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Seeds for Change - workshops and training for grassroots campaigners

Our Resources

Here is our range of guides designed to help you be more effective in your campaign, co-op or project.

The ideas, examples and tips in our guides are based on working with many different groups and projects, both as campaigners and as trainers.

We've also linked to other resources you might find useful.

anti-copyright symbolAll Seeds for Change guides are anti-copyright. Feel free to copy, adapt, use and distribute them, as long as the final work remains anti-copyright. If you translate any of our work please let us know so that we can link to your translation.

Consensus and Facilitation


A Consensus Handbook cover of A Consensus HandbookCo-operative decision-making for activists, co-ops and communities
A 228 page handbook explaining the spirit and philosophy of co-operative decision making, as well as providing practical guidance on how to facilitate a consensus process. Includes edited and expanded versions of materials available on this page, plus new material on how to address conflict and power imbalances in your consensus based group, facilitating virtual meetings and thoughts on how consensus might work on a community, regional or even national level.
Order a copy (£4.50) or download: A5 PDF - 8 Mb

A short guide to Consensus Decision Making
A shorter version of our standard guide to consensus decision making (below) - read this if you want a basic introduction or a refresher.
Web version | PDF - 325k

Consensus Decision Making
Consensus is a decision-making process that works creatively to include all persons making the decision. This briefing includes sections on quick decision making, consensus in large groups and consensus troubleshooting.
Web version | PDF - 2.7Mb

Consensus Flowchart
A flowchart of how consensus can be reached - this complements our briefings on facilitation and consensus.
Web version | PDF - 100k

mice having a meetingConsensus Mice Poster/Leaflet
The mice tell us about consensus in this short introduction. Includes a poster illustrating the consensus process and what we need to do to make consensus work well in our group - draft.
A4 PDF - 2.6Mb


A short guide to Facilitating Meetings
A shorter version of our standard guide to facilitating meetings (below) - read this if you want a basic introduction or a refresher.
Web version | PDF - 250k

Facilitating Meetings
Ever sat through a meeting that has dragged on and on, with tempers running high, people talking over each other and no decisions being made? This briefing has tips and advice on facilitating meetings and making them worthwhile, including facilitation roles, preparing a meeting, active listening, problems in meetings and large groups.
Web version | PDF - 650k

Facilitating Virtual Meetings
Meetings can be quite challenging – and if you’re not all in the same place they can be harder still. A guide with tips and advice on facilitating meetings over the phone, net and by morse code.
Web version | PDF - 1.6Mb

Making Meetings Accessible
A facilitator's guide to how to adjust your meetings for people with physical and sensory impairments. Our guide on practical access issues may also be useful.
Web version | PDF - 150k

Short Guide to Facilitating Workshops
A quick introduction to preparing and running a workshop.
Web version | PDF - 775k

Facilitating Workshops
Running a workshop is a great way to share your skills or help people learn from each other. It can feel a bit daunting if you're new to it, but this briefing will help you put a good workshop together.
Web version | PDF - 1.2Mb

Facilitation Tools

Facilitation Tools for Meetings and Workshops
A compilation of tools and techniques we find useful when working in groups and facilitating meetings or workshops.
Web version | PDF - 1.8mb

A short guide to Group agreements for workshops and meetings
Group agreements are a useful tool for getting your event off to the right start and keeping it on track. They help a group to come to an agreement on how it will work together respectfully and effectively.
Web version | PDF - 150k

A short guide to Using Questions in workshops
Questioning is a technique often used by facilitators during workshops, meetings or one-on-one mentoring or coaching as an alternative to presenting information and answers.This briefing discusses how you can use questioning as part of your facilitator's toolkit.
Web version | PDF - 325k

A short guide to Active Listening
Active listening is a useful skill for all sorts of situations - whether you're taking part in meetings and workshops or dealing with conflict. By actively listening we can come to understand how the speaker feels about a subject or situation - this briefing explains how we can hear people through their words and tune into their underlying emotions, concerns and tensions.
Web version | PDF - 325k

A short guide to Giving and receiving feedback
Feedback is an essential tool to help us learn new skills and improve existing ones. Like most things, giving inexpert feedback can hinder rather than help. This is a short guide to making the most of your feedback sessions.
Web version | PDF - 315k

Hand Signals - draft
some of the most commonly used hand signals used to make meetings run more smoothly, and help the facilitator spot emerging agreements.
Draft version - currently only available as PDF - 320k

Other Consensus and Facilitation Materials

Sample Workshop Plan: Introduction to Consensus Workshop
Workshop plan (agenda) for you to use or adapt for your own workshop.

  ODT - 250k Open Document Format (LibreOffice, OpenOffice etc.)DOC - 275k Microsoft Word. PDF - 300k

cover of Working with Conflict booklet

Working with Conflict in our Groups a guide for grassroots activists.
This 40 page booklet, written by Seeds for Change Oxford and published by EYFA is aimed at people and groups working for social change who want to develop an understanding of conflict and how to deal with it. There are sections on what conflict is, the benefits of addressing it, and tools to work though conflict and maintain healthy and effective social change groups.
A5 PDF - 315k

External resources:
Rhizome has lots of interesting materials and discussions about consensus and facilitation on their blog.
Training for Change: good resource for social change facilitators.

a group looking at a flipchart

Groups and Meetings

Effective groups - starting them up and keeping them going
A guide to successful group organising.
Web version | PDF - 143k

Organising Successful Meetings
Good meetings are vital to working together as a group, whether this is a campaign group, a self-development or support group. They can make all the difference between a group feeling motivated and dynamic or a group getting stuck.
Web version | PDF - 275k

A short guide to Access Issues at Meetings
Easy access to a venue is essential for a successful community event. This is a guide to practical access issues for event organisers when they're planning a meeting or choosing a venue. (For a facilitator's guide to access issues see Making Meetings Accessible).
Web version | PDF - 390k

A short guide to Taking Minutes at Meetings
Minutes are a written account of the meeting, covering the main points of discussion, the decisions reached and actions to be taken. This guide explains how to take minutes, and why taking minutes can be a good idea.
Web version | PDF - 275k

A short guide to Making Changes in your group
Ever wondered how to introduce a new way of doing things to your group? A step by step guide to how you can make changes in your group.
Web version | PDF - 475k

Checklist for Encouraging People (to Be (and Stay) Involved in Your Group)
A short checklist for groups who want to attract more people.
Draft version - currently only available as PDF - 40k

Resources for Co-ops

How to Set Up a Workers' Co-opcover of How to set up a Workers' Co-op - 2015
Workers' co-ops give us a way to reclaim a small but significant part of the world - our working lives. In this book you'll find lots of information you need to set up your workers' co-op, including organising your workplace, making decisions, choosing the right legal form, business planning along with info on tax, insurance and other such details.
This is a guide Seeds for Change co-authored with Radical Routes (Hard copies available for £7 from them).
PDF - 3.6Mb
(See below for more co-op guides from Radical Routes)

Model Articles of Association for a Workers' Co-operative (Company Limited by Guarantee)
These articles (constitution) are for a workers’ co‑operative registering as a company limited by guarantee. They are for a workers’ co‑operative which is fully mutual, using either consensus decision making or voting and in common ownership.
Includes explanatory notes and sample secondary rules.
These articles are on the ‘Approved Model List’ of both the Co‑operative Enterprise Hub and Co‑operatives UK. This means that both bodies may will register your co‑op with these articles (or you can register yourself by following the instructions in the How To Set Up a Workers' Co-op handbook).
These articles are also suitable for use by co-operative consortia (service Co-ops) - instructions on how to adapt them are included.

  ODT - 280k Open Document Format.
(LibreOffice, etc.)
PDF - 350k DOC - 510k Microsoft Word.

