The Citizens Handbook
Creative Community Organizing's Top 11


    1. Try to figure out people's common self-interest. Use this to build a campaign.

    2. If you can't get a person or institution to support you, convince them that it's in their best interest to stay out of the fight.

    3. Develop a strategy by imagining the moment before victory. Then figure out the steps that lead to that moment.

    4. Advocate for the positive, as well as condemn the negative.

    5. The more complicated a strategy or tactic the harder it is to carry out, and the less likely it will be successful. If you want lots of people to participate in a campaign, ask the majority of them to do one thing and only one.

    6. Reinforce unity and try to compensate for divisions among people with whom you work.

    7. Be certain everyone understands the risks they are taking, what could go wrong, and what losses they might suffer.

    8. Frame questions in ways that help people think deeply and unexpectedly about possible answers .

    9. Encourage laughter and cheerfulness in the face of adversity.

    10. Devote time to developing personal relationships before asking people to do something.

    11. Avoid becoming too sure of yourself. It can lead to the arrogance of thinking you know what's right for other people.

    Edited From Creative Community Organizing, Si Kahn, Berrett-Koehler, 2010


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The Troublemaker's Teaparty is an updated and expanded print version of The Citizen's Handbook. It contains all of the handbook plus additional material on preventing grassroots wilt, strategic action, direct action and media advocacy. You can get a copy of The Teaparty from Amazon or from New Society Publishers.