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How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation? read the brief

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Mobilisation Journal: News and analysis of people-powered social change around the world

The Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace tests, analyses and reports on rapid shifts in people-led campaigning across the globe. MobLab has produced over 200 stories, case studies, and practitioner toolkits covering campaign innovation and experimentation in digital engagement, recruitment, grassroots organising, and communications.

Interest in MobLab’s analysis, network-building, and stories demonstrates growing need for a resource to facilitate learning across a global community of individuals, networks and organizations leading social change campaigns. We’re seeking funding to extend our practitioner-led storytelling to cover a broader spectrum of global campaigns in a wider variety of formats.
CHALLENGE
People immersed in campaigns for clean water, climate justice, fair economic systems, equality and other positive social changes are changing the lives of others every day. It’s intense and rewarding but often isolating work that leaves little opportunity to seek support from peers, research solutions and test alternatives. High-value, context-rich insights from other campaigners is difficult to get, stifling innovation and partnerships that could directly benefit communities in need.

The rapid democratization of technology has ushered in a new and rapidly changing landscape for social change campaigners of all types. As increases in citizen uprisings around the world demonstrate, critical masses of individuals now have the tools and access they need to drive campaigns for change — to raise awareness, money, and support at scales previously only accessible to professional campaigners and NGOs. For example, over 100 million people today have led or participated in a grassroots-led campaign through open campaign platforms sponsored by NGOs and social enterprises like Change.org, Care2, 38 Degrees, GetUp, Avaaz. We explored this further in  Grassroots-Led Campaigns: Lessons from the new frontier of grassroots-powered campaiging.

Regional email lists and conferences help to connect subsets of digital campaigners to one another, but there is not yet an accessible, trusted source for learning about innovation, failure and success in the global progressive campaign community.

SOLUTION
Mobilisation Journal increases the capacity of campaigners and strengthens social change campaigns globally by delivering practitioner-driven campaign stories, actionable learning from the field, and experience-driven insights. Our model delivers information in accessible and timely ways: audio, video and written posts distributed through our blog, email, social networks and partner sites.

The Journal makes campaign insights and lessons transparent — exposing learning from around the globe to those who need it in ways they can use it. We operate with awareness of cultural, geographic, language and technological obstacles and continually work to overcome those barriers and support the full global community.

PROVEN MODEL
MobLab has published over 200 original stories, case studies and tools aimed at giving campaigners a deeper understanding of what colleagues around the world are learning and testing.

We perform in-depth interviews with communicators, organisers and strategists in and around Greenpeace to find and analyse insights that campaigners can immediately use to build powerful social social change. A focus on direct interaction and tangible support has grown a trusted global network.

Here’s a bit more background on MobLab’s network and reach:
  • Website receives over 4,000 monthly visits.
  • 2,000 email subscribers around the globe — more than two thirds of which represent high profile campaigning NGOs like Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Save the Children as well as campaign organizations such as 350.org, Avaaz, GetUp!, 38 Degrees, Change.org and more.  
  • 2,500 Twitter followers with a potential network reach of approximately one million (reach via SumAll).
Popular stories include: Popular reports and special content includes:
MobLab has three guidelines for developing campaign analysis and stories. Campaign strategies and tools are not one size fits all; we emphasize (and explain) context. We emphasize a global viewpoint — campaigners in the West can learn a lot from Asia and Africa, for example. And as campaigners ourselves, we care about impact and make tangible takeaways easy to find and use.

Context-Driven: Our stories surface from the ground through close connections with campaigners around the world and extensive tracking of blogs, news, social media and more. We use the language of campaigns and campaign-driven organizations to craft clear takeaways for readers. We also combine written narrative with audio and video, interviews, photos, graphics and more to ensure stories are accessible to a range of users.

Global Perspective: We identify stories using strong connections with a worldwide network of Greenpeace staff and many others working in the global social change community. We recognize our limits as Western-based editors and are actively building a strong network of campaign spotters and writers worldwide.  

Outcomes-Focused: We tell great stories that campaigners can use to improve the results of their work by understanding the deeper data, innovation, models and patterns often missing from reporting on campaigns. We seek lessons campaigners can apply to their work from a wide array of causes, geographies, organizational models and politics.

