Social Movement Technologies
WhatsApp to build people power: March 6

Healthcare action by We Own It, London, March 2023. Credit: Dr Tony O’Sullivan.

90 min session | 2 pm London – 3 pm Brussels – 4 pm Kyiv – Check your timezone here | Instruction in English. Interpretation provided as funding allows in response to registrations.

While emails may be opened 20% of the time, WhatsApp messages are read 98% of the time. 75%+ of people in most European countries use WhatsApp. As one of the most used apps, campaigners use WhatsApp creatively to build people power: from creating different groups for language access and geographic locations to using the new feature – WhatsApp Communities –  to being able to message hundreds of people privately and individually in one hour, to fundraising and managing volunteers. There is so much we can do. Learn how campaigners use WhatsApp and tools to build and win campaigns for change. The series will use mainly European examples. The content is relevant to all regions globally except for some of the European tool comparisons.

We will cover: 

  • What WhatsApp is best for
  • Using broadcast lists versus groups
  • Building and managing a team of WhatsApp group volunteers
  • Managing multiple groups and making it easy to join them
  • Designing content to drive sharing and action-taking
  • Calls to action that work
  • A low-cost tool to do mass personalized messaging to a list of WhatsApp users
  • Comparison of tools to manage messaging for more extensive campaigns
  • When a WhatsApp chatbot might be helpful, how they work and what they cost
  • Developments in multi-admin access and how to manage one account across a team
  • How to manage risk, especially under state-sponsored surveillance and when to use Telegram or Signal instead
  • Security settings, and how to turn off data-sharing with Facebook


Victoire Guillonneau has supported groups over the last 15 years in France and across Europe. Her experience includes building a network of Fossil Free groups in France and coaching NGOs and activist groups on building their activist pipeline and supporting the growth of their members. Victoire is SMT’s Europe Movement Support Coordinator

Joep Karskens has 10 years of experience building the climate movement in the Netherlands. He works at the intersection of online mass mobilization and offline activism, with a focus on building effective volunteer teams at scale. His experience includes building 30 teams across the country for a multi-year canvassing campaign, 40 teams in one month for a distributed action targeting a Dutch bank, as well as coordinating a distributed phone banking operation to reach thousands of supporters and mobilize them to a climate march. Joep is an SMT Staff Partner.



Region Budget of the organization Early bird
(by Feb 15, 2023)
Outreach Partner
(by Feb 15, 2023)
(after Feb 15, 2023)
Western Europe
North Am
$2M and above $70 $45 $90
$500K-$2M $60 $40 $80
Under $500K $40 $35 $70
Eastern Europe
$2M and above $50 $35 $70
$500K-$2M $40 $30 $60
Under $500K $30 $25 $50


In order to support a movement organization’s learning space, SMT trainings are for activists and staff of non-profits – NGOs, unions, and electoral campaigns. Trainings are not for consultants or agencies. Alternatively, on-demand trainings are available to all on SMT’s course platform.

Groups referred by outreach partners can get discounts on available training programs (see table above). Please name the outreach partner in your registration and forward the email you received to [email protected]. Emails directly from SMT don’t apply as outreach partner referrals. Outreach partners pass along opportunities for training and coaching to lists of organizing groups. This helps SMT as a non-profit reach more groups that could organize more powerfully with SMT support.

Interested in being an outreach partner? Contact [email protected] and describe the size and type of groups you’d reach out to. Typically, this is a list of chapters of a network; national unions on behalf of their local affiliates; State Federations, Labor Councils etc.


Register here or using the form below:

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Staff and activists of 4,900+ groups
have engaged with SMT trainings


I had an amazing time. I am already applying the valuable content in my organization.
SMT’s training on using WhatsApp to activate our bases helped us activate more leaders by creating conversational WhatsApp groups for members and assigning different leadership roles to volunteers.
Our coach was an everyday reminder of what we needed to do. He checked in and followed up on us. It really helped us activate Twitter in our campaigns and tighten up digital security. We moved from just having a Twitter handle to building on a hashtag that saw a jailed human rights activist released from prison.
I found a lot of value in this Certificate Program that I use in my everyday work: from using social media effectively; significantly growing accounts and activating people online, pressuring targets in campaigns, and running Twitterstorms. Even when using other tools, I still apply the principles I learned!
SMT helped us craft an effective public narrative for our campaign to get a mine closed. SMT helped us finalize a campaign strategy and come up with an effective plan to raise visibility and engage the public. Our campaign led to a pause in the mining. We will keep fighting!
The program was an eye-opener and better positioned me as a Communications Officer. I learned about digital mobilizing, online community building, and more.
I learnt a lot on grassroots movements, digital campaigns and communications in times of state intrusion or threats.
SMT coaching enabled us to expand our presence within human rights spaces in Kenya beyond an LGBTIQ audience. It helped us use Twitter to connect with allies in the environmental justice and land rights movements. It was amazing to have someone to work with who knows our work and give us templates just when we needed them.

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