We see training as one piece in a larger process of developing strategic leadership, organizations, and campaigns.

Our approach is to begin with an assessment of the groups with which we partner, and to tailor each training to their particular goals. While our training work is integrated into our partnerships and initiatives, we also occasionally provide larger public trainings to groups and individuals. Our workshops combine political analysis with practical on-the-ground organizing and campaigning skills.

The five workshops below represent the core of Beyond the Choir’s training curriculum. For more information about our trainings, contact us.


Solidarity & Social Change

In this workshop we explore how group solidarity is a central force in politics and social change efforts. With an emphasis on practical application, we draw on empirical social science research to explore the contexts and mechanisms that help explain why individuals join social movements, how political alignment happens, and how political messages resonate with with broad (and particular) audiences.


How We Win: Groups, Movements, and Political Alignment

In this workshop we examine different levels of grassroots organizing and mobilizing, from local organizations to national-scale social movements. We also look at longer-term broad political alignments in US history (from the New Deal Coalition to the Reagan Coalition), and how grassroots organizations and movements have navigated in relation to a larger balance of forces. We give central attention to the dynamic interplay of class, race, and gender; exploring not only how privileges and oppressions have operated unevenly along these lines, but also how these categories have been used both to unify and to divide throughout US history.


Planning to Grow, Planning to Win

In this workshop, we examine the campaign as a key framework for structuring social change work. How can social change groups tell if their efforts are making a difference? How can they set ambitious yet achievable goals? If a group is currently too small to achieve its goals, how can it design a growth trajectory? We dig into these and other questions, elaborating on the campaign model, while examining specific techniques.


Political Narrative

In this workshop we explore how grassroots groups and social movements can effectively ‘tell stories’ that mobilize people, give coherence to their campaigns, pressure the powerful, and help make structural change possible. We break down elements of effective political narratives — with a central emphasis on how the ‘we’ is framed — and we introduce practical tools that can help changemakers to engage with these elements more intentionally and more strategically.


The Life of the Group

In this workshop we introduce conceptual tools for navigating the complex internal dynamics of social change groups. Individuals engage in collective action in order to win or defend things that are important to them. However, collective action is also fueled in part by a deep need for community. And the life of the group can be its own powerful reward, providing a sense of both meaning and belonging to participants. These dynamics must be carefully navigated if groups are to avoid insularity and other common traps. This workshop digs into these challenging issues, giving special attention to the roles and responsibilities of leaders in helping groups and movements to function both as supportive spaces that ‘feed’ participants and as effective vehicles for political intervention.