The Movement Window: Why Now Until July is Crucial for Building Power for Change
For those of us working on organizing or campaigning, understanding the rhythm of our efforts is crucial. One part of that understanding is the concept of the "Movement Window," a period ripe with potential for building momentum, influencing narratives, and establishing foundations for long-term power-building and change.
Generally, a "Movement Window" refers to a specific time frame when the socio-political environment is most receptive to advocacy efforts, enabling movements to gain traction, build relationships, and make policy changes or social reforms. This is different from a “Movement Moment,” which is also very important but generally shorter in duration and usually focused on a particular issue, such as the uprising after the murder of George Floyd.
Anyone working for change can tap into a Movement Window despite the varying potentials of different actors.
We are in one such window now, stretching from the present until July, a phase pivotal for any organization or group striving to make a lasting impact.
Why are we in a Movement Window right now?
Many legislatures are back in session for what may be the last best chance for substantive policy change until 2025.
The first six months of the year are typically the strongest opportunity for policy change, given that it is the longest time frame for legislative change available before summer recesses and the various holidays that appear in the year's final months. This is even more pronounced this year in places with an impending election.
In the coming months, politicians will be more open to civic input as they try to bolster their record before the summer recess and upcoming elections - they are likely more vulnerable now than they will be until they will be again for several years.
Post-July, public discourse, politicians, and many in our community will understandably shift their focus away from legislative change and towards electoral mobilization or to rest and connect with loved ones.
For those doing electoral work, engaging your supporters in multi-tactic advocacy campaigns can improve your supporters' propensity to vote by 50%. This is particularly true now, as the relationships you build with your supporters in the coming months will still be fresh when you reach out to get them out to vote or to volunteer for campaigns. This works the other way, too - politicians know those engaging in multi-tactic advocacy campaigns will likely vote on the issues.
This isn’t to say that organizing for policy change stops on July 1st. It’s worth remembering that this time window with a strong theory of change will close by the summer. Engaging supporters with fresh advocacy actions leading into elections and utilizing tactics like having supporters pledge their support for your desired candidate in local newspapers remain essential for any electoral campaign.
In summary, the Movement Window is more than a time frame; it's a catalyst for change. By harnessing this period, we can shift policy that may be unmovable later and lay a robust foundation for our efforts in the fall and beyond.
Let's utilize this Movement Window to its fullest, building real relationships, driving meaningful narratives, and gearing up for a future that aligns with our vision for transformative change.
What strategies will you employ to maximize this opportunity? If you’re brainstorming about influencing legislators during this period best, check out this free resource.
If you’re rallying your community as an individual or grassroots organization, please use our free-forever advocacy platform to capitalize on this Movement Window effectively.
If you're part of an established organization, chat with our Campaign Advisor to explore how we can help you make the most of this key time.