How To Start A Local Activist Group BY NEXT WEEK (By Eddie Y)

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This article was written in response to a lot of people who want to start a movement but have no idea how to start one. I’ve put together an idiot’s guide on how to start one. Everything is laid out in step by step process such that if you follow it right to the dot you WILL form a core group and start making a difference BY NEXT WEEK.

Brainstorm A List of People:

Sit down with a piece of paper and write down 20-50 people you think would be interested in this movement.

Some suggestions:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Coworkers
  • Past classmates
  • ‘friends’ on Facebook and Linkedin (you friended them but rarely talk to them, it’s time to make the most of your contacts)
  • People at church
  • social groups (eg. meetup)
  • Places you volunteer (or have volunteered at in the past)

This process is quick and simple, just come up with a list of names you think would be ideal for this movement

Build Your Core Team:

Once you have a list of 20-50 people, put a number next to their name: 1, 2 or 3 showing how passionate they are for animals rights and greater causes. A 1 means they’re mildly passionate, a 2 being more passionate and a 3: someone who’s die hard and passionate. With this all written out, you’ll have a good idea who would be ideal for your core team and who would be a good general supporter. Your first priority is to from a core team of engaged individuals.

If you do not have a list of 20, go back and come up with more names. It is important that you have a list of 20 people before you move on to the next step. For best results, I recommend having 30-50 names.

Call up your 2 and 3s and tell them that you want to start a movement for Cecil in your city and you’re thinking of inviting them to join you as a co-organizer/core team member. Not everyone would say yes as life happens (they have kids, going through a rough patch in life, taking on multiple projects and etc…) but eventually you will find someone who is up for being a co-organizer with you. If they’re on board, awesome, set a weekly meeting time at a cafe or at your place meeting at latest by NEXT WEEK  (eg. Tuesday at 7PM at my place) and invite other potential co-organizer to that meeting. It is important to meet soon because if you drag it too long, people will lose momentum and excitement.

I know some people choose to have online meetings but there’s more you can do with offline meetings. If they are busy, ASK THEM if they know of anyone they can introduce to you by email or phone (doesn’t hurt to ask).

If you follow this process properly you should have At least 1-2 co organizers or maybe even a dozen coming out to your first meeting.

The day before the meeting CALL THEM UP AGAIN and remind them. People are forgetful.

**Eddie’s Note** We know that not everyone is comfortable with asking on the phone but treat this as a catch up with friends phone call and it shouldn’t be as intimidating.

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The First Meeting – Define Your Mission and Vision:

lunch

Brenda and Cynthia’s Bloomington team

At the first meeting, you want the core team to meet one another and develop a mission and vision for the group. It is important to have a mission and vision such that when people ask you who you are and what you do, you can answer them right away without fumbling and looking like you have no clue. Nobody wants to follow a clueless leader, that’s why it’s important to have vision and be clear on it.

Vision- What do you want to achieve?

A vision statement is the big picture that you want people to think about when recruiting and building people. Make sure the vision is clear that you and the team can refer to all the time when making big decisions you can ask yourself the question is this going to bring us closer to this vision?

Examples:

“A world without Alzheimer’s disease” (Alzheimer’s Association)

“We want justice for Cecil the Lion” (Justice 4 Cecil)

“A world free of trophy hunting” (Recommended vision)

“Empower people through great software any time, any place and on any device” (Microsoft)

“Animal lovers be equipped thoroughly to make an impact for their communities” (Cecil’s Pride). 

We recommend using the underlined vision statement as it is clear and many groups are using it.

Mission- How are you getting there

The mission defines the present state for an organization and answers the following three questions: What your movement does, who is it for and How it does what it does. There are multiple animal lover groups out there with a common vision (A world without animal cruelty) but they differ in their mission statement to show how they plan to work in different avenues to get there.

Examples (These are a few I came up with the top of my head, feel free to use them for brainstorming with your own group):

“To create the world’s largest opensource platform for animal lovers and activists to discuss, share and support one another in ridding the world of trophy hunting” (Cecil’s Pride’s mission statement)

“To mobilize residents of Bloomington to put on awareness campaigns to let the dentist’s neighbours know the atrocious act Palmer has committed” (This group is more focused on protesting/rallying outside the dentist’s office)

“Mobilize residents of <your city/town/region> to step up and raise awareness of issues pertaining to unethical treatment of animals”

“To shake up our national government (Washington DC or UK parliament or Canadian parliament) and encourage politicians to take steps to ensure environmental laws like CECIL ACT and its equivalent acts are passed and enforced at the national level” (this group may be focusing more on rallies, activism and petitions)

“To educate the public about the horrific reality of trophy hunting, poaching, canned hunting with news, facts and data” (This group may be focusing more on the academic and educational front)

We recommend your group to build upon the red underlined mission statement if you have trouble coming up with one or just skip to the planning process. (You can always come back and make changes to your vision and mission anytime). But now that you have a mission and statement, when people ask you who you are and what you do, you can answer them right away.

Make sure you let the Cecil’s Pride team know about your new group, we’ll be happy to share you group with everyone here. https://cecilspride.wordpress.com/events/action-team/

set up party

About the Author:

EddieY is passionate about building communities, through meetup.com he has built up multiple online groups from the ground up. Every large movement starts with a humble meeting with 2-3 co-organizers. He has interviewed dozens of movements and been involved with local projects in his hometown of Vancouver including Car Free Day (a street protest that grew into an annual street festival with over 100,000), Slide the Main (giant slip and slide project inspired by Bristol’s popup street slip and slide), a series of summer bbq for strangers to meet one another and Edible City (A sustainable food TEDx like event). 

Disclaimer:
This is just a post about what I and others did to spark our own movements. This is going to require some work and is not for the lazy person. I cannot guarantee the same results shared but I’m just here to share what I and other successful grassroots movement did to get started. You may have better or smaller results but know that you are going somewhere if you follow these instructions to the dot.  You only need one other person and you have a movement.

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4 thoughts on “How To Start A Local Activist Group BY NEXT WEEK (By Eddie Y)

  1. Pingback: Pictures from UPS Protest in LA | Cecils Pride

  2. Eddie Y, Thank you – I have read there are planned global rallies for 6 Feb 2016 (if not before) in support of Cecil’s legacy – I and some friends (inspired to start ‘a movement’ following Cecil’s illegal demise) have started a UK animal welfare charity (anti-poaching, trophy and ‘canned’), International Wildlife Bond (IWB), http://www.iwbond.org – once we have IWB established, we will start to co-ordinate with others on a London, UK rally. Let’s keep up the fight/good work….

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  3. Can you give me contact info for organizers of the upcoming, October 3rd, Cecil’s Pride rally/protest in Boston? I hope to join them. Thanks for the heads up!

    Like

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