Community Organizing 102: Building Powerful Campaigns

LEARNING AREA: Community Organizing and Planning
MKI Training
In person


Sarah Horsley, Rising Sun Consulting and Melinda Vega, NOAH


6 hours


Northeastern Crossing
1175 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02115


“Building Powerful Campaigns” is a hands-on workshop on creating campaigns that both achieve wins and build the abilities of grassroots leaders.  The training will delve into the many stages of campaigns, including research, education and mobilization, negotiation, protest/struggle, achieving win-wins, and celebration/follow up. Using interactive exercises and case studies, this workshop will offer concrete approaches and tools for power analysis, strategy design, managing coalitions, and messaging.  Threaded throughout, we will emphasize the role of the organizer as coach, who supports community leaders to be the true drivers of campaigns.  This training is intended for staff members and community leaders who have some experience in community engagement and organizing.

Proposed Outcomes

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of: 

  • developing power analysis and campaign strategy collaboratively with community leaders 
  • how leadership development, organizing, advocacy, and coalition-building work together to build power in marginalized communities 
  • case studies of grassroots organizing campaigns 

Participants will gain hands-on skills and/or resources in:

  • specific mobilization, negotiation, messaging, and protest tactics that groups have used to achieve affordable housing, jobs, and other community demands
  • ways to support community leaders in building skills and confidence in areas such as advocacy with policymakers and speaking to the media

A Boston native, Sarah Horsley has supported community efforts for social and economic justice locally and nationally for over two decades. Sarah has mobilized community leaders to organize campaigns on reproductive justice, affordable housing, tenants rights and COVID safety in schools. She offers training, coaching and consulting to organizers and nonprofits.

Sarah stands in solidarity with low-income residents and residents of color who are fighting to remain housed and healthy in Boston. She was an Advisory Group member for the City of Boston’s Plan JP Rox process and serves on the board of the Boston Tenant Coalition and on the JP Neighborhood Council’s Housing & Development Committee. In 2021, she co-founded BPS Families for COVID Safety, mobilizing with other families for equitable COVID protections in the Boston Public Schools.

Sarah also teaches in the sociology department at UMass Boston and is the proud parent of a BPS elementary student. She received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in Feminist Studies from Stanford University.

Melinda Vega is a 33-year old Latina and a lifelong resident of Chelsea MA. Melinda is a mother of two, Chelsea City Councilor for District 2, and an independent consultant, offering training, coaching and consulting to community based nonprofits in the Greater Boston area.

Melinda has worked in multiple organizations where she has followed her passion for social and environmental justice, youth empowerment, and undoing racism. As the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, she coordinated the Youth Organizers program, supporting young people to be change-makers in their community. She worked to empower East Boston community members by developing leadership skills and ensuring they are part of the decision-making process on issues affecting them, ultimately creating a better quality of life for themselves, their families, and the East Boston community as a whole. Melinda has also served as an elected School Committee Member for the City of Chelsea

This training offered in partnership with:


Registration deadline

Registration fee

$125 Regular, $100 MACDC Member, $75 Student/Americorps/Intern