Power-Mapping Activity

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 ways to impact them. A power map can be a useful visual tool to help your team understand power, and see possibilities for campaigning.

Time: 20-30 minutes Group Size: 5-30 people

Here’s an example of a power-mapping activity you can use with your leadership team:

Your Target on the top. No influence on the bottom. Against you on the left; for you on the right.

Step 1: Choose your target. It’s best to choose a person, rather than an institution, because it is easier to understand what, specifically, might influence them.

Step 2: Map the influences on your target. Have your team begin placing people and institutions in your community on the map. You’ll see that there are two axes on the map – one indicates how influential that person is to your target, and the other shows whether that person is for or against your position (or neutral).

Be sure to think really broadly about who is connected to your target – think work, political, family, religious, and neighborhood ties. For elected officials, be sure to look at their major donors and key constituencies.

Step 3: Take a step back. Discuss with your team. What do you notice? Where do you see opportunities to get to your target? Highlight the people or institutions on the map with whom you have good relationships in one colour. Highlight in another colour the people or institutions you believe you could influence.

Step 4: Make a plan. What opportunities exist to influence your target? Discuss how your strategy could take advantage of those opportunities.

 

(For another way of thinking about your target and outside influence, see: People Power and Understanding the Upside Down Triangle.)


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