MobLab Dispatch

MobLab Dispatch | Originally sent on 8 November 2018
The Dispatch tracks innovations in people-powered campaigning, training opportunities and mobilisation jobs around the globe. Get it in your inbox and catch up on past Dispatches.


The long-term value of social connection in organising. Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost his bid for US Senate but came close to pulling off the unthinkable in Texas. How? Networks of volunteers who worked together on the 2017 Women’s March brought the power of those relationships to his campaign. [Anne Helen Petersen | BuzzFeed]

Think far ahead. Big change doesn’t happen overnight. For years, Malaysia’s Bersih movement has kept up the pressure with voter registration drives, protests, and legal action, and the sustained mobilisation is finally paying off in democratic progress. [Hema Preya Selvanathan | Waging Nonviolence]

What’s disinformation doing “right” and what can we learn from it? It is responsive to news events, relies on cooperative amplification between competitors, and taps into a community’s passions—three things an effective campaign for good might aspire to do. [Laura Hazard Owen | Nieman Lab]

Help us help you win deeper, longer lasting change

What do you need to grow your advocacy campaigning? We want to know! After all, that’s the only reason MobLab exists―to support changemakers like you.

If you haven’t already, take our brief survey and tell us what we can do for you.


The Middle East’s LGBTQ rights movement sees progress from its intersectional approach. Teaming up with feminist and human rights groups “creates power and [applies] pressure on the government to negotiate with us.” [Trudy Ring | Advocate]

A 20,000-strong protest, organised in less than a week. To demand changes in Google’s sexual harassment policies, employees planned a walkout using message boards, messaging apps and social media. Labour unions, take note. [Michael Walker | The Conversation]

Women in tech are mobilising to improve access to abortion providers. So far, Abortion Access Hackathon has hosted four hackathons in the US to create online tools that list legitimate clinics, expose fake ones, and explain relevant laws. [Rina Raphael | Fast Company]

Grabbing attention vs. changing hearts and minds: #DoctorsAreDickheads, which showcased stories of malpractice by medical practitioners, highlights how negative messaging can be counterproductive. [Matthew Hughes | The Next Web]


On the other hand, moral outrage can drive people to take part in long-term collective action. And promoting only empathy runs the risk of curtailing motivation to effect change, according to this psychology analysis. [Traci Pedersen | Psych Central]

Words can influence how you conceive of campaigns, so choose carefully. Counterpart International is banning the word “empower” because “talking about us as an organisation empowering people robs them of their agency to take control of their own lives and claim their rights.” [Ann Hudock | Devex]

The importance of knowing your audience: Reframing the narrative to preserving, rather than changing, society could move climate change skeptics in the US Midwest to action, say researchers Matthew Houser and Andrea Webster. [The Conversation]


Blockchain lessons from China’s #MeToo movement: The tech ensured stories weren’t censored, but revealed challenges around privacy and safety for survivors who may want to modify or withdraw their statements. [Catherine Tucker and Yudan Pang | Harvard Business Review]

How to build tech with, not for, movements: Action Network has found success with its cooperative approach that puts campaigners at the centre of its tech development process and funding model. [Brian Young | Civicist]

Mobile, a missed opportunity in social change work. Only 15% of NGOs worldwide regularly send SMS to donors and supporters, and only 18% use messaging apps, according to the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report.


More activists are being murdered for their work. At least 312 activists were killed throughout the world in 2017, representing a doubling in the rate since 2015. [AFP]

Changing narratives and building engagement through artivism. A project in Colombia recruits volunteers to illustrate “postcards for memory” that chronicle the lives of murdered peace activists. [Laura Vidal | Global Voices]

Small change, big statement. A group called Crimean Solidarity crowdfunds to help Crimean Tatar protesters pay off fines, but delivers the payments to government officials in coins that are time-consuming to count. [Radio Free Europe]

There’s more than one way to change a system. Two archetypes based on examples in Egypt and India are changing a system by building a system and changing a system by isolating a subsystem. [Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair | Stanford Social Change Innovation Review]

“Respect for each other’s unique capacities”—that’s one of the keys to civil society organisations and grassroots movements working together successfully to win change, as outlined in a report by Yannicke Goris from The Broker.


Interesting conferences, events and trainings across our global network.


Looking to create change (or make a change)? Scan these open roles in campaigning, digital innovation and social change leadership. Have a job to share? Send us a link!

Featured photo: A Beto O’Rourke rally in San Antonio, Texas, on 23 October 2018. Photo by Flickr user crockodile. CC BY 2.0.

Like this story?