Grant Opportunity

Commons Social Change Library
Level 2/673 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Building capacity for advocacy and campaigning -

The Commons Social Change Library is an online collection of educational resources on campaign strategy, community organising, digital campaigning, communications and media, working effectively in groups, fundraising, diversity and inclusion and much more.

We collect, curate and distribute the key lessons and resources of progressive movements around Australia and across the globe. Our collection includes videos, podcasts, manuals, case studies, articles, practical how-to guides, and training materials.

Our vision is an Australia that has well informed, skilled, collaborative and effective movements for social and ecological justice.

People who are working towards social or ecological justice goals tend to be extremely busy with limited financial resources. It’s hard for people to find the time to track down information or develop skills while they are responding to big challenges. The Commons supports their important work by making information accessible.

The Commons Social Change Library enables people to:
* Access best practice examples and understand new trends in social change work.
* Pick up concepts, skills and tools to apply to their own projects.
* Avoid re-inventing the wheel, enabling learning from past projects and countering knowledge loss through turnover.
* Share across movements and sectors, ensuring knowledge isn’t siloed, innovation can spread, and collaboration is supported.

The Commons employs a small team of three part-time librarians focused on building the collection and connecting people with the educational resources they need.

Visit the Commons Social Change Library:

  • Total Requested Amount
  • Total Raised From Donors
  • Remaining Goal

Project Details

Postcode where activity will take place:

Start Date: 01/01/2020

End Date: 25/09/2019

Target Population:

  • Universal (no targeted benediciaries) > Universal (no targeted benediciaries)
  • Work status and occupations > Activists

Field of Interest:

  • Information and communications > Libraries
  • Education

Project Summary:

The Commons Social Change Library provides crucial educational resources to increase the impact of social change movements but our small part-time team can’t reach everybody. This project will extend the reach of the library to those who need it.

This project will build awareness and use of the Commons Social Change Library, as a strategy to improve the effectiveness of Australian social movements. We will use your donations to get educational resources into the hands of those who need them most by increasing staff time on outreach to new users, and training volunteers to do the same.

Generous in-kind support from notable Australian change-makers has seen our collection of valuable resources grow and be made available to the public. The library is well established with an effective website and skilled librarians with strong connections to Australian social movements. The current gap is in the area of promotions and outreach.

The Commons is most effective when we are able to provide the right resource to the right audience at the right time. For example, an article on post-election recovery reached over four thousand people as it was posted immediately after the election. The article spread via social media shares as well as through key people intentionally promoting it through their networks one-to-one, at meetings, and through internal email.

We are keen to replicate this two-pronged approach: increasing social media engagement as well as cultivating champions for the library through a volunteer program.

A specialist staff member focused on social media outreach will connect more people with the resources they need to act effectively as part of Australia’s democracy. This staff member will map relevant online platforms, forums and groups and identify the best interventions. They will oversee paid social media advertising ensuring appropriate targeting.

A staff coordinator of volunteers will develop a program to recruit and train volunteers from around Australia with connections to a wide range of sectors and social movements. The volunteer training will address key skills gaps in civil society: information management, archiving, research, writing, editing, and presentation of educational resources. This distributed volunteer team will be able to monitor needs to feed back to the Commons Librarians, shaping the future development of the library collections. Volunteers will connect people with needed resources via their social media engagement, involvement in their own groups and campaigns, and participation in events.

Investing in the Commons has an impact which is both deep and broad. The library equips and resources people working on many different projects and movements, building their skills and effectiveness in all areas of positive social change.

Please note that the Commons is available to partner with organisations to support their information and training needs via curated resources. If you have a supportive relationship with a particular organisation which would benefit from working with the Commons please contact us to discuss options.

Project Outcomes:

This project will result in increased knowledge, skills and effectiveness within Australian movements for social and ecological justice. More changemakers will have access to educational resources to support their important work.

Project outcomes:
* 50% increase in visits to the library
* 50% increase in downloads of educational resources
* Social media strategy to guide Commons engagement in different platforms
* Increased levels of engagement on social media (100% increase in Facebook followers; Increase Twitter engagement and follows through live-tweeting of five conferences and other civil society events)
* Completion of a pilot volunteer training program
* Recruitment and training of five volunteers in the first year
* Evaluation of the volunteer program to inform future roll-out

Budget Details

Total Budget: $36,000


Income item Price ($)
Donations sought from ACF members 36,000


Expense item Price ($)
Social Media Coordinator – 1 day per week for a year 16,000
Coordinator of Volunteers – 1 day per week for a year 16,000
Advertising 2,500
Project Admin and Oncosts 1,500

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