This article will cover the lifecycle of a movement. We try to explain the developmental stages of a movement, the different activities that correspond to the life cycle of your organisation or movement.
IMPORTANT: The content of this guide has been integrated into several other articles in the organising chapter.
This article is only here for archiving purposes. If you want to contribute, do so in the other articles.
A great way to attract new members is to make yourself and your values visible, especially if your organisation is new and unknown to other like-minded people. What are the problems your organisation is passionate to solve or to highlight? Stage a protest, for example. Be bold, be visible.
In order to be visible, you need media and social media exposure. A hot topic or a relevant issue can be the backdrop for your activity. Make sure your response to it is swift and appropriate. Use the momentum around an issue, build on it. Then make sure your response, for example, a protest or a strike, is properly and timely communicated to the media. Send press releases a couple of days in advance (if possible) and invite the media. Make sure to post on social media, too, since you cannot rely on conventional media to pick up your story at all times.
At first you might not get a lot of participants in your public activities, so do invite your friends and comrades. A flashmob or a protest looks way better with 25 people than 3.
If your activity fails to garner initial press and social media attention, you can still try to make yourself heard and seen with social media posts and an additional press release. Good photographs and videos are really important for visibility. If your past activity looks interesting and valuable to potential new members, it increases the likelihood more people will join your organisation. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and be your own best advertiser. A great call to join your organization? A picture with your most impressive past activities and simple “come join us” text.
Once you have attracted new activists, the next challenge is to keep them in the movement and engaged (connects with chapter “How to keep members in your movement, organisation”).
The main asset of a movement are their members. Members bring not only more power and recognition it also is crucial for better organisation:
Without active members there is a lot more organisational work for a single people. So the more active members the better. To keep them active and supportive of your movement you should:
Create a sense of community
Being an activist can be exhausting sometimes but having a community can be a big changer in this topic- in order to create that sense of community: Take your activists feel that they belong in your activist social circle. Combine activism with fun events, make your work as memorable and enjoyable as it is effective
Specialise and Promote
Not every activist can know everything but specific knowledge can be really effective. Also activists who have that knowledge can teach other activists about it. Try having activists in your unit specialise on a certain topic, practice on it, and have them take on tougher and more demanding roles if the shoe fits.
Don’t Stress over Scheduling
Be gentle on your activists, they have a life outside of your movement. So try to give them the time they need and be accommodating.
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In order to keep members extra motivated there are a few tricks you should keep in mind:
Building strong relationship with members of a movement is key in order to get members to the next level to become real organisers. We identified three steps in the developement of a member and how to help member achieve that milestones and how the relationship in this steps could be.
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Sometimes mobilization seems easier (and funnier!) than organization. Though, organization is essential to let your movement grow and achieve its goals. Without it, it is hard to produce changes in decision-making processes and power structures.
One of the main risks that a brand-new movement usually faces is the dropping out of activists. There are many ways to avoid it, especially if you will focus on creating a joyful human environment and a structure able to be both clear and flexible.
Building strong relationships within your movement means that the members of your movement or organization feel personally connected to it and can identify themselves as a part of it. This is important as personal identification leads to higher motivation. If a person feels like it is possible to fulfill their own values in what they are doing, they are more likely to have a higher commitment. As most activist movements only work by voluntary, engagement commitment is the most important variable for effectiveness.
The second point is that only if a person can identify themself as part of the movement it’s possible to build long-term relationships. Strong relationships in a sense of self-identification are necessary in order to create a long-term connection between a movement or an organization and its members, which is absolutely essential for the effectiveness.
The third aspect to mention is that strong relationships are important in order to solve conflicts and create an environment where everybody feels safe and empowered. Strong relationships are the base of good communication and the ability to talk about problems and mistakes in a constructive way.
As a last point it has to be said that strong relationships are also important for the wellbeing of the members of a movement or organization. Relationship between organization and members also means relationship between members as the organisation consists of it. A movement can only be effective if it’s members feel well. Activism can be hard sometimes and it is important to be able to talk about bad times and help each other. Without feeling strongly related to one's own movement it is not possible to address negative aspects and therefore not possible to care about each other.
The long history of activism has shown that it is crucial to communicate, cooperate and become more connected when it comes to movements. It is not only beneficial to the main goal, which is desired to be achieved but also to the movement itself, for its members.
First of all, the more cooperation we have, the better it is for achieving common goals. Building and creating strong connections is going to help us make a powerful “web” of activists all across the globe, therefore the process of achieving goals is going to be significantly faster and lessoverwhelming. This is a global aspect which is considered as the main reason when talking about “Why should we establish and develop stronger relations between movements?”. But there are also many other, not that “surface-level” kind of aspects.
There is a noticeable tendency that the left is more divided than right. It also really affects social, political and other movements in a bad way. But it is important to remember - even though many movements may have similar but not the same goals, it is still important to find compromises rather than arguing whether the goals the other movement is having are valuable. It is about setting priorities. Prioritizing achieving goals, enjoying the process rather than prioritizing aggressive arguing, conflicts, etc.
Also important to mention- creating tighter relations between movements is going to be relevant for exchanging experience, making the work process more productive. Basically cooperation and supporting each other is going to help developing movements faster and in a more effective way. It also kind of contributes to the idea of the strong web of activists.
Recap. How to achieve tighter relations between movements:
Subtopics for the future: