Mobilisation Lab equips advocacy campaigners and their organisations to win in the networked age with transformative, participatory and collaborative approaches to social change. Why? Because these strategies are key to addressing the scale and complexity of the challenges we face today.
One way we advance this mission is by publishing stories about what’s working (and what’s not) in advocacy campaigns. These stories can be written by someone with first-hand experience with the campaign or organisation in question or they can be reported by a knowledgeable observer.
- Stories about what? Lessons and innovations in advocacy campaigning
- For who? A global audience of advocacy campaigners, decision makers and leaders
- Why? To provide the inspiration and know-how necessary to build more transformative, participatory and collaborative campaigns and organisations
- Word count? 500-1,200 words, although we sometimes go shorter or longer
What makes a MobLab story different?
Generally, storytelling about advocacy campaigning in most media outlets focuses on the five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, and Why). The How becomes an optional detail.
Campaigners mobilise protests against an issue
At Mobilisation Lab, however, the How is the story. Our stories offer timely, accurate and practical information about the mechanics of changemaking that readers can use to inform their own work.
Campaigners explain the innovative strategy behind those protests
Campaigners explain what worked and what didn’t in those protests
What is a MobLab story about?
A Mobilisation Lab story is generally about lessons, innovations or trends involving transformative, participatory and/or collaborative approaches to social change. Breaking that down further, it might touch on one or more of the following aspects of advocacy campaigning:
- Collaboration: How different actors in and around an advocacy campaign work together
- Culture and leadership: Transforming the internal structures of teams and organisations to enable more effective and equitable approaches to changemaking
- Narrative, framing and storytelling: Inspiring action and shifting values, beliefs and behaviours through storytelling
- Planning: The tools, exercises and frameworks used in the process of planning an advocacy campaign
- Organising, mobilising and engagement: Building and leveraging the power of people
- Safety and security: How changemakers stay safe in the face of evolving threats
- Strategy: The thinking behind how an advocacy campaign will pursue and achieve change
- Tech, tools and tactics: Imagining, designing and deploying these elements in a campaign, organisation or movement
- Testing, learning and iteration: Testing and measuring the effectiveness of an idea, strategy, tactic or tool, and adapting based on lessons learned
All stories are also told in a way that conforms to the principles outlined in our Editorial Code.
What are some real-life examples of a MobLab story?
Below are six stories published by MobLab that offer an example of what we’re looking for:
How ActionStation trains an army of keyboard warriors to promote love over hate
The New Zealand-based community campaigning organisation is building people power in an iterative and narrative-savvy way.
How powerful conversations won abortion rights in Ireland
Overturning the abortion ban in Ireland meant equipping people to share their stories and spark conversations with their friends and family.
Building campaigns when the world turns upside down
Greenpeace learns to let others lead, maximise networks and become a trusted partner after building campaigns to respond to typhoons in the Philippines.
Creating a rapid response system that leverages repression for your cause
A network of allies and a checklist can protect victims of political persecution and build movement power, explains Solidarity Uganda's Phil Wilmot.
The 350.org and Hollaback! approach to distributed campaigning
We talked with 350 and Hollaback! about how they open campaigns and balance autonomy with facilitation in a powerful approach to distributed campaigning.
How Fine Acts is bridging the arts and advocacy worlds to build a free vault of campaign visuals
“When done well, visual content shows, rather than tells, and goes straight to one’s heart,” says Svetla Baeva, Fine Acts Campaigns Director.
What’s not a MobLab story?
- Human interest stories—although humans should be central to a MobLab story
- Political or economic analyses—although, depending on the story, some political or economic context could be useful for our global audience
- Press releases and puff pieces—a MobLab story is always grounded in reality; we’re especially interested in exploring challenges
Who is reading MobLab stories?
MobLab stories are read and shared by a global network of social change practitioners, decision makers, and leaders—who already understand the basics of advocacy campaigning. However, the ideas contained in our stories help them to improve the impact of their campaigns and shift their organisations to more effective and agile ways of working.
Depending on the topic or theme, MobLab stories can also be of interest to academics, funders, policy makers, social entrepreneurs, and technologists.
Have a story you want to write?
We’d love to hear about it! Send the following details about your idea, as well as your proposed date of delivery and a short bio, to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- What is the story about? (1-2 sentences)
- What is noteworthy about this story, in relation to MobLab’s mission of challenging advocacy campaigners and their organisations to build people power, use creative tactics, tackle root causes and adopt innovative cultures? (1 sentence)
- What potential lesson(s) does this story hold for changemakers? (1 sentence)
We look forward to hearing from you!