Working in groups

To bring about social and environmental change, organisers and activists need to build skills in organisational development and maintenance. Working in groups, networks or organisations can be a real challenge in social movements. Successful social change work necessitates establishing and maintaining strong, resilient and learning organisations.

This page provides some of our favourite resources. You’ll find additional resources on working in groups on the ‘links’ page (under ‘activist education’, above) or by searching the campaigners’ toolkit.


Action Group Meetings

Resources to help your group work well together and achieve your objectives; highlights some group habits and actions that resilient community groups have relied on. Tags: communication, facilitation,

Active listening role play and resources

Some of our favourite resources on active listening and a role play in which facilitators demonstrate good and bad listening techniques, and participants are able to experience and discuss the elements of successful communication. Tags: communication, workshop resources,

Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes

Presentation by Claudia Baldwin designed to: introduce ADR processes; outline the characteristics of mediation; identify skills useful for preventing and resolving conflicts; and to identify the benefits of mediation for environmental dispute and policy r Tags: communication, peace,

Ankle walk

Here’s a challenging exercise for practicing making decisions and communication, and deepen a group’s capacity to work more effectively together. Tags: coalitions and alliances, community organising, favourite, workshop resources,

Consensus decision making

An overview of requirements and guidelines for effective consensus decision-making, as well as some variations and difficulties that may be encountered. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,

Decision Making & group process

Resources to help community action groups work together, make tough decisions and attend to the maintenance as well as task dimension of group life. Tags: facilitation,

Defining Consensus

This tool enables a group to arrive at a shared definition of consensus and to work together and strengthen relationships before dealing with decision-making. Tags: facilitation,

Defining consensus exercise

A process guide to enable a team to come to a shared definition of consensus; encourage group members to work together before they deal with a decision they must make; and strengthen the relationships within the group before they make consensus decisions. Tags: facilitation,

Developing Strength Through Diversity

Chapter 12, pp.158-172, of ‘Grassroots and nonprofit leadership’  (1995) Berit Lakey, George Lakey, Rod Napier, and Janice Robinson, New Society Publishers. Tags: community organising, diversity,

Diagnostic Tools

A bundle of tools for facilitators to learn a group’s needs and move the group forward. Tags: activist education, facilitation,

Effective facilitation

Resources for developing effective facilitation skills. Topics covered include: tips for facilitators; running effective meetings; forming agendas; testing for agreement; and decision making models. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,

Facilitation interventions

Ten facilitation techniques to use when certain common meeting problems occur. Tags: activist education, facilitation,

Games, Energisers and Ice Breakers

The games in this section are separated into the categories of introductory games, name games, dynamicas (energisers) and fun ways to get people into groups. Tags: activist education, facilitation, workshop resources,

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Strategies for enhancing effective feedback whilst reinforcing acceptance, confidence, and contributions from participants. Tags: communication, workshop resources,

Growing Pains exercise organisational learning

Role play exploring issues of organisational responses to growth and change. Tags: learning organisations, workshop resources,

How to build safety in a group

If the facilitator and the group do a good job of building safety, then the participants will frequently go out of their comfort zone in order to stretch and grow. This document outlines techniques for developing security within a group. Tags: diversity, facilitation,

Identifying and Addressing Disruptive Behaviour in Groups

This process will be useful to build the confidence of group facilitators in identifying disruptive behaviour issues in groups and developing strategies to addresses them. Tags: workshop resources,

Killer phrases: Keeping a pro-stagnation attitude

A useful reminder to build a healthy sense of our agency and potential. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,

Mainstream and Margin: Two Roles In Conflict

An overview of the two roles that often appear in group conflicts – mainstream and margins. Tags: activist education, diversity, workshop resources,

Maximise-minimise learning

A powerful method for engaging participants in a process of becoming responsible learners, identifying strategies for maximising learning, and encouraging personal self-reflection. Tags: activist education, favourite, workshop resources,

Meeting facilitation: the no magic method

Overview of the role of the facilitator and some ingredients for undertaking productive and effective meetings as recommended by Berit Lakey. Tags: activist education, facilitation, workshop resources,

Participant agreements

A list of agreements developed by Bill Moyer for participating in workshops and meetings that encourage respectful and responsible participation. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,


An exercise to facilitate self-awareness, deepen engagement and relationships, stimulate creativity in personal expression, and connections between intellectual reflection and personal experience. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,

Sample Workshop Agenda: Team Building

A sample agenda for a whole day team-building workshop. Tags: workshop resources,

Scenario writing

Encourages participants to articulate positive visions to guide their organisations’ strategies. Tags: workshop resources,

Stages In A Group’s Development

A workshop introducing participants to Bruce Tuckman’s ‘stages in group development’, facilitating participants’ reflection on their experiences of group development, and identifying and addressing challenges. Tags: facilitation, learning organisations, workshop resources,

Team types

An opportunity to reflect on behaviour and work together to understand each other more deeply. Tags: facilitation, workshop resources,

Tensions within a group

Well functioning groups are aware of these tensions and work together to manage and respond to them as needed. Facilitators can assist by observing, acknowledging and actively managing these tensions as they arise. Tags: facilitation, teams,

The role of a critical friend in organisational learning

Summary of the different types of facilitation roles (e.g. observer, critical friend, fishbowl, vibes watcher) with links to useful internet resources. Tags: facilitation, learning organisations,