Instigate! An Online Toolkit for Community Mobilization


TC-TAT's Online Toolkit for Starting a Community Action Team (CAT) to End Domestic Violence 

Use this carefully selected set of tips, tools and exercises to start up a Community Action Team (CAT) in your neighborhood, city, faith-based group, school or place of employment. This toolkit is designed primarily for use by domestic violence and public health organizations that have the staff, structure and resources needed to launch a community mobilization campaign. It can also be adapted and used by individuals and groups that are not affiliated with a domestic violence organization as a guide for planning and carrying out awareness events in the local community.

The nine INSTIGATE! modules are arranged like a series of stepping stones to guide you step-by-step through the exciting (and challenging!) process of launching a CAT campaign or community event. You can move through each of the modules in sequence or go directly to a module that best fits with your group's current aims, needs, or interests. You can go directly to a specific module from the contents page, or by clicking on the initial of INSTIGATE! running down the left-side of the window.

Each of the nine INSTIGATE! modules includes an Introduction page and several practical tools that you can access by clicking on the Tips and Tools buttons. The first three modules (I, N and S) contain tools to help your team flesh out its vision, recruit new members and start to build teamwork. The next four modules (T, I, G, and A) focus in on practical action planning, developing outreach skills and learning to use media to get your message out and to gain publicity for community events. The last two modules (T and E) offer examples of successful mobilizing campaigns and tools for evaluating the impact of your team's efforts. 

Note about Gender-Based Analysis Used in this Toolkit

In many of the tools and exercises included in this toolkit, the victim of domestic violence and/or dating violence is assumed to be female and the abuser male. This assumption is consistent with findings of national studies of the incidence and prevalence of domestic violence in the United States. A summary of the theoretical assumptions underlying Transforming Communities' gender-based analysis of domestic violence and implications for prevention are outlined in tools in the third module (Start Up the Team). This formulation is not meant to dismiss the fact that in some cases the victim and abuser may be the same sex or that the victim may be male and the abuser female

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INSTIGATE! An Online Toolkit for Community Mobilization

Dare to imagine how the world would look and feel if no one ever had to be afraid of violence and abuse in their homes and communities. Share the dream with others willing to start up a Community Action Team (CAT) and to mobilize other community members to take action.

Conduct outreach at schools, festivals, farmers' markets, ecology fairs and meetings of other community organizations. Talk with people in your community to find out their concerns about domestic violence or dating violence. Learn how to become an organizer.

Bring potential new team members together to explore different visions and ideas for making the community safer. Conduct fun, interactive exercises that help team members get to know one another and begin to formulate a vision and plan for action.

Develop a participatory planning process that values each member's skills and contributions. Work on planning strategies and building skills for an initial outreach activity or event.

Develop local statistics on the incidence of domestic violence. Gather information about which groups in the community may need help but aren't receiving it. Conduct research on community attitudes, beliefs and behaviors using focus groups, surveys and community forums.

Seek out additional community members who could be allies. These might be community leaders or other organizations that have a stake in preventing violence. Set up meetings to find out their opinions on the issue.

Use local events to highlight your CAT's activities. Use the media; write letters to newspaper editors; hold rallies; call for accountability from community leaders; ask for change.

Stage a public awareness event as a campaign starter. Be sure to let people know how they can participate in or support CAT activities.

Make use of every opportunity to learn from the CAT's successes and mistakes. Use simple evaluation tools to get feedback from audience members and participants at the CAT's outreach presentations and training events.