Learn how to become an activist, plan a political campaign strategy, and start a grassroots movement – all while not burning out.
The Activist Handbook is a ‘wikipedia’ style website that provides guides and resources for people to become effective activists, plan political campaign strategies, and initiate grassroots movements. It focuses on giving practical advice and tools with 450+ guides and 4000+ external resources. The guides are written by progressive, green and social activists from all over the world.
- Organise a grassroots movement: Learn what grassroots organising means and get help starting your own grassroots movement.
- Impactful campaign strategies: Plan your campaign strategy with our template workshops and strategy ideas. And use our list of creative tactics to get inspiration for your actions.
- ❤️ Mental health in activism: Healthy organising in activism helps you to prevent activist burnout. Putting mental health first helps us stay more effective in the long run.
- Nonprofit communication: Learn how to develop a communication strategy, write a press release and manage your nonprofit social media effectively.
- ⚖️ Your right to protest: The laws about the right to protest, freedom of speech and assembly are different in every country. Know your rights and prepare yourself with resources from organisations around the world.
- Theory of change for activists: Develop a theory of change for your activist organisation using our templates and guides. Learn how we define activism and why we think it is the best way to make a positive impact.
Resources for Activists
A collection of valuable resources for protestors, campaigners and all other social change-makers:
Different Types of Activism
- ❤️ Social activism: Learn how you can take action to put social challanges on the agenda and make a change. No matter whether you want to fight poverty or stand up for queer rights, we provide you with the tools and training to organise succesful campaigns.
- Climate activism: Stand up for climate justice by learning from environmental grassroots movements such as Fridays for Future, Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion. Learn how why protesting is effective and find a climate group to join. Or start your own initiative!
- Political activism: Learn everything about political activism. We have guides about door-to-door canvassing, preparing election campaign strategies, crowdfunding, running as a candidate, and many other forms of civic engagement.
- ⚖️ Human rights activism: Find out how to defend human rights. Read our guides on how to stand up for justice by starting a campaign to fight for democracy, equality and freedom.
- Youth activism: We help students around the world make their voices heard. Read our guides to become more effective as a young change-maker and learn from examples of other succesful youth movements.
- Community activism: Make a difference in your community by organising locally. We explain what a community activist is and how to become involved.
- Animal rights: Representing life which can not speak
- ✊ Anti-oppression: Standing up against oppression
- ✊ Black lives matter: Fighting against racism, discrimination, and racial inequality
- Climate activism: Building environmental movements for climate justice
- Community activism: act for your community
- Housing rights: Tenants protesting for affordable housing
- ⚖️ Human rights: Basic rights for everyone
- Labor unions: Organising for workers’ rights
- Political activism: Win election campaigns
- Post-capitalism: Alternative to mainstream economics
- Postnatal care: Taking care of newborns
- ️ Queer activism: Fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights
- Science activism: Academics speaking out
- ❤️ Social activism: Standing up for social justice
- Student unions: Organising for students’ rights
- ⚤ Women’s rights activism: Advocating for gender equity
- ✊ Youth activism: Empowering your people
Example from The Activist Handbook
In this chapter, we explain what a campaign strategy is. We show various examples of different types of campaign strategies that activists use, and we provide you with workshops to help you write your own!
With a good campaign strategy, your movement or campaign makes more impact. In the articles below, we help you define what exactly the change is that you want to achieve, and what steps you need to take to get there.
Before you can start to define your strategy, you need to get a group of likeminded people together and organise yourselves. After you have defined your strategy, we recommend you to browse through our list of tactics to get inspiration.
Write your strategy
Other strategy guides
The local context across countries can impact activists trying to develop their strategy in various ways. For example, the political system, the legal framework, the media landscape, the cultural norms, and the public opinion can all affect the opportunities and challenges that activists face. Depending on the context, activists may need to adapt their goals, tactics, messages, allies, and risks. Some general examples are:
- In a democratic country with a strong civil society and a free press, activists may have more space to voice their demands and mobilize support through peaceful protests, petitions, campaigns, and lobbying.
- In an authoritarian country with a repressive regime and a controlled media, activists may have less space to express their dissent and may face more threats and violence. They may need to use more covert and creative ways to communicate and organize, such as encryption, art, humor, or symbolism.
- In a country with a diverse and divided society, activists may have to deal with different and sometimes conflicting interests and identities among their potential supporters and opponents. They may need to build bridges and coalitions across different groups and sectors, and avoid alienating or polarizing others.
- In a country with a dominant and oppressive culture, activists may have to challenge deeply ingrained norms and values that justify or normalize injustice and discrimination. They may need to raise awareness and educate people about the issues they are fighting for, and use cultural expressions and narratives that resonate with their audience.
Creative Commons Resources
- Campaign Strategy: Start Here by Commons Library
- Collection: Developing a Strategic Plan by Community Tool Box
- Developing Strategic and Action Plans by Community Tool Box
- Collection: Assessing Community Needs and Resources by Community Tool Box
- Collection: Analyzing Community Problems and Solutions by Community Tool Box
- Collection: Deciding Where to Start by Community Tool Box
- Collection: Choosing and Adapting Community Interventions by Community Tool Box
- Strategy by The Change Agency
- Systems Thinking and Campaigning by Nicky Ison
- Starting an initiative by the Citizen’s Handbook
- The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp [Book]
- Thwink: Root problem analysis
- Video: Root Cause Analysis
- How to Move from Vision to Action by Mary Joyce
- Choose Your Own Activism Strategy Adventure by Mary Joyce
- Developing Strategic Campaigns: An ITF Manual for Trade Union Activists, Educators and Organisers by International Transport Workers’ Union
- The People Power Manual by The Change Agency
- Campaigning - Strategy
- Theory of change