. But other people want to participate and help out. They need you to be more giving and give them meaningful work so they can feel part of the organisation.” Those are wise words—and true for many of us. So how do we get others involved by giving work away? One tool to help us with this is: the menu of tasks.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-30 people

Time: 10-20 minutes


Strategy


Building a movement can sometimes feel like pushing a boulder up a hill. We’re pushing against major forces who take great effort to budge. Other times it can feel like racing downhill — we start something and it quickly takes-off. Sometimes we are running to keep up with what is happening, spending energy to help events roll on course and in the right direction. Whatever our work feels like, it needs the same thing: momentum.


Activist groups can reach a point where they stop growing. Such groups often mistakenly believe they’ve tapped all the people who care about their issue. They think, for instance: Nobody else cares about the expansion of coal plants or is willing to take a stand against rising sea levels. The problem is often not that we have run out of people in our city or town, it’s how we are organizing and the way we think about growing our group.


350 staffer Sarah from Egypt has been using a method called appreciative inquiry. That approach believes that groups make their best progress when they they focus on the skills they do well. When a group says they aren’t good at communication, for example, this approach asks of the group: “Okay, but when you’re the best at communication—what does that look like?” The idea is that seeing what you’re lacking doesn’t help you know what to do more of. Instead focus on what resources you have and how to expand and grow those.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-25 people

Time: 45 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


Campaigns aren’t won all at once. They are won through a series of actions. Yet, too often, we design only one action ahead of time. That can be a problem because when that action is over, people want to know: “What’s next?” Right after the action they are energized and ready to do the next thing. We lose that energy if we don’t have the next step. This tool is about helping us plan ahead so we can keep momentum. It’s a great tool to do after people have been thinking about possible tactics, or near the end of a campaign workshop to finalise a plan.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 10-50+ people

Time: 20-45 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


Power-mapping can help you to identify targets and focus your strategy. The idea is to map out your potential targets, and the institutions and individuals who influence your target, so you can begin to understand possible points to impact them. A power map can be a useful visual tool to help your team understand power, and see possibilities for campaigning.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-30 people

Time: 20-30 minutes


The goal of this activity is straightforward: getting people to create a timeline of what they have been up to in the last, say, six months. We encourage reflection in small groups so that you get a wide range of input and more chances for participation. Plus, small groups are another way of getting participants to work with each other, especially if you encourage people to get into groups with people they don’t as well or don’t work with as often.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-40 people

Time: 35 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


A strategy tool to examine the range of social forces and groups, spread across a spectrum, from those who are the most dedicated opponents to those who are the most active supporters. This tool can uncover how tactics need to be planned in relation to whether or not they attract key allies; encourage more optimistic mobilisation efforts through a realization that it is not necessary to win over everyone to our point of view; and to assess where a group needs to do more research related to allies.

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-50+ people

Time: 15-30 minutes

Learning Styles: Reading/Writing, Visual


By themselves, rulers cannot collect taxes, enforce repressive laws and regulations, keep trains running on time, prepare national budgets, direct traffic, manage ports, print money, repair roads, keep markets supplied with food, make steel, build rockets, train the police and army, issue postage stamps or even milk a cow. People provide these services to the ruler though a variety of organizations and institutions. If people would stop providing these skills, the ruler could not rule.  - Gene Sharp • The Politics of Nonviolent Action

Topics: ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-50+ people

Time: 15-30 minutes


Team-building


Building a movement isn’t just about carrying out an action. Movement-building is about growing relationships, and growing people’s sense of power. For that, we offer ways to get people more deeply involved. The concept of the ladder of engagement can make sure we are inviting people to make a deeper commitment.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-20 people

Time: 20 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


350 staffer Sarah from Egypt has been using a method called appreciative inquiry. That approach believes that groups make their best progress when they they focus on the skills they do well. When a group says they aren’t good at communication, for example, this approach asks of the group: “Okay, but when you’re the best at communication—what does that look like?” The idea is that seeing what you’re lacking doesn’t help you know what to do more of. Instead focus on what resources you have and how to expand and grow those.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-25 people

Time: 45 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual


The goal of this activity is straightforward: getting people to create a timeline of what they have been up to in the last, say, six months. We encourage reflection in small groups so that you get a wide range of input and more chances for participation. Plus, small groups are another way of getting participants to work with each other, especially if you encourage people to get into groups with people they don’t as well or don’t work with as often.

Topics: , ,

For: , ,

Group Size: 5-40 people

Time: 35 minutes

Learning Styles: Auditory, Reading/Writing, Visual