Educational Outreach

You are an idealist and have a passion for the topic of 'Non-violent resistance'. You have been dismayed by the general lack of understanding of this topic in your society, and you want to work to correct the imbalance. You know of a number of people of similar passions that you've spoken with or chat with on mailing lists, and you feel that perhaps by working together to perform an educational outreach effort, you can engender a better appreciation for these ideals, and impart skills to people who can put them into practice in their own efforts.

Getting Started

You've taught about non-violence previously, and have also given direction (and participation) at rallies, protests, and other such events, but you feel that in order to achieve a broader impact you're going to need the help of many other people to carry the message forth. This requires not only teaching, but also a lot of organizing, promoting, and so on, that others can assist with. You've accumulated a grab bag of ideas, books, notes, flyers, etc. from past activities and your own research, but know you need to get better organized in order to pull this off.

To start, you convince a computer savvy friend to set up OpenHive for you on one of her websites. She even sets up an easy to remember domain name for you - Further, she sets up a document system for posting educational material, a mailing list through Yahoo groupsand designs a simple website for you that outlines your vision for the project.


Next, you spend a Sunday afternoon seeding your ideas into OpenHive.

You've got a ton of different ideas on how to spread education, but to start with you put in your five favorite ideas:

You enter each of these objectives into OpenHive, and then under each you identify a few tasks needed. For example, for literature distribution you list:

  1. Write pamphlet. Get it throughly reviewed and perfected.
  2. Print tons of pamphlets at a local print shop
  3. Organize an envelope stuffing event; stuff and mail pamphlets
  4. Send people to local shops and restaraunts to leave stacks of pamphlets for visitors.
  5. Recruit volunteers to hand out 100 pamphlets each on street corners around the U.S.
  6. Provide stacks of pamphlets to other progressive groups that will be doing tabling in the coming months.

And so forth for each of the objectives. You know that you and other volunteers will probably need to revise the tasks later once you've gotten started, but you figure this will be enough to get folks started.

In addition, you need help with some basic tasks, such as spreading the word about the project, creating some graphics for the website, and typing in the photocopied flyers that you've collected over the years (which look like they were made in the days before computers!)

Recruitment Phase

You start sending out announcements about your project to lists that you think may have people interested in joining in with you. Since you want to focus it to the Northwest, you focus on lists and blogs specific to this area such as the Pacific Green Party,, and some other mailing lists you've participated in previously.

Your message encourages them to sign up on OpenHive, join the mailing list, and attend your first non-violence class to be held next week.

Sure enough, within days you've got several dozen people signed up. A few have adopted a few tasks in OpenHive. Most of these are interested in the literature distribution (they're probably not comfortable with teaching, you figure.) Several said they'd be interested in the movie night if someone else would organize it. One volunteered for the flyer typing-in task; promptly you stuff an envelope with copies of each flyer and drop it in the mailbox, asking that he post his type-ins to the document system.

First Push - Write Pamphlet

You decide that since most people are interested in the literature distribution, that'd be the best place to start from. You move the priority of the literature task to High, and send out an email letting everyone know that it will be the priority.

A lengthy discussion sparks on the mailing list regarding what should be in the flyer, how long it should be, how it'd be printed, etc. etc. You worry that it'll get out of control, as people start arguing and tempers flare. You put out a plea for calmness - after all this is a group about peace and non-violence! Folks calm down and apologize (in fact they adopt calmness as the cardinal rule of the group, and the community never has a flamewar after that). Someone posts a proposal based on printed newsletter experience they'd had with a non-profit once, and describes a simple design layout. Another person, Joe, drafts up a sample using OpenOffice based on that description.

Meanwhile, the typist has been posting his work to the document system. You add some tasks to OpenHive to proofread the work, and create synopsis versions of each, that will fit on one or two pages of Joe's pamplet. You also post tasks to create some diagrams to go with them. Someone suggests adding photos of peace activists, so you add tasks to find appropriate photos from Wikipedia that can be used.

Before long, and with more sweat and tears than you had anticipated, it's finally taking shape! You are surprised when one day someone posts to the list, "There was a rally yesterday, so I printed out 20 copies of the pamphlet and handed them out. It went well! People liked getting it and said it looked really well done."

You still think that the pamphlet needs more editorial attention, and there's certainly some perfectionists in the group (like Stella) that'd be happy to keep working on polishing it forever, but you decide it needs to get finished. You know there's going to be a lot of argument about what the final form is, but you hope by planning it out, everyone will have a chance to get their concerns addressed. You ask Joe to use OpenHive to plan and organize getting the pamphlet finished.

Pamphlet Finishing Work

For each article in the pamphlet, Joe enters a tasks in OpenHive to do the following:

Stella immediately signs up for all of the fact check tasks. You decide it'd be prudent to have a couple people work on fact checking, just in case, so make the fact check task be a two-plus-person task.

