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Grassroots organizing

Guides about movement building โšก๏ธ
4 min read
Last update: Jun 26, 2024

In this chapter, we explain how to get started with grassroots organizing. Our toolkit explains how to build a movement by looking at successful examples.

Chapter quality: โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ (4/5)

Start organizing

To build an impactful grassroots movement, start small. Organize a protest action that helps you to grow your group. Next, plan a campaign: a series of actions to pressure decision-makers. Then scale up by building a decentralized movement. Finally, improve your teamwork by learning from other movements.

  1. โœŠ Organise a protest โ€” Take action today

  2. ๐Ÿ“ข Organise a campaign - Make plans for the upcoming months

  3. ๐ŸŒŠ Build a movement โ€” Scale up your campaign

  4. ๐Ÿ“„ Organisation models โ€” Better teamwork

  5. ๐Ÿ”ฅ Movement of movements - Intersectional & international activism

Ants are organising at the grassroots

Ants are organizing at the grassroots, by Joppe | Generated using Dall-e

Capacity building

You want to make a big impact. But you have limited access to the resources needed to get there. This section focuses on building capacity to bring about change:

Hedgehogs organising a rebellion

Hedgehogs Organising a rebellion, by Joppe | Generated using Dall-e

Team building

Organizing is all about bringing people together and building strong teams. Learn how to transform a collective of individuals into an impactful group of activists:

A strong activist raising her hand

A strong activist raising her hand, by Joppe | Generated using Dall-e


What is grassroots organizing?

Grassroots organizing is a way of working with communities to create change from the ground up. It involves building relationships with people, mobilizing resources and taking collective action to address the issues that affect them. It is a way of empowering people to take action and create positive change in their own lives.

What is community organizing?

Community organizing is a form of activism and grassroots organizing that involves bringing people together to work on a shared goal or cause. It involves engaging people in their local community to identify common issues and goals and then taking action together to address those issues and achieve said goals.

How to start a grassroots movement?

To start a grassroots movement, identify a cause you are passionate about, gather like-minded people, create a plan of action, and spread the word. Take a look at the many guides in the Activist Handbook to get started.

Case studies

This section still needs to be written. What methods and types of organisation have been used, and why, and how successful have they been? Has direct democracy or some other form of horizontal organising method been used? If not, why? Includes studies of leadership.

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  • Add more resources. We already have a lot of awesome resources for this chapter, but if you find some more valuable material, add it to the External Resources section below. Also, check out the subpages of this chapter to see if there are any with a small number of external resources.

  • Improve the contents of this chapter using these suggestions, or add some tips below:

    • Presenting the content of this guide through examples of good practices (or failures!) coming from across the globe. Form to do that: podcast with interviews (in English); illustrated book/pamphlet; posts on IG.

    • How to keep your movement inclusive

    • How to make your movement intersectional

    • How to be an effective leader

    • Long-term sustainability of the movement

New topics

Life cycle of a movement

  • Beginnings; case studies of how activist groups, political parties, NGOs, revolutionary civil disobedience movements, or any other type of group, formed.

  • Endings; case studies of how different types of groups ended, either voluntarily or involuntarily. (And did they end because they succeeded, failed, or evolved into something else?)

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