9. Movement Start Up

As nonviolent social change depends on participation, the numbers that one can bring into a movement are essential for its success. This module explains the principles of creating an ‘army of change’ throughout three basic stages of the movement. It examines case studies of effective recruitment, then discusses training and informing new members about the movement, as well as getting them involved in initial actions. The key for emerging movements is always to explore ways to recruit the first 100-200 members, as this is the number needed to enable a movement to be engaged in dozens of different tactics. This is also the number needed to engage and train members (recruit-train-act). 


  1. Understand the importance of human resources in nonviolent movements
  2. Understand the concept of the “recruit-train-act” triangle
  3. Develop a short “one-pager” for the movement that will serve as introductory material for freshly recruited members
  4. Develop a database of volunteers

9.1 Exercise

Participants will create a “Movement Manifesto,” identify useful skills for their movement, and adapt their own “Activist Cards.” In addition, participants will be encouraged to brainstorm recruitment opportunities and explore ‘low-risk-low-investment’ tactics to employ in their movement. Participants will get the chance to present their “Movement Manifesto” and receive feedback from trainers.