Author: Tom Liacas

Organising’s back… and that’s good news for campaigners

Insights, Learning

There is a lot of talk these days about the relative merits of organising and mobilising in campaign strategy circles. In these discussions, mobilising is understood as the practice of driving your base to take part in collective activities, such as signing petitions or donating online, with a focus on achieving good numbers. Organising, on the other hand, is the process of building deeper bonds with supporters and skilling them up to become leaders themselves. Though many advocacy organisations have put their energies into mobilising, analysts such as political scientist Hahrie Han and labor activist Jane MacAlevey remind us that...

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A Big Organizing guide to 2017 and beyond

People Lead

A warning to those living in open and privileged societies and working in well-funded top-down advocacy institutions: This book may cause intense feelings of inadequacy and a burning desire to innovate. Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything is an inside look at the massive volunteer-driven campaign supporting Bernie Sanders’ run for U.S. president. Becky Bond and Zack Exley, key Sanders campaign strategists, draw on their experience creating a “Big Organizing” machine that leveraged supporter enthusiasm and put volunteers in leadership roles along the way to making seventy-five million calls, sending eight million text messages and winning...

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Fight for $15: Directed-network campaigning in action

Case Studies, People Lead

American unions have been losing members and influence for over 30 years so it’s notable when a labor campaign changes wage policies across the U.S. and forces corporate giants such as Walmart and McDonald’s to bend to its demands. Using directed-network campaigning, the Fight for $15 is shifting power in the direction of America’s workers. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-supported Fight for $15 seeks a $15 per hour minimum wage across the United States. The campaign is being fought at the federal level, where the minimum wage is currently a paltry $7.25, while also targeting big retail employers with...

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The and Hollaback! approach to distributed campaigning

Campaigning and Hollaback! are relative newcomers to the world of cause campaigning but have experienced an explosive rise in following and impact since their founding. Their distributed approach to movement building seems to have been a key factor here but unlike other distributed movements that rose quickly and faded just as fast, their growth is steady and sustained. Are these groups on to something? What follows is a closer look at how Hollaback! and are making distributed action work for them. Distributed campaigns rely on top-down framing and central leadership Balancing volunteer autonomy is critical–and there’s no one...

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