3. GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING

In order for your campaign to succeed, it’s usually necessary to demonstrate grassroots support. Occasionally, the decision maker on your issue will support your campaign on its merits alone. But more often than not, your campaigns will face opposition from powerful, well funded and influential interests.

WHY BUILD GRASSROOTS SUPPORT?

• It demonstrates broad support for the campaign.
• It adds resources and credibility to your group and campaign. 
• It builds access and influence with decision makers.

PLANNING A GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN

When you set out to run a campaign, you first need to answer some basic questions to help figure out the lay of the land.

1. Who has the power to make the decision that will win your campaign? Is it a single individual (e.g. the university president) or a group of people (e.g. the student government)? This will be your campaign target.

2. Who influences the decision-maker on your campaign issue? Who are all of the individuals and institutions that are sources of influence? (e.g. faculty members, political figures, student groups, alumni, etc.) 

3. Of these people and groups, which are the most influential?

4. Of the ones who are influential, which of these does your group have influence over? Which of them does your group know or have access to? These are the groups you should recruit into your coalition. 

5. Is your campaign likely to have opposition? If so, estimate your opposition’s influence. Of the people and groups that influence your decision-maker, which of these does the opposition have influence over?

6. Who of the groups that are infuential to the decision-maker is influenced both by your group and by the opposition? These will be the most important, and the most difficult, groups to recruit into your coalition. 

7. What things will you need to win this campaign? What are your resources? What other resources can you get from allies? This will determine what resources you need to ask for from your coalition partners.