The other tasks don't gain volunteers, so you and Joe decide to put out requests-for-volunteers via OpenHive. You press a few buttons, and personalized emails go out to all of the people who signed up for the project to request that they take 3 tasks each. Half of those people go to OpenHive and indicate their interest.

After a few days, most of the tasks are marked done, but about a third either didn't get volunteers or the volunteers didn't do the work. Again, you and Joe press a few buttons in OpenHive, clear the task ownerships, and resubmit volunteer requests, this time restricting it to only people who fulfilled tasks before. Swiftly, the active volunteers grab and complete the remaining tasks.

Second Push - Distribution

After all the effort needed to get the pamphlet written, you need a break! Plus you need to prepare for a couple classes you signed up to teach. But you post to the list that the pamphlet is now DONE. You say you're going to be tied up for a couple weeks but if anyone feels like printing and distributing it, feel free.

However, the volunteers you've turned on are very anxious to get moving, and don't want to wait. One guy, Chris, posts that his uncle had a print shop and still has one of the machines. It doesn't work very reliably, but probably could do some runs of a few thousand newsletters, and could be used at cost. Stella happens to live the next city over from him, and offers to go help him tend the machine.

Meanwhile, Joe has been playing with OpenHive and configures a 'pamphlet distribution planning template'. Anyone interested in doing a pamphlet distribution in their town can fill in a form, indicating the number of pamphlets needed, and get started. This does the following:

Joe then runs a little script that takes a list of all the major cities and towns in Oregon and Washington and creates projects to do the above in each area. He figures that if the pamphlet distribution was done ad hoc, that there'd be certain areas that are covered too much, and other important areas left uncovered at all. This way, people can see which areas have already been covered and focus on new places.

Immediately, the people who had volunteered to write and proof the pamphlet sign up for distributing it in their town, and some of the nearby towns. Other people send in individual $20 donations to help cover the costs. These are allocated preferentially to cover the areas where people have signed up for distribution tasks. Stella and Chris meet up and fire up the printing press and start licking stamps.

Teaching the Teachers

You're stunned when at one of your classes, the room is filled double capacity, with nearly everyone holding a copy of the pamphlet. Some people have come from out-of-state to attend. You'd meant to do some pamphlet-distribution yourself but hadn't had the time. Evidently someone was way ahead of you!

At your class, you decide to focus on teaching how to teach the topic, and to encourage people to go to your website and sign up for teaching tasks. You go over the main points, and describe activities that can be done to inculcate understanding. You emphasize how important this work will be.

The next day, Joe reports that a huge influx of new volunteers into the system. Lots of people have signed up for pamphlet distribution, but a bunch have also signed up to help with teaching. One person with a strong planning mindset has, with Joe's tutorage, started fleshing out the tasks in OpenHive to build a teaching network. He is going to modify his scripts from the pamphlet distribution effort towards organizing classes in each place where pamphlets have been distributed.

Several of the teachers have also started collaborating on creating a set of presentation slides and hand-outs that they can give at their meetings. They open up new projects in OpenHive for each of these, posting the drafts into the document manager and soliciting reviewers and contributors through OpenHive's task system, like was done for the pamphlet. They also craft flyers to print and post in various places to stimulate interest in attending the classes. You explain how they can use OpenHive to extract lists of interested volunteers in their vacinity to help post the flyers and to recruit new attendees.


Meanwhile, someone happened across your objective to have radio broadcasts, and asks if you'd be interested in appearing on their college's radio station. They're roommates with a friend of the D.J., Jessica Jones and are able to arrange it for you.

The radio broadcast goes well, and while you're there you ask Jessica if she has contacts with other radio stations. Indeed she does, and she gives you a list of thirty radio stations with hosts that would be worth contacting.

Back home, you pull up OpenHive and enter tasks to call and arrange attendance at those events. You push a button, and task requests go out to several people who expressed interest in this aspect of the project. The next day two people reply with an interest in doing the phone calls. The three of you divide the names between you and start calling.


Boy! After only a matter of a few months, the effort you started has spawned a movement beyond your wildest dreams. You've pretty much lost track of the vast majority of what people are up to, and are constantly amazed at the evidence of the impact your little community has made.

The pamphlet you intended to just get distributed in the Northwest has found its way around the world. It's been translated into fifteen different languages and has spawned two followups, one elaborating on tactics and serving as a teacher's aid, and the other serving as more of a newsletter about non-violent resistance activities in the Northwest.

You're impressed at the actions that have been inspired from your teaching. One organization in Northern California has sprung up with the aim of fixing bad voting systems - they all volunteer to serve as poll watchers at voting stations where problematic electronic voting machines have been installed, and then refuse to plug the machines in, suggesting people travel to another polling station where paper ballots are used. Another organization has begun organizing a Fox News Mass Boycott by collecting the names of all companies that advertise on that station and promoting one-year boycotts of those corporations. A third group arranges to challenge the Oregonian to be better at reporting on progressive causes by pasting rejected progressive news stories onto newspaper boxes around the state, requesting people to NOT buy the paper until the paper starts running stories like these. Logo