ORS Impact News

The ORS Impact team has earned a global reputation for leadership, insight and innovation. We work collaboratively with our clients, bringing our distinctive expertise in planning, measurement and evaluation to their most vexing challenges.

Not Always Movements: Suite of Tools

In recent years, we’ve noticed increasing use of the term ‘movement’ to describe a wide variety of social change efforts—often ones that don’t actually have the characteristics or aims of a movement.

We have developed a suite of materials to help funders, evaluators, and other social change agents be crisper and more accurate in how they talk about and understand different approaches to advancing large-scale social change, and to avoid the harms that can arise from misuse of movement terminology.

The resources include:

  • Not Always Movements: Multiple Approaches to Advance Large-Scale Social Change: In this brief, we compare and contrast the underlying assumptions, theories of change, and outcomes of three distinct social change approaches that are often conflated with movements: field building, network development, and promoting the uptake of practices by large numbers of organizations.

  • Separate companion pieces, where we go deeper into each of the three approaches, outlining some key theories and frameworks, outcomes to look for, considerations regarding equity, and guidance on measurement and learning along the way. With each module, we have created a worksheet is meant to help program staff answer questions to help think through strategy and measurement and equity considerations when exploring a particular approach:
  1. Building a Field module and worksheet
  2. Developing and Supporting a Network module and worksheet
  3. Promoting Uptake of Practices module and worksheet

Additionally, we convened a cross-sector think tank to help think more about how to enhance measurement of fields.  You can see our recommendations for current and future practice here.

We hope these tools can help the sector do more good and less harm as we all try to make large-scale, meaningful change that advances equity and justice.

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