Skip to content
On this page
🔥 Join our campaign to train 350 million activists!

Article structure

Recommended sections to include in guides for activists
8 min read
Last update: Dec 20, 2023

In this guide, we explain what sections an article on Activist Handbook should include. You can also use these guidelines when writing guides for change-makers on other platform.

Article quality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4/5)


Would you like to start writing guides for activists? Do you find it difficult to get started with the first few words? This guide will help you!

By making use of our recommended sections, you never start with an empty canvas. Through years of experience, writers at Activist Handbook have figured out the best way to structure a guide for change-makers.

Following these guidelines will:

  • ♿️ Make your guides more accessible

  • 🔍 Help activists find the content they are looking for faster

  • 📝 Help you avoid a writer's-block

So what are you waiting for? Read on to become a pro guide-writer!


Make sure to include:

  1. Header (title + subtitle)

  2. Abstract

  3. Highlighted block (star rating + not to be confused with + related guides)

  4. Introduction (including video)

  5. Summary (including subtopics)

  6. ... content sections ...

  7. Conclusion

  8. Improve this page

  9. Footnotes (discouraged)

  10. Related guides

  11. External resources

  12. Attribution

The ideal guide contains the following sections:

1. Header


The title should be short and clearly announce what the article or page is about. We strongly advise you not to make it a sentence or a question and to keep it under 30 characters.

Example: "How to organise protest"


The subtitle should contain additional keywords that people might search for when looking for the article or page. But remember that the subtitle is not just for search engine optimization, it also has to be relevant for website visitors.

Example: "Guide on how to organise a demonstration"

2. Abstract

The first paragraph (in bold) should outline the contents of the article or page, explain what it is about and why it might (not) be relevant for the reader. Stick to max 1 paragraph.

The goal of the abstract is not to captivate the reader: this is done in the introduction instead. The abstract should be boring and straightforward: what can I as a reader expect from this article?


In this guide, you will learn how to organise a protest or demonstration. This article for activists explains step by step how to organise an action to draw attention to your cause.

3. Highlighted block

We want activists to know what to expect before starting to read our guides:

  • Star rating: That is why we give an indication of the article quality using a 5 star rating system, based on our own evaluation criteria.

  • Not to be confused with: Sometimes the title of an article leaves doubt about what the article discusses. For example, our article about the book "Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything" is similarly named to the book "Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services"

  • Related guides: Sometimes we think it is very likely people arriving on a certain guide are actually looking for a related guide on Activist Handbook. We also do this if the guide is part of a collection on that topic.


Article quality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3/5)

Not to be confused with: ...

Related guides: ...

4. Introduction + video

The purpose of the introduction is to motivate people to read the article. You can do this by writing a captivating introduction: use examples, a short engaging story, an illustration and/or a video.

🤖 AI prompt:
_Write an introduction for this guide. Include a real world example from activists in the Global South that illustrates the key learnings from this guide:

[insert article content]_

5. Summary + subtopics

A summary should contain the most important takeaways from the article.

If the topic is too complex to fit in one page, make sure to break the article into multiple pages and link the related pages directly underneath the summary. Subtopics always use the following linking structure "".

🤖 AI prompt:

Summarize this guide:

[insert article content]

6. Content sections

This is the main content of your article or page. You should split up your content into sections. The titles of these sections depend on your topic. You can make use of the section patterns below.

  • The sections above are not included in the default template, because they cannot be used in every guide.

  • You might notice that a guide becomes too long if you include all of these sections. In that case, you can also create separate sub-pages for each of those sections.

What is XYZ?

Often, a logical first section is a simple definition of the topic at hand. For example: "What is a strategy?", "What is a grassroots movement?". You might think this to be obvious, but this is actually often the most frequently asked question about that topic! Answering the "What is XYZ?" question also helps set the stage for the rest of the article, introducing the topic and explaining how it differs from other articles.

Pros & cons

Guides are mostly about how to do something, not if. In many cases, however, activists might actually be looking up on how to do something without considering alternatives. A pros and cons section can help activists evaluate if the thing you're explaining how to do is actually what they need right now.

Steps to ... (1, 2, 3, etc)

Organise your content into steps that people need to take chronologically. For example, create a section called "Steps to facilitate a meeting" with subsections for all the steps. You can also include a "Prerequisites" section: things you need before starting these steps.


You can use the lifecycle of the thing you are discussing as a starting point for your structure. For example: starting a coalition, maintaining a coalition, evaluating success.


Are you reviewing a book, movie, or something else? It is always good to include a 'criticism' section!


Sometimes, a historical perspective is important to understand the topic. However, make sure to make it as concrete as possible: what can we learn from the past that applies to activists now?


