Very few things in history were accomplished alone. After all, activism is a team sport. Here are a few tips for recruiting — and keeping — activists for your cause.
Create a sense of community: The job of an activist can be a lonely one — but it doesn’t have to be. The activists in your group shouldn’t just be people with whom you work for change. Try to make them feel that they belong in your activist social circle. Combine your activism with fun events, especially during holidays, to make your work as memorable and enjoyable as it is effective.
Look for the Middle: On every issue, there will be some folks who are entirely on your side and other folks who hate your guts. As in your activism, don’t simply limit your recruitment to those who 100 percent agree with you on every single issue. Look for shared passions and concerns. Coalition-building means you won’t always get complete agreement, but diversity of thought will strengthen your team.
Specialize and Promote: Try not to stray outside your area of expertise. Not every activist is going to be an expert in health care, taxes, free speech or 1,000 other issues under the sun. Most can’t be — but everyone should be knowledgeable about something. Try having activists in your unit specialize on a certain topic, practice on it, and have them take on tougher and more demanding roles if the shoe fits. They can teach other activists their skills, too. Specialization is a much more effective tactic than the jack-of-all-trades route.
Don’t Stress over Scheduling: You probably knew this, but your activists have lives outside of their activism. Family, friends, dentist appointments — these are other priorities in the lives of your teammates. Try to be accommodating. There is no reason to be wedded to Wednesday when Thursday works equally well, when more of your team is free.
Start with What—or Whom—You Know: You don’t have to recruit activists from across the world. Start with the people you know best: friends, family members or classmates. Don’t forget to ask your fellow activists if they know someone who’d be interested in joining your group. You never know who could be interested!
To learn more activist tips and tricks, go to the Grassroots Leadership Academy blog for more information. Good luck!