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.
To build an impactful grassroots movement, start small. Organise 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 decentralised movement. Finally, improve your teamwork by learning from other movements.
✊ Organise a protest — Take action today
📢 Organise a campaign - Make plans for the upcoming months
🌊 Build a movement — Scale up your campaign
📄 Organisation frameworks — Better teamwork
You want to make a big impact. But you have a limited access to resources needed to get there. This section focusses on building capacity to bring about change:
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:
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 those goals.
How to start a grassroots movement?
To start a grassroots movement, identify a cause that you are passionate about, gather a group of like-minded people, create a plan of action, and spread the word. Take a look at the many guides on Activist Handbook to get started.
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How to keep your movement inclusive
How to make your movement intersectional
How to be an effective leader
Long-term sustainability of movement
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*According to Semrush
Creative Commons resources
The authors of these materials want you to reuse them! They are available under a Creative Commons licence or similar:
Why Community Organizing Matters by Citizen's Handbook
Thinking about Organizing Your Community? by Citizen's Handbook
Organizing: Start Here by Commons Library
Collection: Organizing by Commons Library
Roles and structure:
Grassroots leaders by Citizen's Handbook
Group structure by Citizen's Handbook
Forming a core group by Citizen's Handbook
Guide: Distributed organising by Blueprints for Change
Collection: Developing an Organizational Structure for the Initiative by Community Tool Box
Guide: Improving Organizational Management and Development by Community Tool Box
Academic: Arranging for Community Mobilizers by Community Tool Box
Academic: Defining Organizational Structure and Operating Mechanisms by Community Tool Box
Book: Organising - People, power, change by Marshall Ganz [PDF]
Workshop: Organizing by Marshall Ganz [PDF]
Block by block organizing by Citizen's Handbook
The Skinny for Local Community by Citizen's Handbook
Top 11 Guidelines for Community Organizing by Citizen's Handbook
Grassroots Rot: How citizen's groups destroy themselves by Citizen's Handbook
Dealing with bad apples by Citizen's Handbook
Why stories matter: The art and craft of social change by Marshall Ganz (2009)
Book: Building a movement to end by Marshall Ganz (2015) [PDF]
Six building blocks of distributed organizing campaigns by NetChange