Blog Post

Nov. 1, 2017

5 Fundamentals for Successful Community Engagement and Mobilization

By Talpha Everette & Tara Matamoros Carter

Executive Summary

Starting movements to further social change is a thing of the past, present and future. We all have a passion for change and we can all be equipped with the know how to make and or contribute to a powerful movement. Tangelo has peeped the movement of change in today's society and we're here to help further these movements along. But first, let us provide you, future change maker, with some helpful tips of how to get your own movement started or to enhance your current movement's mobilization.


Unlike the movers of the past, today we have the technological platforms to make movements go viral within a matter of seconds. The power is literally in our hands. However, movements extend further than social media. Movements can be within a university, a corporation or a neighborhood. Whichever community your need for change resides in, the question to consider is "how to make it stick?" How do we grow from grassroots to noticeability, from an initial call-to-action to lasting change? These are important questions to ask yourself before starting a movement - and their solutions are the paths to getting your voice heard. Luckily, we've got you covered.

5 Essential Community Mobilization Fundamentals

A successful movement begins with a plan of organization and continues well past initial goals are met. Below are Five Essential Fundamentals to build your framework of social change.

1. Traction

Traction is the like gas to a flame and it is the key to your movement's mobilization. That being said, for a movement to be effective, traction is crucial. And for traction to be successful, you first need to identify your movement's goal and purpose. What is your purpose for starting your fire and what are you seeking to accomplish with its glow?

The first step in formulating traction is becoming well-educated in your topic area. This includes, but is not limited to, topic history, knowing factors that were involved in the issue's creation and knowing stakeholders and legalities. Our tip is to become educated enough that you could take on any question that the media could throw your way regarding your movement.

The second step on the road to traction is defining your solution into the problem. This is a no-no in Public Policy, but perfect for a successful movement. By identifying your movement's solution, you're satisfying your cause.

The third step is making your movement popular. Gather five friends and ask them to share your passion with five other friends! Share your movement on social media and on bulletins - essentially any avenue that you can find to spread the word about your movement is an opportunity waiting to be accessed.

As you spread the word, make sure you know your audience. Craft your social media posts and flyers into effective excerpts that readers can digest and understand. A convenient way to do this is by branding your movement, create a theme.

2. Planning

Planning is also crucial to the successful mobilization of your movement. A plan is an outline of steps for your movement from start to finish. This is helpful to not only you, but your supporters as well. People are more likely to get involved in a movement if it is organized and shows growth toward a desired end goal.

Starting with a purpose helps in the brainstorming of your plan. Maybe you need to meet with a stakeholder or attend an educational event that could benefit your knowledge base. Other steps might include keeping track of persons of interest, designing posters and flyers or setting up a platform for people interested in your movement. In any case, make sure to develop a timeline of milestones for your movement from start to finish.

With that said, to help aid the planning process in mobilizing your movement, Tangelo has recently developed a app that makes it simple to create meaningful posters and share or print them instantly. Check out WalkWoke!

3. Setup Communication

James Humes sums up the importance of communication in mobilizing a movement by stating, “the art of communication is the language of leadership.” As you can see, communication is critical throughout the duration of your movement and is the catalyst for making things happen.

Communication can take place over different platforms, but you want to be conscience of sending a consistent message in all forms of outreach. Create blogs, send social media posts and emails and ask supporters to share your communications to further amplify your message. Lastly, keep your supporters engaged, make them feel empowered as driving change within your movement, as every voice counts. This helps to build momentum, which is highly effective in driving social change.

4. Mobilize & Get Noticed

Now that you’ve gained traction, developed a plan, and have setup means of communication, you're ready to mobilize the masses and get noticed. Mobilization is the expansion of your cause, the spreading of your fire, the spark to your movement. Get your project noticed by means of petitions, pamphlets and even a rally. Each of these methods should portray your movement's goals effectively. Let your flyers speak for your campaign.

For a rally, protests signs are the number one go-to in effectively relaying a message. With Tangelo's Walk Woke, you can conveniently create posters for your movement and either print them to use in rallies or bulletins or share them digitally. Walk Woke offers template flyers, styles and layouts to capture your movement and make a lasting impression. It even offers curated topics that are relevant to the causes of today. Another tool that effectively helps preparing and carrying out movements is Wellstone's organizational tools, which offers advice on building an action plan.

5. Keep the Momentum Going

After all of your hard work in creating a successful movement, don't let your fire die down! Keep the momentum going. Even after you’ve achieved your goal, follow up with your movement's supporters and thank them, send them success reports, keep them updated. Consider setting a new goal. Keeping the momentum going serves as checks and balances and makes sure the change you worked so hard to create continues on. And who knows, maybe you'll want to start another movement someday.

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