Australian Communities Foundation - Home

Sorry. You're using a browser that we
don't support.

To experience this site, please use Firefox, Chrome or Edge.

Commons Library Ltd

Building capacity for advocacy and campaigning – part 2

Building capacity for advocacy and campaigning – part 2

The Commons Social Change Library provides crucial educational resources to increase the impact of social change movements but our small part-time team cannot...





01/07/2020 > 01/03/2021


  • Strengthening Democracy - Fostering civic participation
  • Strengthening Democracy - Philanthropy and volunteering


  • General population
  • Unemployed people


The Commons Social Change Library provides crucial educational resources to increase the impact of social change movements but our small part-time team cannot reach everybody. This project will extend the reach of the library and get educational resources into the hands of those who need them.

The first phase of this project (supported by the Alf & Meg Steel Fund via ACF) has significantly improved the Commons reach and profile through increasing social media followers and newsletter subscribers, Google advertising and search engine optimisation. We now seek to increase our reach and connection through a volunteer program.

A staff volunteer coordinator will develop a program to recruit and train volunteers from around Australia with connections to a range of sectors and social movements. Training will address key skills gaps in civil society: information management, archiving, research, writing, editing, and presentation of educational resources. This distributed volunteer team will be able to monitor needs to feed back to the Commons Librarians, shaping the future development of the library collections. Volunteers will connect people with needed resources via their social media engagement, involvement in their own groups and campaigns, and participation in events.

The Commons is most effective when we provide the right resource to the right audience at the right time, providing inspiration, empowerment and education. This has been especially demonstrated during both the bushfire crisis and Covid-19 pandemic. The Commons volunteer program will increase our proven ability to source and collate content tailored to particular moments and needs.


This project will result in increased knowledge, skills and effectiveness within Australian movements for social and ecological justice. More changemakers will have access to educational resources to support their important work.

This project will benefit the participating volunteers, current and new visitors to the Commons Library, and broader society through supporting an increasingly informed and active citizenry. Volunteers will gain skills and experience of value to their future employment and community participation. As a result of volunteers’ activities more people will connect with the many educational materials in the Commons Library. People accessing those materials will become more effective in their work, with many positive ripples in relation to social change.

Project outcomes:
* Development of a volunteer program including protocols, job descriptions, promotion and recruitment processes
* Recruitment of five volunteers
* Volunteer induction and training
* Completion of an initial 6 months of the volunteer program
* Evaluation of the pilot volunteer program to inform future roll-out
* Increased engagement with Commons resources
* Increased feedback to Commons librarians for future collection development
* Increase in tailored resources delivered to organisations
* Increase in visits to the library website
* Increase in social media follows

Profile of Commons Library Ltd

Commons Library Ltd

The Commons Social Change Library is an online collection of educational resources on campaign strategy, community organising, digital campaigning, communications and media, working effectively in groups, fundraising, diversity and inclusion and much more.

We collect, curate and distribute the key lessons and resources of progressive movements around Australia and across the globe. Our collection includes videos, podcasts, manuals, case studies, articles, practical how-to guides, and training materials.

Our vision is an Australia that has well informed, skilled, collaborative and effective movements for social and ecological justice.

People who are working towards social or ecological justice goals tend to be extremely busy with limited financial resources. It is hard for people to find the time to track down information or develop skills while they are responding to big challenges. The Commons supports their important work by making information accessible.

The Commons Library enables people to:
* Access best practice examples and understand new trends in social change work.
* Pick up concepts, skills and tools to apply to their own projects.
* Avoid reinventing the wheel, enabling learning from past projects and countering knowledge loss through turnover.
* Share across movements and sectors, ensuring knowledge isn’t siloed, innovation can spread, and collaboration is supported.

The Commons Library employs a small team of three part-time librarians focused on building the collection and connecting people with the educational resources they need.

Investing in the Commons has an impact which is both deep and broad. The library equips and resources people working on many different projects and movements, building their skills and effectiveness in all areas of positive social change.

Please note that the Commons is available to partner with organisations to support their information and training needs via curated resources. If you have a supportive relationship with a particular organisation which would benefit from working with the Commons please contact us to discuss options.


Funding sourceAmount
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$20,000
Expense itemAmount
Coordinator of Volunteers - 1 day per week for 8 months$12,000
Library Director - involvement in training and supervision of volunteers$6,000
Volunteer Program Marketing and Promotion$1,000
Project Administration and Oncosts$1,000

Support Building capacity for advocacy and campaigning – part 2

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.