Financial Literacy for Co-operatives
We think it’s important that more than one or two people in any co-op understand what's going on with the finances if we want to be truly democratic in our decision-making and develop successful alternative business models. So we wrote this guide aimed at anyone who is involved in co-ops: the aim is to demystify the world of finance to enable all co-op members to fully participate in financial decision-making.
Web version | PDF - 1.1Mb

The Co-operative Principles and Values - A4 Poster.
PDF - 800k

The Co-operative Principles and Values
Web version

Timeline for setting up a Workers' Co-op - A4 Poster.
PDF - 200k

Sample constitution for groups (unincorporated associations)
This is a sample constitution for groups to adapt and use - you may need a constitution if your group wants to open a bank account or apply for funding.

  ODT - 33k Open Document Format.
(LibreOffice, etc.)
DOC - 120k Microsoft Word.

External resources:
Introduction to Radical Routes booklet introducing Radical Routes. Topics covered include Aims and princiles; How Radical Routes works; How to join; How we raise and then lend money to our Members; Other services we can offer to members.
Radical Routes: How to set up a Housing Co-op "We believe that everyone should be in control of their own housing, not at the whim of their landlord. Co-ops also provide secure homes, so that your housing is not dependent on your financial security."
Radical Routes: How to Set Up a Social Centre legal structures, business planning, property maintenance, licencing, policies, housing legislation, running a bar, etc, etc, etc.
Co-operatives UK: Simply Finance guide from Co-operatives UK, an excellent guide to finance in your co-op or other social enterprise.
Co-operatives UK: Simply Legal a comprehensive guide to the different options for financing a community enterprise.
Co-operatives UK: Simply Startup a guide for anyone involved in the creation of an enterprise that will be owned by, run by, and supported by the community in which it operates.
Co-operatives UK: From Conflict to Co-operation how to deal with conflict by improving communication, improving meetings and decision-making, managing the change caused by organisational growth and development and clarifying the role of the governing body.
Co-operatives UK: Simply Governance a comprehensive guide to understanding the systems and processes concerned with the running of a sustainable community enterprise.
Co-operatives UK: Worker Co-operative Code of Governance based on the seven co-operative principles this guide explains how to use these principles to both run your business and govern your co-operative successfully.
Select a Structure Tool from Co-operatives UK - to help you choose a structure and legal form for your co-operative, mutual or non-profit organisation.
More resources from Co-operatives UK.
The Hive - a business support programme from Co-operatives UK offering a mix of online resources, training and advice for new start and existing co-ops.

banner on the Angel of the North

Planning your Campaign, Strategy

Affinity Groups
Ideas, tools and skills for organising and taking action in a non-hierarchical and autonomous way - using affinity groups, buddies, quick consensus and spokescouncils.
Web version | PDF - 1.4Mb

Planning your Project or Campaign
Projects and campaigns usually start because we feel inspired - our first impulse is to throw ourselves into action straightaway. But if we take a little time to analyse the situation and to develop a plan of action we can increase our effectiveness and our chances of success.
Web version | PDF - 205k

Action Planning - draft
A guide to the steps you can take to make your action a successful one.
Draft version - currently only available as PDF - 205k

Communicating your Campaign Message - draft
At some point in time in the life of any campaign you'll find yourself talking to others face to face about the issue - here's some pointers to help you get your message across.
Draft version - currently only available as PDF - 410k

Preparing for Action - draft
Whatever kind of action you're planning to take, preparation is key to success. Thinking about what to expect, what to take and what roles people can play is all too often neglected.
Draft version - currently only available as PDF - 525k

