Grassroots Campaigns and Coalition Building
A grassroots campaign or movement is one driven by the constituents of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it is natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures. The power of grassroots organizing is in the sense of justice that is developed about an issue, and the ability of ordinary folks to influence people in powerful positions, not with money or expertise or relationships, but through the cooperation of many, many like-minded people.
Grassroots organizing works to increase the capacity of a social movement by training new volunteer leaders and by involving new volunteer activists. Leadership development helps to increase the size of the movement and to increase its power. Leaders learn a variety of skills, such as flyering, running meetings, and writing letters-to-the-editor about the issue. Eventually volunteer leaders learn how to be organizers, which allows them to run a campaign and train new leaders.
Since the power of grassroots organizing is in ordinary people, we seek to mobilize large numbers of people. An activist group of five people may be able to reach 5,000 people in a week by putting up posters, sending e-mails or making phone calls. Larger organizations can reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of people.
Grassroots organizing creates democracy, and there is no limit to the number of people your movement can reach.