how to:How To Make Sure Your Movement Stays Strong Over Time
Facebook, if combined with the right message, the right environment and the right people can indeed help to spark massive crowds. New technologies make it easier to get more information out to more people, more quickly. The result? Town squares and plazas teeming with protesters.
But does that mean that you’ve created lasting change? Not necessarily. It’s great and essential for a movement to have some success, but it’s even more important to build on that success, regroup and take your movement to the next step.
Here are some steps for doing so.
Build on your success! While it’s essential to reach goals, it’s even more important to build on that success and regroup. Act fast, capitalizing on increasing visibility and heightened awareness to get more resources for your campaign: solicit strategic advice from outsiders with more experience, bring in new members and volunteers, if you need funding then now is the time to get it.
Get more organized. You activated lots of people that were not formerly activated, but that doesn’t mean they’re organized. It’s up to you to organize them. How can you get in touch with your new members today and, if need be, weeks down the line? Whenever possible, collect emails, mobile phone numbers, Twitter handles and Facebook URLS and store them in a document that’s saved in a few different places.
You can use Facebook insights to figure out who likes your page on Facebook, and post updates that are sent out only to people in certain regions or demographics.
Create a new vision and a new theory of change! Why’d you start this thing, anyway? Reconcile your original goal with recent events and identify a new long-term vision for change. Your new plan should include an understanding not simply of what you want to achieve but also how you will achieve it. Articulate a clear and defined timeline that includes your upcoming actions -for example, weekly protests - and how they will take you closer to your long-term goal.
Get Feedback! Your campaign didn’t succeed because of just the most involved people but rather because of everyone - that’s why it’s so important to ask the people who got involved what the next step should be. Don’t decide anything as one person or one small group of more involved participants.
Take a cue from Wael Ghonim, one of the administrators of the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page who, when asked what was next for Egypt post Mubarak, exclaimed: “Ask Facebook.” This is easier said than done, but the sentiment is spot-on: when identifying a new vision for your campaign, make it as easy as possible for members to decide.
Go Public With Your New Vision: Asking Facebook is meaningless if no one knows what it said. Draw up an internal document to circulate amongst organizers with the feedback that you’ve received. Share it with everyone involved. The process of sorting through feedback can be as transparent and public as any other aspect of your campaign.
When a decision has been made, post it everywhere - on Facebook, on your website, your Twitter feed, and in an email blast - so that everyone can hold you to it.
Most recently we have seen some Egyptian revolutionaries go back to Facebook and create a Google Moderator forum to ask members of the January 25 revolution what they think should be next, if you don’t have a plan in place, though, for intaking that feedback and acting on it, then there’s little point.
Based on your modified plan, create a new campaign timeline with new tactics and short-term goals. As you do this, you’ll have think hard about how things have changed based on your work, and what the consequences of that chance are for the next phase of your campaign. Ask yourself:
-Is my target audience the same or is it different?
-Who now has their hands on the levers that will create the change I want?
-Is my participant audience the same?
A “Theory of Change” refers to an articulated understanding of how your actions (for example, a weekly protest) will create the change you want. Everyone in your campaign should have a sense of what its theory of change is!
Redefine your leadership. Everyone can be a leader as long as they are all coordinated and operating with a shared purpose and strategy. Now that you have a new long-term goal, offer a toolkit for organizers throughout to country to take this vision of change and work for it on their own.
Approach the people who have been the most effective thus far and ask them to take on leadership roles. Putting this structure in place now is critical to growing in the future; as you expand in size and scope, you’ll need help running the organization.
Sum up the story of your success in a video and a blog post. Use footage from a past event or images that best represent your cause, edit a short (two- or three-minute) video that dramatizes what you have accomplished so far. This gives people a good sense of what you’re about, what you’re capable of, and will bring in new members. Don’t forget to issue a call to action, which you should have identified when you decided on a new long term goal.
Day 2 of your movement is just as important as day 1, and should be planned just as well – don’t forget to follow our guide to planning a campaign for social change before you begin.