NEXT STEPS
Capacity and Partnerships that Empower a Generation of Global Campaigners

Investing in the capacity of Mobilisation Journal to surface stories and support a dynamic global community will strengthen social change around the globe.

We will broaden our network of proven leaders and upcoming citizen campaigners by producing more interviews, chats, and stories about the work of these people The formats we use will deliver content to many who may not be able to read our primarily English stories.

Our plan includes adding to our in-house editorial experience by creating a partnership network of practitioners and writers around the globe. We will create a website that serves as a hub for stories, tools and a community of grassroots changemakers and practitioners. This broader range of stories delivered in alternative formats will be shareable and more easily distributed into content networks that can reach more campaigners.
In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.
Mobilisation Journal accelerates social change efforts by surfacing, documenting, analysing, and sharing innovations in people-powered campaigning for campaigners around the world.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
Our primary audience and Mobilisation Journal’s primary beneficiaries are campaigners and social change leaders working as free agents or within organizations and institutions. Our success to date is measured by direct feedback from campaigners detailing how our storytelling has informed or changed their thinking, work, and campaigns. We have also seen increased awareness and use of our content as measured by people reading and sharing our content.
What progress have you made so far?
Over the past two years, MobLab has published over 200 original stories, case studies and tools to give practitioners a better understanding of what their colleagues are doing, testing and learning. We have been able to publish more in-depth interviews of campaigners as well as analysis of campaigns both inside and outside Greenpeace as result of access and trust across global campaigner network. This early work positions Mobilisation Journal well to scale storytelling globally and beyond a Greenpeace-focused audience.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
Mobilisation Journal will track success through iterative surveying of its audience. We want to know first-hand how information is used to improve or transform campaigns and make a direct impact on the ground. A successful Mobilisation Journal will be a reliable and trusted source of insight and innovation stories for a global network of campaigners and practitioners.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
Michael Silberman is the Global Director of the Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace. A senior online campaigns strategist, Silberman specializes in online organizing and grassroots citizen engagement. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the effective use of technology for converting online activity into real-world action. Silberman is a co-founder of EchoDitto, a digital agency that empowers leading organizations to have a greater impact through the creative use of new technologies. Ted Fickes is the founding director of Bright+3, a firm focused on helping progressive campaigns and organizations successfully implement innovative content strategies across media channels. Bright+3 provides direct consulting on email, web, social media and data systems while also incubating new publishing and campaign projects. For two years, Ted has provided editorial, strategic and technical services to the Mobilisation Lab’s content segment. Ted has worked in fundraising and technology for political and social change campaigns since the mid-1990s.
Location
Global

Comments

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Jon Stahl

April 19, 2014, 14:39PM
This is a world-class team with a track record of awesome. As someone who's been working at the intersection of technology and environmental organizing for almost twenty years, I can say with confidence that the work MobLab has done to date is first-rate. They have already become and indispensible resource for social action campaigners around the world, and with this project, they would be able to take their reach and influence to a whole new level.

Jon Stahl

April 19, 2014, 14:39PM
This is a world-class team with a track record of awesome. As someone who's been working at the intersection of technology and environmental organizing for almost twenty years, I can say with confidence that the work MobLab has done to date is first-rate. They have already become and indispensible resource for social action campaigners around the world, and with this project, they would be able to take their reach and influence to a whole new level.

Rachel Weidinger

April 18, 2014, 22:51PM
I need this. I'd use it often.

Alia McKee

April 18, 2014, 14:55PM
MobLab has become a proven go-to place for digital campaigners to learn and grow. The Journal would be a fantastic way to expand this important resource.

Alia McKee

April 18, 2014, 14:55PM
MobLab has become a proven go-to place for digital campaigners to learn and grow. The Journal would be a fantastic way to expand this important resource.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 16:34PM
Thank you, Alia! We've just scratched the surface. There are many more campaign innovations to be shared from around the world (and learning from other sectors to break down and find lessons in). The stories we've surfaced from Asia and Africa have seen some of the best takeaways for campaigns in the West — much more yet to surfaced.

