Community Organising Guide: Our second training guide has been published!

November 1, 2016 | By: James Whelan

Community Organising Guide cover

 “In a democracy there are only two types of power. There’s organised people and organised money. Organised money only wins when people aren’t organised.”

– Benjamin Todd Jealous

The Community Organising Guide is a unique resource for campaigners, community leaders and activist educators. It’s a collection of 39 process guides, 50 handouts 4 original case studies and 3 sample workshop schedules: everything you need to design and lead participatory workshops with activists, organisers and citizens. The 292 pages of training resources deepen our understanding of relational meetings and self-interest, the power of story in organising, building alliances, coalitions and networks, holding decision-makers accountable and leadership development. The guide also sharpens core organising skills such as recruitment, doorknocking and phonebanking.

The Community Organising Guide draws on wisdom gained in social movements over several decades. It doesn’t advocate ‘one right way’, but integrates broad-based, social movement and grassroots organising approaches. The Guide is the second of six instalments in the People Power Manual series and follows the August 2015 launch of our Campaign Strategy Guide.

The Community Organising Guide will be launched during the FWD+Organise conference in Sydney on 24 November. Both guides are available as a downloadable pdf from our website, or order a hard copy ($80AUD including GST and postage).

The People Power Manual is an initiative of Pasifika and the Change Agency.


In a world where wicked problems like climate change seem insurmountable, community organising has the potential to build the kind of mass people’s movement that we need. This manual is an invaluable source for the journey ahead of us. It holds in one place Australia’s growing intellectual muscle on how to organise. The trainings, handouts and discussions inside will be valuable for all kinds of social change leaders – indeed it is a vital tool for anyone who believes that a mass based citizen movement is a necessary part of changing the world.

– Amanda Tattersall, Founder Sydney Alliance,
Co-founder, Author of Power in Coalition

Community organising is a craft, one that is learnt by doing and adapting. We are still only at the very beginning of introducing and adapting this craft to Australia, and there is much important work to be done. This workbook is an important practical contribution to this collective project. It is both a practical training resource, and a hands-on contribution to the debate over how best we build people power in Australia.  

– Dave Copeman, Community Organiser, Queensland Community Alliance

This manual is a fantastic resource for people who take the craft of organising seriously and want to work effectively with a community of people to bring about positive change for our communities and planet.  I will make use of this resources in my organising work.  Thank you for the love, care, experience and thought that went into this document.

– Bob Bingaman, National Organising Director, The Sierra Club

Know someone one who longs for a more just world? Put this in their hands. The People Power Manual confirms we are the ones we have been waiting for while showing us ‘how to’. 

– Jarrod McKenna, Co-founder of First Home Project,
Co-initiator of #LoveMakesAWay, Pastor at Westcity Church


About the Author

James Whelan

James Whelan

James is co-founder of the Change Agency and director of our Community Organising Fellowship.

Read More From This Author

Like this? Check out these other related resources


Cancer Council NSW Organising Model

Cancer Council NSW developed this model to engage, mobilise and organise community members to influence public policy about cancer. While the context of their model is health specific, some of the principles and processes are relevant for other social issues. You can use this model of grassroots advocacy as a starting point, and develop ideas to suit your own organisation.