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What Should We Call It: Outreach, Organizing, or Mobilizing?

Many social justice groups use these three words: outreach, organizing, and mobilizing interchangeably. In fact, each one of these terms represents a distinct function in the process of constituency building. Distinguishing between these three functions is beneficial and should guide our constituency building efforts.


Outreach is the set of activities we do to spread the word out about who we are and what we seek to achieve to as many people and groups as we can, and invite them to join our social justice efforts.


Organizing is truly the thrust of our work. It is working together with the grassroots constituency to analyze the situation and the issue from many angles, and planning for and implementing a strategy for how we are going to achieve our goals.


Mobilizing is calling upon our grassroots constituency and allies to join a specific event or an action, be it showing up for a rally, sending emails to officials, or joining a Facebook group. We need to be very clear on how we are going to use the constituents who showed their support for the cause after each event. Otherwise, the people who support us will lose the sense of direction and purpose of all of these events and activities. Mobilizing people to join an activity should come as part of our organizing efforts, and not a standalone plan that we do.

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