Do you have an issue you care about? Maybe it’s stopping a local tax increase or supporting a bill in the state legislature.

This passion is good, but it’s important you don’t rush headlong into your grassroots campaign. Before you get started, ask yourself these questions to make sure the tactics you’re using are SMART:

Are my tactics STRAGETIC?

Are your tactics going to help you achieve your overall goal, or are they just tactics you’ve used in the past? Before deciding to use a tactic, stop and ask yourself why.

Are my tactics MEASURABLE?

How will you know your tactics are effective if you don’t know how to measure them? Instead of “we’ll knock on lots of doors,” break out the actual number of doors you plan to hit so you have specific goals.

Are my tactics ATTAINABLE?

If there’s only four of you, the goal of knocking on every door in a town of 100,000 people might be impossible. If you’re a group of grassroots citizens, blanketing the airwaves with ads is probably too expensive. Make sure your tactics are ambitious but still within reach.

Are my tactics RELEVANT?

If your goal is to educate the public about a policy proposal, a sign-waving rally might be a good tactic. But if your goal is to convince a county board of supervisors to change its land-use policy to protect private property rights, a sign-waving campaign probably isn’t going to be as relevant to your overall goal as attending supervisor meetings or organizing a letter-writing campaign.

Are my tactics TIMEBOUND?

When will you be deploying each tactic and when will it be ending? Remember the recent blog post on Alinsky’s seventh rule for radicals: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

Take the time to use SMART tactics, and your campaign will have a much better chance of success.


To learn more about SMART tactics and other grassroots skills, check out one of the upcoming Grassroots Leadership Academy trainings coming up near you here. For grassroots tips delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our email list here.