Grassroots 101

“May the present upheavals lead to a better world.” -Albert Einstein

 #MeToo. #BringBackOurGirls. #TakeAKnee. We live in an age where activism is only a tweet away. While Internet activism has certainly brought about change, showing up in person takes things to the next level. Enter Grassroots organizations. Grassroots organizations receive their power from (ordinary) people who stand up for issues they believe in and engage in political discourse to encourage action.

The following explains what Grassroots organizations are and why they are beneficial, so that the next time you see a problem in your community, you can #DoSomething about it!

1. Grassroots organizations can have a bigger impact than national organizations

A cause is far more meaningful if one is personally involved. Grassroots organizations are usually created by individuals campaigning for causes that affect them directly.

2. This is change from the bottom up

There is strength in numbers when a community comes together (yes, what a cliché – but it’s true!). When neighbors share a common concern and demand answers from their local representatives, change is inevitable.

3. Volunteers form personal connections

Since grassroots organizations tend to be smaller, it allows for a more personal environment where members can come up with solutions.

4. Funding is more secure

The one big criticism established non-profits face is that they misuse money from fundraising. A grassroots organization will usually avoid this since it is smaller; smaller usually means they have less expenses to cover and are more transparent with their spending.

5. Anyone can make a difference

Never underestimate the power of one voice – or many voices amplified. With a goal map, volunteers and a little bit of creativity, anyone can start a movement that makes a difference. If you are looking for inspiration from young leaders, Nadya Okamoto is spearheading the #MenstrualMovement.

Some organizations you can join today are Color of Change, Sierra Club and Grassroots Leadership. They are, respectively, about racial justice, environmental protection and anti-prison-profiteering.

Remember: This is how dictators fall, rights are secured and new possibilities break open.


Benny Luong is a contributor at and writing is definitely his cup of tea. When he is not sharing tips, inspiration and photos of brunch, he can be found listening to the podcast “88 Cups of Tea.”

Cover photo shot by Rob Walsh.

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