Turning Grassroots Activism Into Durable Political Power

The midterm elections ushered in Democratic control of the House and a critical check on the balance of power in our political system.

Many of these victories flowed directly from the energy and enthusiasm stoked by the Trump administration that resulted in a resurgence of grassroots activism in legislative districts across the country.

As we regroup and revisit movement goals for the next two years and beyond, a number of challenges become apparent, including the need to build and maintain broad constituencies that persist through the ups and downs and whims of different administrations.

So, how do we build the kind of movements that generate the collective action necessary to shift existing power dynamics?

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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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, and Movimiento Cosecha. I’ve also run capacity building programs to help the grantees of the Four Freedoms Fund, Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation use digital to increase the depth and breadth of their organizing.

Additional resources

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

Related webinar recordings

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


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