How small groups make big change

This season of training presented by ChangeMakers Organising School is designed to supercharge your skills, relationships, and the impact of your group to make change on the issues that matter to you.

The training runs weekly on a Thursday evening at 6pm AEST, from April 29 – June 24. We provide all the content overviews, and post training share slides, relevant articles and edited videos of the trainings here. Register now.

Below you’ll find a brief outline of the sessions planned. Each week we’ll be joined by different trainers and guests to demonstrate the breadth and depth of approaches to social change – details added soon!

Session 1: Why work in groups? – April 29

Looking at a history of social movements, we locate and celebrate the role of small groups in winning big change. This session will help situate attendees as part of an ecosystem with a long tradition of organising. 

We’ll share case studies and stories of wins, as well as consider types of social change group networks and help people begin to understand their purpose and theory of change.

Session 2: How do I build powerful relationships? – May 6

This week we look at putting the social back in social movements. Group work is most effective when built on a culture of strong relationships, and groups grow their power when relational meetings are used to draw in new leaders and build coalitions. We’ll cover how to cultivate intentional relationships using the skill of relational meetings, and how you can create a group space that people have fun together in.

Session 3: Effective group work – May 13

Have you ever been in a group where one person does all the work? 

In this session we’re focussed on how to make sure your group is structured with roles and a plan to make your work effective. We provide tips on how you can maximise volunteers’ limited time to make the biggest difference on the issue you care about. 

Session 4: How to run a good meeting – May 20

Let’s face it – social change work involves a lot of meetings. To be effective change makers, we need to run fun and productive meetings. This week, we’ll look at some of the ways meetings can go wrong, work on your facilitation skills, and provide guidance on building an excellent agenda that generates momentum and accountability.

Session 5: Leadership – May 27

Leadership is a core tenet of Community Organising. This week we’ll unpack an Organisers definition of leadership and share the skill of coaching as a practice to step others into leadership. We’ll also talk about using your leadership to help the group make collective decisions in the face of internal differences.

Session 6: Strong, sustainable groups – June 3

A huge challenge for activist groups can be creating a healthy and sustainable culture between the members of the group.

This week, we’ll cover how to create a group space that is safe and welcoming for new people and look at how to avoid experiencing burnout in your work. We will introduce skills for handling difficult people and hard conversations. These frameworks will help your group grow and succeed in the long term.

Session 7: Campaign strategy & creative tactics – June 10

How does your group decide what kind of action to take, and when? Do you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again? This week, we look at the basics of campaign strategy and how to deliver a powerful and creative tactic.

Session 8: How should we work with other groups? – June 17

Groups working with other groups can be a powerful model for change making. This week we look at how to identify allies and the strengths and challenges of working in a coalition. We’ll consider some successful coalitions and what it takes to develop a winning one.

Session 9: How can we measure success? – June 24

Sometimes in a local group you can fall into the habit of doing one thing after another without much clarity about how well it’s working. This week we’ll share a model to assist with planning and evaluation to supercharge your campaign work and grow your group.

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