Wednesday, April 1, 2015

[Recommended Reading] Free-For-All: A Field Guide To Free Online Organizing Tool Kits And Guides

Happy April Fool's Day! It's no joke that we at Grassroots Solutions love puns and organizing. So much so that we've compiled a handy field guide to free online organizing tool kits and guides for you and your cause-driven colleagues. Enjoy and feel "free" to share these resources!


A Field Guide To Free Online Organizing Tool Kits And Guides


We at Grassroots Solutions love all things organizing and that includes consulting about ittweeting about it, and even coming up with fun puns about it! But more than anything, we love to spread the word about organizing and how it can help communities to build power and create change.
In the vein of making great organizing resources accessible, we decided to highlight a few of our favorite free online organizing tool kits and guides. They range from step-by-step “How To” guides to nuanced assessment tools for understanding where your organization lies on the spectrum between organizing and community engagement. Check them out below and please help us to spread the organizing love!
  • The Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) at University of Denver Community Organizing Handbook
    The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning’s vision is to lead the campus in embracing the University of Denver’s commitment of “being a great private university dedicated to the public good.”  CCESL staff  published this Community Organizing Handbook as a public resource to help equip their campus (and their community) to develop skills and organize people for change. The handbook is intended to serve as a guide to the processes and practices of organizing.
  • Building the Field of Community Engagement Publications
    Building the Field of Community Engagement is a collaborative initiative designed to magnify and elevate the power of community engagement to change the way problems are solved and resources are invested. They host an Engaged Learning Series in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area and have published a number of resources and tools to define and highlight the essentials of community engagement. The website also features case studies showcasing the impacts of community engagement in local organizations.
  • New Organizing Institute Organizer’s Toolbox
    The New Organizing Institute is working to build the practice of engagement organizing, and leaders who are great at it. Their Organizer’s Toolbox offers 10 Resource Centers, with materials developed and refined by organizers in the field, including Organizing and Leadership, Voter Registration, Data Management, and everything in between. Develop your own skills or assemble a training for others using their videos, templates, and resources for organizing, campaigning, and training work!
  • Western Organization of Resource Councils How To Guides
    The Western Organization of Resource Councils focuses on developing grassroots leadership that leads to collective action on issue work. Their How-To Guides are designed to assist community members to build strong organizations and effective issue campaigns. Covering a range of topics— including working with the media, building organizations, and winning issues—these guides include step-by-step instructions, best practices, and check lists to help organizers run successful campaigns.
  • Wilder Research Program Evaluation and Research Tips
    Wilder Research gathers and interprets facts and trends to help families and communities thrive, get at the core of community concerns, and uncover issues that are overlooked or poorly understood. Their Program Evaluation and Research Tips include fact sheets and presentations on evaluation and research ranging from data collection and analysis, surveys, return on investment studies, and much more.
  • Wellstone Resource Library
    Wellstone believes that politics shouldn’t be about money and power games – it should be about the improvement of people’s lives. Their resource library contains everything from digital how-tos, to calculators for working out win numbers, to sample campaign plans, to guides for starting progressive organizations on campus.
And though we’re reluctant to toot our own horn (we’re headquartered in Minnesota, after all), we’d be remiss if we didn’t share a few of our own organizing resources:
We hope you find these resources useful. And if you ever feel you or your organization needs support beyond what’s written on the web, or would like to speak with one of our organizing experts, please contact us.
Happy organizing!

About the Author:
diane-modern-thumbDiane Tran is a Senior Project Manager at Grassroots Solutions. In her role at the firm, Diane manages organizing, evaluation, and training projects for a broad range of clients, including nonprofit, electoral, corporate, and governmental organizations. Diane also serves on the board of directors for the Citizens League, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, and the Minnesota Humanities Center, and leads a network of emerging leaders committed to building relationships, trust, and a shared vision for Minnesota at

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