Moving Your Allies | Training For Change

Moving Your Allies


Organizing, Action, Strategy iconOrganizing, Action, Strategy




Training Tool


This exercise is meant as a follow-up to the Spectrum of Allies exercise. We develop arguments and one specific request to move a given constituency one wedge over to our side. We then roleplay the interaction.

How to Lead

You have just run the Spectrum of Allies exercise. Before you divide into small groups, pick one constituency in each of the other four wedges of the Spectrum (you omit “active allies”). Allocate one to each small group. Two cofacilitators are needed, as each will take turn roleplaying with teams.

Let’s remember the “good news”: all it takes to win sometimes is to move one group, one constituency one wedge closer to us in the Spectrum of Allies. In our next exercise, our goal will be to move one constituency one wedge closer to us. You will find convincing arguments, pick one tactic and come up with one specific request, one simple thing to ask that consituency.

As you explain this, refer to the Spectrum of Allies on the flip chart. Give an example. Show movement form one wedge to the next with arrows.

This group here is a passive opponent. If we can move it from being a passive opponent to being neutral, we affect the balance of power. Sometimes, we may win just from that.

So this is your task:

  1. Identify how you will appeal to your target group.
  2. Create 1 tactic to move that group one wedge closer to us

Reveal or write down the task.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Say you’re working on a campaign to encourage consumers to buy locally-grown food as a way to fight global warming and support the local economy. You have identified the local chain Supermarket as a passive opponent. You want to move that passive opponent into a more neutral position (rather than it joining the camp of active opponents).

Task 1. As you look for convincing arguments geared to the Supermarket, you may find that:

  • Because locally grown food doesn’t need to travel long distance, it will be fresher and sell better.
  • Locally grown food supports the local economy. The better the local economy, the more people can buy at the Supermarket.

Task 2. One tactic to engage the Supermarket can be to convince it to set up one special display for locally-grown food. It benefits the Supermarket, and it benefits your goals.

Are there are any questions?

You have 5 minutes to do this. Then each group will roleplay the interaction. Us facilitators will take turn playing the part of a representative of the constituency you aim to move. You will engage with us and make your specific ask to us in a short, 2-minute roleplay.

Divide the group into 4 teams (one for a constituency in each wedge, except “us, active allies”). Give each group the constituency you picked within its wedge.

Circulate among the teams and make sure everybody understood the task. Watch group dynamics and see how far they’ve come after 4 or 5 minutes. If more time seems needed, give a few more minutes. When most team look like they’re almost done, annonce one more minute. Ask them to make sure they know who in the team (one, many, or all) will play the interaction.

Okay, time to roleplay your dialogue and tactic. Each group has two minutes.

Roleplay each of the teams. Let teams tell you who to be. If they don’t specify a role for you, volunteer one.

Debrief the roleplay in three steps: reflect, generalize, apply.

  • So how was that? How did it feel to present your arguments? How did the asking part go?
  • Learn anything new? What discoveries did you make through your discussions, the roleplays?
  • What do you think you could apply to your current campaign? How can you use this in real life?

Where the tool comes from
Moving your allies was developed by Lorena Rodriguez and Philippe Duhamel at a Ruckus Training for Trainers, in 2007.