Tools for Grassroots Activism

Everything you need to run a powerful movement for next to nothing!

by Bella Todd

15 December 2020

Running a grassroots campaign or starting a movement online can be intimidating, but there are so many great tools available to help you get started. Here are our top picks from the world of online grassroots activism. Not only are these platforms all entirely FREE, they’re easy to use and they’re all for promoting responsible grassroots activism!

© Marcus Coblyn / Greenpeace

As the world starts to go back to offline, the world of online organising is here to stay! Running a grassroots campaign or starting a movement online can be intimidating, but there are so many great tools available to help you get started. Here are our top picks from the world of online grassroots activism. Not only are these platforms all entirely FREE, they’re easy to use and they’re all for promoting responsible grassroots activism!

 

Fundraising

Chuffed

Chuffed is an incredible online crowdfunding site – with a twist! Unlike some other crowdfunding sites, Chuffed is aimed specifically at supporting change-makers, providing a platform for nonprofits, charities, social enterprises, community groups and individuals to make a positive difference in the world! Chuffed allows you to fundraise through crowdfunding, but also has a new peer-to-peer fundraising feature that allows other people to join your fundraising team and fundraise with you!

Chuffed is also a Social Benefit Company, which means that they operate for the benefit of the community, taking social, environmental and community impacts into all of their decision making!

Features: crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, offer perks to your donors, customise different ‘impact levels’ for different donation sizes, branded email receipts, email journeys for donors.

 

Communications

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is an online marketing platform BUT it has a free version that’s pretty great for sending out emails to your members and supporters. It has some great tools that let you make some very schmick looking emails so you can keep your members updated on all the latest events, meetings, campaigns and related news in style!

Features: email up to 2,000 contacts, send out up to 10,000 emails per month, access to loads of pretty dope email templates, create automated welcome emails.

 

Petitions

Change.org may be the most popular place online to create petitions, however there has been recent controversy over their status as a for-profit company and how those profits are used. Thankfully, there are some great alternatives out there!

SumofUs Community Petitions

SumofUs is a non-profit organisation that is committed to holding corporations accountable on issues ranging from worker’s rights, to climate change, human rights to animal rights, and more!

BUT they also have an online community portal where you can create your own petition to tackle issues you care about and hold corporations, businesses, governments and decision makers to account! The platform is super easy to use and allows you to download the list of signatures so you can deliver the petition!

Features: create your own petitions, download signatures, share your petition with the world!

 

Online Events

Zoom

You may have already heard of this one. In fact, it’s probably impossible that you haven’t if you’ve lived through the joys of working and volunteering online in 2020! As much as you may have come to loathe zoom calls, it’s an incredible tool for online organising. Zoom is super useful for online meetings and events. While the free version does have a 40 minute call limit, you can always get around that by scheduling multiple meetings one after the other.

Features: break out rooms for smaller discussions, screen sharing (for presentations and movie nights!), whiteboard tool, record meetings, and of course, the ever hilarious zoom backgrounds feature.

 

All-in-One Platforms

These sites are the all-rounders of the world of online-activism, the swiss-army knives if you will – they have all the tools, tools you never even knew you needed, but don’t know how you could ever have lived without!

Action Network

Action Network is a non-profit, free to use platform that provides all the tools you could ever want or need to organise online! Action Network is all about supporting progressive causes and responsible activism and that’s why we’re obsessed.

There are too many awesome features on this platform to mention them all so here are just a few of our personal favourites.

Features: create events (both online and offline!), create petitions, send emails and texts to your supporters, create automated campaign journeys, letter writing campaigns, call campaigns, create fundraisers, keep track of your members.

 

Stay Connected

Slack

While Facebook groups are often the go-to place for online community engagement and organising, there are better alternatives that offer a range of features to better engage and connect with your community. This is especially true of those wishing to get themselves off Facebook. Slack is a particularly strong contender. With a free version available to anyone, and both a desktop and mobile app version, it’s the perfect platform for organising and staying connected in the digital age!

Features: connect it up with your calendar app, as well as zoom or google applications, control over notifications so you can tune out in your down time, direct messaging, ‘channels’ for communications with big groups of people so everyone can stay in the loop!

Now you have all the tools in your activist utility belt to tackle all the issues! Go forth and activate your community!

By Bella Todd

Bella works as a Community Network organiser with Greenpeace Australia Pacific, working to empower the grassroots to take action on Greenpeace campaigns such as the REenergise campaign. Bella is also completing Honour research for a Bachelor's Degree of Conservation Biology degree.