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Tips for Turnout from Your Rights at Work

The Your Rights at Work campaign ran from 2005 to 2007 and included some of the largest mobilisations in Australian social movement history. This article draws out some of the lessons in relation to ensuring strong turn-out at rallies and other events.

A stack of balancing rocks on a seashore

Empowered Fundraising

Anne O’Brien interviewed John Croft, developer of the Dragon Dreaming project model. John’s ‘Empowered Fundraising’ approach challenges groups to take their projects seriously and invite others to contribute funds, as a way to further their own social change values and make a difference in the world.

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Tips for Fundraising

We’ve gathered together tips on building a donor base, running successful crowdfunding campaigns, and where to access more resources on effective fundraising for social justice causes.

A group of people gathered to protest the proposed development at James Price Point

What makes Non Violent Direct Action (NVDA) effective?

Nonviolent direct action can play a powerful role in campaigns. This article summarises some of the characteristics that can make NVDA either effective or ineffective, and encourages the use of clear tactics criteria in developing campaign strategy.

Image of protesters gathered with flags tied around them

Learning From a Tibet Campaign Win

Kyinzom Dhongdue from Australian Tibet Council shares the story of a campaign win and the lessons that can be taken from it. The country’s oldest university cancelled a talk by the Dalai Lama. Within a week, the University of Sydney backtracked and released a hasty statement welcoming His Holiness on campus in June. The short campaign shows the value of rapid response people power tactics.

Photograph of hand drawn letters in blue and black on a white background. The word is 'Change'.

Elements of a Theory of Change

Getting clear on our theory of change can be personally empowering as well as important for alignment within organisations and campaigns. These notes are from a workshop by Naomi Blackburn, drawing on the Resource Manual for a Living Revolution and Australian Student Environment Network curriculum.

A brick wall painted white with the words Art = Change! graffitied in black

Art and Campaigning: Lessons about the effective use of art in campaigns

Lessons about the effective use of art in campaigns from three activist artists: Tom Civil, Arlene TextaQueen and Van Thanh Rudd. Lessons include: Build strong culture; Represent ethically; Consider your audience; Court controversy; Always remember the visuals; Value the labour of artists.

Photograph of the first General Assembly of Occupy Melbourne, October 15 2011. A large gathering of people in City Square with signs.

Facilitation at Occupy Melbourne

Insights about facilitation from the very challenging General Assembly process at Occupy Melbourne. This article will be of interest to facilitators and others learning about group process, as well as people keen to find out about the Occupy movement. These reflections were written two weeks after Occupy Melbourne kicked off in October 2011. 

Photograph of students holding a banner reading 'Our Future, Our Reef, Don't Risk It'.

Tips for New Activists

Holly Hammond explores what it takes for people to get active, what leads to people dropping out of activism, and things we should be thoughtful about when engaging new activists. This post is a follow on from the ‘Getting Started in Activism’ workshop delivered at the Commonground Festival in 2011.

Photograph of the first General Assembly of Occupy Melbourne, October 15 2011. A large gathering of people in City Square with signs.

Occupy Melbourne: A Missed Opportunity

“Occupy Melbourne became the largest occupation in Australia, and indeed, the southern hemisphere. Like most truly novel historical events, the Occupy movement caught most people off guard.” This short case study shares some of the lessons from Occupy Melbourne and why more effective skill-sharing would have made a difference.

Cover of the booklet 'Moved to Action', includes a photograph of two smiling people wearing union tshirts.

Lessons from Hahrie Han’s ‘Moved to Action’

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s Moved to Action. Han tackles the question of what motivates political participation by people who face significant barriers. Han provides a toolkit for those seeking to empower and work with, or within, marginalised communities.

Cover of the book 'The Starfish and the Spider. Features a drawing of a starfish.

Decentralisation: The Starfish and the Spider

Joel Dignam reviews Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom’s ‘The Starfish and the Spider’. The book delves into ideas and language around decentralisation with useful examples from history, social movements and commerce. It also includes practical tips for putting decentralisation into practice.

Protestor holding Stop Adani sign on stage with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Stop Adani and the Suffragettes Reflections on targets and tactics

Joel Dignam analyses two campaign moments: Stop Adani’s targeting of the ALP in the 2018 Queensland state election and the UK women’s suffrage campaign targeting of Liberals in 1905. The lesson? Target those most likely to give you what you want, and sometimes that means creating political risk for them.

The silhouette of a person standing by a lake at sunset. The trees on the other side of the lake are reflected in the water, and the overall effect is calm but a bit lonely.

Hey Activists, R U OK?

The annual R U OK Day aims to prevent suicide by building connection. This articles looks at what individuals and groups engaged in social change can do to connect with and look out for others.

An open notebook in which a hand is writing a list of tasks, ready to be ticked off. The text is too indistinct to read.

Setting goals and changing habits

Setting a life up to sustain activism doesn’t always come easy. Just like in a campaign we’re much more likely to get where we want to go if we’re clear about the intended destination – and if we take effective steps in that direction. These tips are provided to help you reach your healthy goals.

A cup of black tea on a table, shot from above

Coming down from stress

To be fresh and ready for the challenges of social change we also need quality time off. Here are some tips for getting the  most out of a break, whether a longer holiday, weekends or any captured moment for potential relaxation.

Arial view of a road through a forrest. The road curls back on itself, changing directly completely.

Hope and Activist Burnout

Experiencing defeats contributes to many people losing hope, burning out, or just dropping out of activism. If we can set up our organisations and social movements to function effectively we’re more likely to foster hope and keep engaged and emotionally strong activists.

Close up of the head and shoulders of a movable artist's model, made out of wood

Ideas for Embodied Activism

Overwhelming events happen and depending on our degree of privilege, daily stressors can be constant. Unless we are in crisis and/or an immediate life threatening situation it’s incredibly beneficial to spend time cultivating resources which support your health, embodiment, connectedness and feelings goodness.

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