We try to make our guides as practical as possible. However, sometimes, there is no way around introducing the topic first with some theory. For example, if you are explaining the basic elements of an effective campaign strategy (vision, goals, objectives, etc.). In such cases, you can add section 'workshops', in which you add step-by-step outlines on how to facilitate a specific type of session for a group of a particular size.


Look at the topic from the perspective of inclusivity.

Local context

At Activist Handbook, we write guides that help activists across the globe. Throughout our guides, we try to give general advice that is helpful for change-makers everywhere, because we believe there is a lot we can learn from each other, no matter our geographical location. However, widely varying local contexts require different approaches to activism, and thus also different guides.

Many of the resources we re-use were written by activists in the Global North, in particular the United States. This bias is reflected in the contents of our guides.

To acknowledge our guides lacking on this front, we include a section 'local context'. Ideally, a more global and inclusive perspective would be integrated throughout our guides, and not limited to a single section. Adding this section is a first step towards that.


Provide case studies as examples to learn from.

7. Conclusion

Briefly recap what people learned in the guide. Provide advice for next steps (for example, reading related guides).

8. Improve this page

Encourage people to contribute to the page. Try to insert creative calls to actions when appropriate. Are we looking for more resources? Are we looking for a specific perspective on the topic? In what ways could people engage with the article you are writing?

9. Footnotes (discouraged)

When you do not want to obstruct the main content with a comment, you can add it in the footnotes. Adding footnotes is strongly discouraged, as it does not provide a good user experience (having to scroll up and down).

To make it easier for activists to find the information they are looking for on this site, add a list of related articles at the bottom of each page. These articles can be from a different chapter.

Related guides are different from external resources (see below):

  • Related guides are always articles on Activist Handbook. They discuss distinct (though related) topics.

  • External resources are links to other websites. They cover the same topic.

11. External resources

This is a section where you can list all the external resources that are relevant to the topic but not yet covered in the article you are writing. Learn more about how to find external resources for your guide.

12. Attribution

In this section we give credit to authors. This is particularly useful when reusing external Creative Commons resources, or when articles have been written in partnership with other organisations.

Why use this template?

  • 🔥 The opposite of clickbait: This template is created with the interests of activists in mind. We change-makers are busy people and finding the right information fast is essential for winning our campaigns. At Activist Handbook, we have no interest in tricking you into clicking a link or staying on a page longer. We have no financial incentive to do so: our platform does not contain any ads. Our only motivation is to help you find the information you are looking for as fast as possible.

  • 📄 Consistency across Activist Handbook: People reading guides on our website know exactly where to look for what information. Every guide is structured the same way. It also makes it possible for various authors to collaborate more efficiently on this Wikipedia-for-activists platform.

  • 🔍 Based on search engine optimisation research: By looking at thousands of search queries done, we know what questions activists ask and which words they use to find the answers. This template helps you answer the most frequently asked questions by activists, and ensures your guide will end up high in the Google search results.

  • 📊 Based on website insights: Based on our website statistics, we know how activists navigate the web: how far people scroll down, which links they click, how long they spend on each page. This sections template accommodates different types of web browsers: from those just having a quick glance to those taking their time to consume all knowledge.

  • 📝 Based on years of guide-writing experience: Our contributors have written hundreds of guides and read many thousands of resources created by others. We have learned what things are essential to include in every guide, and which are topic-specific.


Writing all guides for activists using the same exact sections can be a bit boring. A big part of conveying information is about making your story interesting. Imagine if all books followed the same chapter structure!

Different people enjoy different writing styles. Diversity in guide formats stimulates creativity and innovation.

Thus, it does not make sense for every text written for activists to follow the sections template explained in this guide. However, when writing for Activist Handbook, we do expect you to follow these guidelines (for the reasons outlined in the section above: 'Why use this template?').


Now you know what sections to include in your guide for activists. You might see guides on Activist Handbook not following this template: we encourage you to create an account and start editing!

Improve this page

If you come across limitations of the sections template described on this page while writing for Activist Handbook, feel free to suggest improvements!

You can also make this guide better by adding different media formats: a video, quiz, illustration, pictures, etc.

We have several other guides for people who want to write guides for activists: learn how to write for Activist Handbook.

External resources


Work from the following resources was reused on this page:

We're building the Wikipedia for activists

And you can help us. Join our our international team, or start a local group of writers.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike logo
You can reuse this content!
Just make sure to give attribution to Activist Handbook and read our licence for the details. Want to use our logo? Read our design guide.
All our work is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence, unless otherwise noted.
Improve this page!