After The Protest Fatigue

Something happens that you just can’t stand for. Neither can others. You hear about people gathering to let their opinions known. You join them. You take to the streets. You protest. And you go back again and again. Maybe you accomplish something; maybe you don’t. Countless movements have succeeded; others have not. But throughout the course people come and go from the cause. Maybe they came once or maybe they came dozens of times. But eventually, physical, in person involvement in protests diminishes.

As a leader in your movement, you need to keep these people involved, in whatever way you can! So when people stop showing up for demonstrations, protests, or sit-ins, here are a few ideas of things you might be able to get them to do:

  • Spreading the word about your events and outreach. You have like-minded people around you. Chances are that they agree with most of the things you post and need to communicate. It’s also likely that they are friends with other people who agree. They can spread the message to friends and family through regular conversations or by posting them to their social media accounts. All of these help the cause.
  • Spreading the word about the movement. Remember, this isn’t a company, so if it helps your cause you can simply repost what other groups are doing. Don’t get competitive with other groups, instead foster a sense of community. Any movement will have a number of groups, and the combined power of the groups is greater than that of a single organization.
  • Fundraising. Anyone who has attended an event or signed up on a web page is someone who can be contracted to either donate or assist in fundraising. When asking for donations, be clear about exactly what the funds will be used for. I also recommend posting the organization’s full financials on the web in order to be transparent about where funds are used.
  • Contacting politicians. Even after people stop coming to events, you can often get them to fill out a simple form or make a call.
  • Getting out there. Many issues may seem polarizing to someone that doesn’t understand what that issue is. By getting out and communicating with those that might not see eye to eye on those issues, activists can often offer a counterpoint to what people hear in the media. If we communicate more, we will often feel our voices are heard.
  • Volunteering. There are few better ways to earn goodwill in a community than to help people. If people see you volunteering, they will consider your cause more legitimate. Volunteering also makes us feel better and... most importantly... you are helping people. Leave your bubble, though. Mix up volunteering with organizations you may have never heard of, and that have little to do with what your organization is about. 
  • Running for office. OK, so people got out there and made their voices heard. Maybe it’s time to up the game a little. Picking people who are charismatic but being involved less and less and grooming them to run for something might help keep them active and if they get elected, might just help the cause exponentially more than just attending a rally.

Whatever initiatives you decide make sense for the type of organization you run, keep in mind that the easier you make things for people when asking them to do things the more likely they will be to do them. And keep them informed; once we get involved with other aspects of an organization we often feel reinvigorated about the primary mission!

What have you done to help reinvigorate your fatigued members? 

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