Organisational Development

Social change, community action and campaigning efforts rely on people. To be at their most effective people need the right support, and organisations working for change need effective processes and ways of working. We work with community, activist and citizen groups and networks, as well as the NGOs that support such networks, to build capacity and strengthen connections.

Supporting Networks: Some will get their support from a central source such as the office of a national campaigning organisation. Others will support each other, creating horizontal networks. We work with both and more besides. Whether you’re an international NGO or a single community group, Rhizome can help you grow in numbers, strength, confidence, skill or all of the above by:

  • Undertaking a participation audit to assess how you currently involve your membership or activists;
  • Creating dialogue with and within your volunteer networks;
  • Delivering training in all aspects of being a sustainable network or group – attracting volunteers, group dynamics, meeting facilitation and more;
  • Evaluating existing support systems;
  • Supporting you to set up and maintain effective support systems for volunteer networks;
  • Training the Trainers;
  • Delivering training in campaigning skills to support your work – from using the media to planning an effective strategy, from non‑violent direct action to public speaking.

Developing organisations: our members have been involved in voluntary groups, statutory bodies, NGOs, charities, community organisations, campaign groups, trade unions, co-ops, housing projects and other mutual aid groups. So we can provide help, advice and training on:

  • Organisational culture & organisational change;
  • Partnership working;
  • Governance;
  • Structures and processes;
  • Core policies (e.g. dispute process, risk, consensus etc);
  • Meeting skills;
  • Group dynamics and team-building.

The case studies below give a flavour of the kind of work we do:


38 Degrees

38 Degrees approached Rhizome to build on their success as an online campaigning organisation. Rhizome used its wide range of experience to generate a series of proposals and helped 38 Degrees to work out which best fitted with their values. The result was staff training and a package of training and support to develop healthy local campaigning groups. Rhizome facilitated the development of this innovative model to involve and train campaigners already active on-line. The training covered their campaign tools and strategies on the ground. Rhizome has delivered a series of community-building regional events across the UK. This enabled novice and experienced campaigners to connect and has created a whole new relationship between 38 Degrees and its members.

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Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation wanted to recognise the key role of campaigners in furthering the Foundation’s aims. Rhizome facilitated five regional events, to achieve a consensus decision on this. The outcome was adopted by the Foundation, due to recognition of the solidity of the process by which it had been arrived at.

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Rhizome designed and delivered staff away-days for national conservation charity Plantlife, as a means of supporting them to demonstrate the quality of their work. We worked with them in advance to ensure the two days of creative facilitation and dynamic visioning successfully laid the foundations to secure major core funding.

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