Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Movement Building

At Building Movement Project, we work to strengthen the role of US nonprofits as they build a movement toward progressive social change.  While our focus is working with other organizations to help them integrate social change activities into their work, we have compiled a group of resources that may be useful for those coming to us who are looking for information about movement building in general.  Most of what you’ll find here is historical in nature, and is meant to provide you with a background in social movement history, as well as connect you to other people and organizations whose primary focus is on movement building. We concentrate specifically on the historical role nonprofit organizations have had, and should maintain, in building movements for progressive social change.

This toolkit is a work in progress. If you have any questions, comments, or additional resources that you think might be helpful, please contact resources@buildingmovement.org

Nonprofits and Social Change

Resources and tools for organizations who want to work toward building a movement for change.


Theory and Definition of Terms

An Outline of what we think are the 5 basic stages of movement building, and additional resources on movement building theory and definitions of terms that are frequently used in the study of social change.


History of Social Movements in the United States

Resources on some of the most important social movements in the US from the past 100 years, as well as some current movements that are working to change the social, political, and/or economic landscape.


Current Movement Building Organizations

Some groups we’d like to highlight that are currently building movements in their communities.  Head to their websites for more information about what they’re doing and how they’re achieving change.


Other Resources

Important texts on social movements and movement building theory that will be useful for more in-depth study.


  • Key Readings

    A few pieces that have been particularly helpful in our own study of movement building

  • For Further Study

    Longer texts to provide a more in depth study of social movements and movement building

  • Additional Resources

    Other things that might be useful for helping you integrate movement building practices into your work