MobLab Dispatch

MobLab Dispatch | Originally sent on 22 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.

What was the most thought-provoking thing about social change campaigning that you read or saw this year? Let us know, and we’ll include it in MobLab’s best of 2018 review. Keep an eye out for the final list! In the meantime, the Dispatch is going on holiday and will return in January.

– Lauren and the MobLab team


Mozilla’s timely and practical naughty list for holiday gifts. Now in its second season, “Privacy Not Included” highlights how a campaign can add value to ongoing conversations. [Brian Barrett | WIRED]

Women of colour stage #BlackFridays walkouts in the US to protest the status quo. Their networked actions had a different theme each week and combined elements of strikes and get-out-the-vote efforts. [Sarah Freeman-Woolpert | Waging Nonviolence]

Tips and Tricks for Participatory and Empowering Facilitation: Check out this PDF toolkit from Transgender Europe, which covers everything from building trust to managing the group’s energy. [Nim Ralph and Nadia Vogel]

Civil spaces are shrinking. How can we resist?

Authoritarianism is on the rise, and the world’s biggest democracies are not immune. But changemakers in Brazil, India and the US are actively pushing back. How can we support their work and what can we learn from their experiences?

We’ll discuss at the next MobLab Live session on 28 November 2018 with Manoela Miklos, Anshul Tewari and Nicole Carty. RSVP now to save your spot!


Cultural campaigning, strong alliances with sister movements, and minimal hierarchy. Those are just a few of the elements characterising youth and feminist campaigns that have emerged in India since the 2010s. [Esther Moraes and Vinita Sahasranaman | Oxfam]

The counterintuitive but effective “inoculation” approach of trans activists in the US. Canvassers exposed people to anti-trans rights ads and then addressed their fears and ignorance head-on. [Nancy Podcast | WNYC]

How a creative stunt helped Macedonian activists put clean water on the agenda. They staged a mineral water launch, then revealed to the assembled reporters that the bottles contained toxic local supply. Four years later, the activists declared victory with the opening of a new facility. [Filip Stojanovski | Global Voices]


Touching the heart vs. engaging the brain: The American Cancer Society traded statistics for stories in its campaigns for donations because numbers, however impressive, created trust but no love. [Carmine Gallo | Forbes]

Better partnerships are the key to better storytelling. Just look at the award-winning film “Chasing Coral”—the production company worked closely with Conservation Voters of South Carolina to strategically convene local partners and trusted messengers to pressure lawmakers on clean energy policy. [Samantha Wright and Annie Neimand | Stanford Social Innovation Review]

Do you struggle to evaluate advocacy work in a meaningful way? Hivos and Wageningen University & Research have created a new method to do so called Narrative Assessment, which builds on Theory of Change thinking and storytelling.

Learn how to design creative and powerful campaigns

Join us in 2019 to learn our collaborative process for planning and testing systems-based, people-powered campaigns. We’ve just opened up applications for Campaign Accelerator trainings in New York (April), London (May), and Nairobi (September). Register now!


Understand a community’s needs first, then develop tools to help them. Ford Foundation Technology Fellow Wilneida Negrón recounts her experiences creating tech for good, such as an emergency SMS system that connected immigrant survivors of domestic violence with information and assistance. [Fast Company]

Fascinating report on how digital platforms support migrant workers and drive systemic reform: Hospo Voice, for example, is a digital union for hospitality workers in Australia, led by neighbourhood-based networks of young activists. [Bassina Farbenblum, Laurie Berg and Angela Kintominas | Open Society Foundations]

Not sure where to start when designing a digital campaign strategy? Check out this list of six questions to guide you along, from “what are your objectives?” to “how will you engage your audiences?” [Craig Dwyer | Campaigns & Elections]


“Civil society organisations focusing on different issues need to come out of their silos and share their work…No single group on their own can effect the change that is needed,” argues the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women. [openDemocracy]

Most of what we “know” about human psychology comes from studies of a narrow slice of the world’s population. Just because your campaign successfully changed behaviours in one locale doesn’t mean it will work in another. [Daniel Hruschka | The Conversation]

Can activism be franchised? Alice Fuller draws parallels between franchising and organising at scale, including that “brands” offer individuals a structured orientation and a range of ready-to-use products. [Analytical Activism]

Savvy charities are reconnecting with the grassroots. Julia Unwin, chair of the UK-based Civil Society Futures inquiry, says real campaigning energy lies in communities both on and offline, but organisations too often focus on government. [Patrick Butler | The Guardian]

The Community Canvas, a framework for building more meaningful communities. There’s plenty of worksheets to help you create your own strategy, plus an open-source collection of real-life examples to draw inspiration from.

Why activism is self-care: “…there is a certain point at which we can no longer retreat into our private spheres of comfort while the wider world suffers without feeling that pain ourselves. There is a certain point at which the only true self-care is caring for somebody else.” [Shane Ryan | Paste]


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: “Do not wait for leaders. Become them.” By rob walsh via Unsplash. 

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