Build More Powerful Campaigns with Social Science

Social science research offers a wealth of insights related how individuals think and act – individually and en masse – and how those behaviors scale (or don’t) to create the conditions necessary to build political power and create lasting social change.

Watch this webinar recording with Jack Zhou and Carina Barnett-Loro of the Climate Advocacy Lab to learn some of the essential takeaways to improve your organizing with insights from social science.

You’ll find answers to questions like:

  • Many people are taking political action for the first time, but how do we keep them taking action?

  • What insights from research can help us structure volunteer programs that support leadership development and engagement with our organizations and campaigns for the long term?

  • How do organizations facing a surge of activism after the 2016 election convert it into a long‐term base of support?

The webinar focuses on examples from climate space, but we think the insights presented can be applied to organizing on other issues.

Send an email to if you are you interested in joining the Climate Advocacy Lab community.



Carina Barnett-Loro I facilitate workshops and training for the Climate Advocacy Lab community -- everything from Facebook best practices to communicating with conservatives to designing campaigns that build political power.

Prior to joining the Lab team, I spent six years as an organizer on state-level climate and energy campaigns.

Jack Zhou I produce and manage the Climate Advocacy Lab's social science resources for our webinars, workshops, and other outreach engagements. My research interests include motivated reasoning, framing effects, and political polarization. In other words, how people think about climate change, how they process information on the issue, and what gets in the way.

Prior to joining the Lab, I worked as a postdoctoral associate in energy policy and survey methods. I received my B.S. from UC Berkeley and my Ph.D. from Duke University.

Randall Smith I am the founder of PowerLabs where I help people design and build people-powered campaigns using insights from social science. I specialize in training, coaching and strategic planning support to build the capacity of organizations, leaders and networks.

Clients I’ve worked with include Courage Campaign, Forward Together, Free Press, IfNotNow, Movimiento Cosecha and Sunrise Movement. I’ve also run capacity building programs for the grantees of the Four Freedoms Fund, Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Additional resources

We recommend starting your reading with:

Why do people take action?

Why do people keep taking action?

What is political power?

Additional readings about teams and working with volunteers

Organizations that can help you apply insights from social science to your work

Related webinar recordings

Watch this webinar recording with Carina Barnett-Loro and Jack Zhou from the Climate Advocacy Lab to learn the basics of social movement theory and how those insights can be applied to building durable political power.


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