External resources:
Direct Action - a Handbook (2010) - lots of ideas and info on taking direct action.
Delia Smith's Basic Guide to Blockading - lots of useful info, please note the legal info is out of date.
Corporate Watch UK - extensive site including profiles, briefings and resources on researching and using material on corporations.
Your Right To Know - How to use the law to get information from government, a briefing by Friends of the Earth

lots of microphones pointed at an activist

Media, Publicity and Outreach

A short guide to Dealing with the Mainstream Media
A short version of our standard media guide (below) - read this if you want a basic introduction or a refresher.
Web version | PDF - 950k

Dealing with the Mainstream Media
Most campaigns end up dealing with the mainstream media at some point, whether they choose that contact or are thrust unwillingly into the limelight. This is a guide to getting your message across in the mainstream media, and tips on how to deal with the darker side of the press.
Web version | PDF - 1.3Mb

A short guide to Good Publicity and Outreach
Publicity and outreach are essential tools for communicating campaign messages and getting people involved in taking action. This briefing gives you some tips on how to best get your message across to the public.
Web version | PDF - 590k

External resources:
The Media Trust - guides on PR and dealing with the media.
NetAction's virtual activist - guides to using emails for activism - press releasing, using the web to contact supporters, lobby etc (also available as a PDF).
Rising Tide, the climate change network have excellent How-To guides and other resources, on public speaking and dealing with groups and the media.

a wishlist

Funding and Finance

Fundraising for Activists
There are many different ways of raising money and getting materials and equipment. You'll find some of them in this guide together with general tips on raising cash and writing funding applications.
Web version | PDF - 165k

Financial Literacy for Co-operatives
We think it’s important that more than one or two people in any co-op understand what's going on with the finances if we want to be truly democratic in our decision-making and develop successful alternative business models. So we wrote this guide aimed at anyone who is involved in co-ops: the aim is to demystify the world of finance to enable all co-op members to fully participate in financial decision-making.
Web version | PDF - 1.1Mb

External resources:
Simply Finance guide from Co-operatives UK, an excellent guide to finance in your co-op or other social enterprise.
Volresource - huge site with lots of information for those in the voluntary sector - indispensable
Funding Guides - from the S.Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau. Very extensive - cover topics such as grants, evaluation, making applications etc.

a figure sitting down and reading something

Legal, Security and Planning Issues

Computer Security Postcard Guide
Worried about viruses, Big Brother and computer security in general? This is a simple, practical guide to computer security. Simply print it out, fold it to show your chosen level of security and keep it next to your computer.
PDF - 125k

External resources for IT security:
Tech Tools for activists is a 32 page booklet produced by members of the HacktionLab collective. It has been designed for activists who are not techies.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self Defense Guide covers the basic technical information and makes suggestions as to what you can do to protect yourself when using computers and mobile devices.

External resources for legal rights and security in relation to protests:
The Network for Police Monitoring provides guides on police tactics and legal rights.
Green and Black Cross provide up legal information for people involved in protests, including bust cards, arrest process, stop and search, how to challenge the police and much more.

a figure standing and reading a piece of paper

Other / Mixed Resources

External resources:
Activist Trauma Support's Sustainable Activism and Avoiding Burnout flier.
Street Acts have resources and ideas for street theatre, clowning and creative campaigning.
Road Raging - a classic from the '90s: the campaigner's manual to fighting new roads, but most of this is applicable to any campaign. Well worth reading.
Delia Smith's Basic Guide to Blockading
Schnews DIY Guides - lots of useful How-Tos on all sort of things, from naughty to nice.

group working on a translation

Translations and non-English language adaptations

These are translations of our work done by other groups. Please contact us if you translate or adapt any of our work so that we can link to it.

 Chinese | 汉语
Translated by Chine Chan for The Rights Practice

 French | Français
Translations by Agir pour la Paix

 German | Deutsch
Translations by Kommunikations Kollektiv

 Russian | Русский язык
Translated by Радикальная Теория и Практика

The views expressed in any linked site or third party resources are not necessarily those of Seeds for Change.

cover of A Consensus Handbook

A Consensus Handbook: the guide to consensus and facilitation
by Seeds for Change. More details, and how to get a copy...