GATE: Grassroots Advocacy Training Exchange

Grassroots Program Development

Building a Grassroots Network


Questions to be Answered When Building a Grassroots Network

Grassroots networks are devoted to increasing participation by people sharing similar views on issues facing their society. If you want to have an impact on these issues at any level, local, state or national, answering the questions listed below will help you to achieve your goal. You can do this as a citizen, as a member of a community group, as an employee or executive in a business, as a member of a trade or professional group, as a member of a public-interest group, or as a participant in a private-sector interest group. The place from which you start is less important than your willingness to reach out to find and accept others who share your goals and objectives.

You may have heard, "Politics is about inclusion, not exclusion".

Grassroots networks and coalitions are about creating a role for everyone to participate and contribute something to reaching the goal. Matching a willing person's skills to the needs of the task is what builds a grassroots network.

Answering the questions below will get your grassroots network started in the right direction.

  1. What are the Crucial Issues You Wish to Address?

  2. Can Your Group Handle These Issues Alone or Will You Need to Combine With Other Groups to Form a Coalition?

  3. Identify the Groups Facing Similar Issues Which Would Make Them Candidates to Join Your Coalition.

  4. How Should You Form the Coalition?

  5. How Should You Finance the Coalition? How Much Can Be Done By Volunteers? What Kinds of Paid Staff Will Be Needed? From What Sources Should You Accept Financial Support?

  6. Who Should Lead The Grassroots Effort? What are the Specific Qualities Needed for a Credible Leader on These Issues?

  7. How Should This New Grassroots Coalition Relate To Existing Community Groups? Industry Groups? Other Grassroots Coalitions? Business Trade Association Groups?

  8. How Should Your Grassroots Network Approach Your State Legislature? The Congress? The Executive Branch Agencies? The White House? The Governor? The Mayor?

  9. How Do You Construct Monitoring Mechanisms to Guarantee That Your Coalition/Network is Doing What It Should Do?

  10. How Do You Measure the Quality and the Integrity of Your Grassroots Coalition?

  11. How Do You Establish Mechanisms to Recognize and Handle Membership Dissatisfaction While Building Your Grassroots Network?

 

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