New tools

New digital tools and social science advances can make 'big organizing' more effective, measurable, and tangible for philanthropy and professional advocates.

Movement building

Powerful grassroots movements can be built by finding community leaders willing to take on leadership roles, and supporting them to solve deeply rooted problems.

Bridging the divide between idealism and pragmatism

We are in a new golden age of grassroots political engagement, but philanthropy and professional advocates are at risk of being left behind. Top-down campaigns will miss movement energy. And a failure to shift from movement-building into policy campaign action will miss the power of this moment. It’s time for a new synthesis to emerge in which empowered movements make real change. Philanthropy can help.

This report was written in partnership with Mary Blanusa.

Building and activating potent movements

The report illustrates the practices and new tools that make movements possible and discusses the strategies that funders and advocates can use to build movements and the tactics that can drive these movements into effective campaign action.

  1. Identify issues, venues, and messages to change the common wisdom and improve public policy
  2. Engage and commit ordinary citizens willing to lead and work through setbacks
  3. Link issues and campaigns so the movement has tangible goals and a big, diversified vision
  4. Evolve and remain open to new ideas even as the movement focuses on becoming more effective at pursuing current priorities

Learn more

Do you have any questions about the report’s background, content, or implications for your own work? Please reach out. We’d love to help.

    About the Authors
  • Stacey Chen

    Stacey partners with clients on strategic planning, advocacy evaluation, and funder collaboratives to advance gender, racial, education, and health equity and to engage communities in policy advocacy.

  • Nathan Huttner

    Nathan leads Redstone’s education practice, developing strategies, business plans, and impact initiatives to improve K-12 and higher education, and has also served clients in shared prosperity, health, and climate.