Micah Sifry

April 18, 2014, 14:43PM
MobLab is one of the only places I know where Internet-enabled campaigning is studied and tracked in a consistent way. I open and devour all of their work.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 16:37PM
That's high praise considering the source, Micah. One goal throughout has been to find and share tangible takeaways in our stories. Good to hear that MobLab's communications and reporting has been consistent.

Tim Walker

April 18, 2014, 12:58PM
Moblab is already an invaluable resource and this project would do a great deal for the sector -- there is simply nowhere else to turn to explore the frontlines campaigning.

Nicco Mele

April 18, 2014, 11:05AM
Michael and the Mobilisation Lab do some incredible and really innovative work. This Journal would be another invaluable tool for these networks and tremendously useful in driving social change and fostering community and growth. Would love to see it come to fruition.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 16:46PM
Appreciate the support, Nicco. In working with and talking to people across Greenpeace and other networks we've found that campaigners turn to many resources but there's a void with respect to solid analysis of campaign innovation for campaigners. Good to know there are many wise leaders in the global community that will support our efforts.

Lisa Harris

April 16, 2014, 13:53PM
Mobilisation Journal would expand and promote learning, best practices and be a trusted "go to" source for social change. This project would be a huge help for the sector.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 16:53PM
Wow. Thank you, Lisa. Would love to hear more about what lessons there are in health care organizing and networks that the Journal could dig into and share broadly.

Lisa Harris

April 19, 2014, 11:17AM
Ted, let's connect soon! Would love to exchange notes.

Beth Kanter

April 10, 2014, 13:05PM
As a capacity builder and proponent of working and learning in networks, I think this journal would be a valuable resource. The work that the Mobilization Lab has pioneered so far is high quality and useful to so many people, having it scale beyond Greenpeace would be an amazing contribution to social change.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 17:01PM
A big yes to learning in networks. We learn from you, Beth, and are hopefully contributing to the field now — and much more in the future. Network learning gets complex as you move around the world (not everyone communicates and campaigns like they do in the West) and uncovering the stories of those differences can help many working in social change.

Joe Hall

March 31, 2014, 14:14PM
I work for a national disability charity in the UK. The work MobLab do to sift out best practice, share and promote it is awesome and it informs my work regularly. Please support this!

Lynn Harris

March 31, 2014, 11:39AM
Social-change campaigners around the world NEED this resource. It would help campaigners learn from one another, build best practices, and better adapt to fast-changing (and disruptive) communications and organizing technology. My organization would definitely use -- and benefit -- from it, as would our mission!

Mary Joyce

March 30, 2014, 00:40AM
I would love for this journal to be a reality. Mobilisation Lab would be the perfect group to make a journal for activists rather than academics.

Ted Fickes

April 18, 2014, 16:55PM
Great, Mary. That's precisely what we're aiming to do - make learning available to a growing community of activists to reduce barriers to organizing for positive change.

Amy Vernon

March 27, 2014, 17:58PM
A very interesting project - there's a huge appetite for news of this sort. Will be curious to see how it evolves.

Josh

March 27, 2014, 12:23PM
I always read emails from Michael & Mobilisation Lab. They're an amazing source for powerful campaigning lessons, as well as stories from around the world that I wouldn't hear otherwise. It's a great resource and I'd love to see it continue in this form.

Nick Allardice

March 26, 2014, 20:43PM
The Mobilisation Lab already provides a fantastic resource and great thought leadership for those working to change the world. Extending that and building on their existing success would be hugely beneficial.

Nicole Lampe

March 24, 2014, 19:28PM
As a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits campaign for social change, we frequently encourage partners to check out the Mobilisation Journal and the Mobilisation Integration Toolkit especially. I learn a ton of MobLab's daily emails, and appreciate their willingness to pull back the veil and share both success secrets and lessons learned with others in the movement.

Darren Barefoot

March 24, 2014, 16:11PM
The Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace has proven an excellent source of innovation and reporting on the NGO sector. In particular, it's a kind of 'tide that raises all boats' project, as it can bolster the work of even the most local activist in far-flung corners of the globe. It demands a larger audience.
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