Our insights, observations and opinions on the big (and sometimes small) issues in engagement, mobilisation, and people powered campaigning.

Trusting the people: A manifesto for Open Campaigning

A campaigner's take on sharing our theory of change

Pierre Terras, a Global Strategist on Greenpeace’s Detox campaign offers his insights into trust, crowdsourcing strategy and putting open campaigning principles into practice.  One year ago we invited a snowboard freeride champion to join us at our Detox outdoor strategy meeting in Zurich. It was my first time attending such a restricted campaign decision making […]

3 elements of strong open campaigns

Key takeaways from Open Campaigns Camp 2015

Colin Holtz is a progressive writer and strategist who has authored several reports and articles for Mobilisation Lab, including Beyond Vanity Metrics: Toward better measurement of member engagement and “Grassroots-led Campaigns” Transforming the Landscape of Social Change. Colin joined us for Open Campaigns Camp 2015 and had these insights to share on open campaigning.  What do […]

What “new power” means for campaigners

Our take on an important new study of how power works today

From Tahrir Square to Ferguson, from Hong Kong to Istanbul, it’s no secret that powerful protests are rapidly scaling up and drawing strength from increasingly connected populations locally and globally. As we’ve tracked here before, the barriers to entry for social impact are getting lower each day. As the supercomputers in our pockets become more affordable […]

Be a Lean NGO: Overcoming three key hurdles to build a more iterative organization

It has been just three years since Eric Ries published The Lean Startup, and the book has become the standard playbook for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and around the world.

The principles of the Lean Startup methodology, as you probably know, include building a testable prototype or pilot (a minimum viable product or “MVP”) as early as possible in the development of a company (or program or campaign) and focusing at first on learning and iteration rather than profit.

Cause-focused organizations, from for-profit social enterprises to charities, have been using some of The Lean Startup’s tricks (like pilot programs) for decades. But there’s opportunity for world-changing organizations to learn — and do — more by following this method.

A group of us recently came together at a convening of the Web of Change community to discuss some of the key hurdles faced by cause-focused organizations trying to “go lean” and to brainstorm ideas for how to address these apparent roadblocks. Here are the three biggest hurdles we’ve experienced in our organizations and with clients, and our recommendations on how to get past these blockers.

Maps: A creative way to tell your stories

How to use maps to power up your campaign storytelling

In a world inundated by so much information, campaigns and actions are won by a mixture of ingredients: a creative team, a kickass strategy, an effective online presence, a strong group of supporters and a winning story. The last point is highly subjective because there are many ways and forms we can tell a story. […]

The Mobilisation Reader: 12 Must Reads

Understanding the arts and sciences of people-powered campaigning in the networked age.

If you could give 130 digital campaigners and emerging mobilization pros from every part of the world a single “must read” book or article to read to deepen their knowledge and expand their horizons of participatory, net-centric, people-powered campaigning, what would it be? We scanned our bookmarks. We talked to colleagues, friends and other practitioners, […]

Tanked! And that’s a good thing

We could all get a little more comfortable with failure.

Failing sucks. And admitting to failing? Often even harder. It’s something a lot of non-profits struggle with — either out of a desire not to hurt feelings, because of fuzzy goals that allow you to claim success no matter what, or just because no one likes to admit they were wrong. But the thing is […]

Greenpeace and the Great Transition: Global change through communication and campaigning

We recently spoke with Inge Wallage, International Communications Director at Greenpeace, about global change and Greenpeace. Inge shared insights into communicating to empower people-powered change in a time of great transition.  How important is communication in creating change? Communications are essential. A great campaign backed with studies and hard facts threatens to fail if it does not […]

Three trending innovations in mobilisation, from Greenpeace and its allies

Co-authored by Marianne Manilov and Bron York. Earlier this year, The Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace partnered with The Engage Network to embark on a 4 month community-wide listening to collect “bright spots” or positive trends and stories in Greenpeace’s global mobilisation efforts — and to surface innovations in people-powered campaigning that can help Greenpeace and […]