How do we recruit, welcome and keep more new rebels?

Date: 20th January 2021


Covid has been hard on us for so many reasons and many groups have found it harder to recruit and retain new rebels as people turn their attention to immediate problems. However January is traditionally the time when people make plans to take action on the things that matter to them. XR's vision of change involves mass participation; how can we bring people into our movement - and keep them?


Around 70 people attended the assembly. Everything below is feedback from the assembly; we've tried to capture the main ideas in order of the number of times they were mentioned.

Toolkit team note:

We have linked some of the sections which exist in the Toolkit which could inspire you. If you have extra ideas do get in touch with the Toolkit Team via Mattermost. The links are in green.

1. Our own experience

Why did we join?

  • Unsuprisingly we come largely out of fear for the future (key words: kids, planet, tipping points) Emergency on Planet earth book
  • We see XR as our best chance of doing something about this (key words: commitment, passion, energy, creativity, best solution) Arts section
  • We believe we will meet like-minded people in XR
  • ...and we think we might have some fun too! (key words: creativity, mischief)

Why did we stay?

  • We felt appreciated (key words: welcome, support, positive feedback) Healthy Teams
  • We felt part of a community (key words: like-minded, first action)
  • We thought XR had great qualities (key words: efficiency, organisation, training, structure)
  • Our worry about the future was lessened ? (reading between the lines - deduced from only one person mentioning at this stage when several did as a reason for joining).

When did we feel part of XR?

  • When we got to know people (key words: family, like-minded, welcome, support)
  • When we worked together on something (key words: unity of purpose)
  • When we got to know XR better (key words: open to ideas, creative, proactive)
  • When we gained a role in our team

2. Ideas on growing the movement

How do we bring more people into XR?

How do we help new rebels feel part of XR?

  • Joint activities! This was mentioned more than 4x as much as the next most popular option. There were a wealth of creative ideas, including:

    • digital messages group Remote Rebels
    • tree planting planting wildflowers
    • samba bands
    • cultural events online
    • HfE talk online: HfE Toolkit page
    • meditation mobs
    • art/tree trails
    • empathy circles
    • door knocking Doorknocking
    • bringing projects to fruition
    • story telling sessions e.g. arrest stories
    • direct public engagement - postcards through doors
    • surveys
    • reading group (could be XR reading)
    • Discobediance
    • door knob hangers
    • actions!
    • agenda-free meetings (key words: space to listen to one another; talk about things other than XR)
    • reflecting on what brings us together (key words: locally, globally)
  • Meeting rebels' personal needs

    • disability access needs - meeting breaks (15mins after every 45mins of meeting)
    • disability access needs - speaker visible
    • clear advance schedule
    • gender pronouns (labels in attendee name)
    • online meetings (supplement in person meetings - different people can join)
  • Learning (about XR) (key words: online learning, Rebellion Academy, interactive training, tech tool training)

  • De-Jargon! (key words: use plain English) Explaining XR

  • Onboard several new rebels at once (key words: hard to be new)

  • Strengthen Integration roles

How do we help 'sleeping' rebels re-engage?

  • Rebel ringing (friendly chat, maybe follow-up email) Rebel Ringing

  • Roles

    • small starter tasks
    • offering several different options of how to join in
    • offering different roles from previously
    • roles that feel relevant/play to strengths
  • Buddies (offering to team people up)

  • Being non-political (key words: leavers due Burning Pink?, 4th demand not helpful right now)

  • Embodying non-violence always (key words: twitter rows - violent language) NVDA

  • Team support (key words: team a bit lost, sharing of knowledge/ideas/resources, help from XR UK-wide teams)

  • Reaching out via Facebook

  • Empathy and welcome (with all of above - remembering not to be cliquey)