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Introduction to Grassroots Organizing

I. Identify core issue or problem by listening to community members.

  • Who is affected by or cares about this issue?
  • Who may resist change efforts relating to this issue?
  • What are their concerns? What changes would you like to see?

Tip: Pay attention to who is genuinely interested in working toward solutions. Do they have time and resources to devote to your cause?

II. Clarify your goals.

  • Internal – within your organization, such as growth
  • External – changes relating to your core issue
  • Long, mid, and short-term

Tip: Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals.

III. Prepare a fact sheet.

  • Imagine you are presenting to a group that knows nothing about your core issue. What do they need to know to get on board?
  • Imagine you are presenting to potential opposition. What might their values be? Can you adapt your fact sheet to win over those who may initially oppose your cause?

IV. Begin building your base.

  • Group should be a combination of grasstops (community or organization leaders) and grassroots (community members who are affected by the issue or who care about it).
  • Identify the social service agencies in your area.
  • Identify existing coalitions that may be interested in partnering.
    • Do they already have regularly scheduled meetings? Plan to attend and
    • observe before asking to present to the group.
    • Distribute your fact sheet.
    • Identify coalition members who may be interested in collaborating. Invite
    • them to attend an informational meeting.

Tip: Consider how the work can be made enjoyable for community
members to be a part of.

V. Create a blueprint of action items that your organization will use to reach your goals, such as:

  • Outreach events, community education, social media campaign

Tip: Create a strategic plan.


Citation: Compiled by Rosie Cross, LMSW, Veterinary Social Worker