Outreach strategy (public read only)


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To support the overarching with appropriate outreach (ground work or direct engagement).


  • To network with other like-minded groups
  • To develop support groups
  • To do ground-work


1.      Before political launch (pre-Convention)

2.      After political launch (post-Convention)

Phase 1: Before political launch

1.      Network with other like-minded groups:

1.1. Strategy: Seek to work with like-minded political parties


FTI members to:

o        join like-minded political parties or participate in their events.

o        interact with them;

o        discuss FTI policies with them;

1.2. Strategy: Participate in various Government forums/bodies/ activites that relate to government policy


FTI members could do the following things as volunteers:

  • work on government consultative groups;
  • participate in local government where possible (e.g. through Janaagraha)
  • organize citizen awareness groups (or involve with existing groups) that offer assistance to local Govt. workers like constables, sweepers, hospital personnel etc.
  • Participate in efforts of NGOs who are into Govt. related activities: RTI, NREGA, EPA
  • be a citizen journalist etc.
  • Pay Rs.1 to get a copy of the electoral accounts (one rupee Freedom Movement) and write articles in local newspapers about how the accounts don’t add up.
  • Have an “RTI representative/group” within FTI – and FTI members can lodge RTI requests where appropriate, and publish the results on their blog/FTI blog.

1.3. Strategy: Participate in/ network with various corporate forums

FTI members can volunteer to work on forums organized by various corporations.

1.4.   Strategy: Participate in/ network with NGOs.

Have active affiliations with think-tanks or NGOs, and volunteer in such activities where possible.

e.g. CCS/ Liberty Institute

2.      Develop Groups of supporters of FTI

2.1.   Strategy: Initiate blogs and online activities to involve supporters on the ground

FTI members could establish blogs, write online articles and publish newsletters to communicate the FTI vision. This includes presence on Facebook, Orkut, etc. It is important to use these for physical contact (ie on the ground) not merely internet contact.

2.2. Strategy: Lead and maintain local volunteer or support groups

Set up Freedom Families or other groups that can become of the core of support for FTI members at the local level. These volunteers and supporters should also subscribe to FTI communication directly (e.g. FTI magazine)

2.3. Strategy: Join Adharshila effort of IPI

Develop and build the Adharshila concept with grassroots presence. (Shantanu is developing further with assistance from Umesh Tiwari)

2.4. Strategy: Membership drive

Hold membership drive (Rs. 10 each, say) for Supporters of Freedom Team (or Partners of FTI etc – term to be finalized) both to raise funds and engage everyone in the effort.

2.5.   Strategy: Conduct informal talks about FTI

Members to talk about FTI with their acquaintances in a formal or informal manner. Use the FTI brochure or develop a presentation package. The pack can take inputs from FTI policy and other drafts.

Already being actioned: Shantanu’s visit

2.6.   Strategy: Develop FTI policies transparently

Openness in policy formulation through blogs would ensure people’s views are considered – already being actioned.

3.    Ground work

3.1. Strategy: Launch small national campaigns

A small national campaigns can be coordinated after at least 500 members have assembled. (Full-fledged national movement should not start till 1500 members have assembled, since such campaigns will build expectations that cannot be delivered without forming government).

3.1.1. National campaign 1: Freedom March

‘State Freedom Torches’ to be lit by a citizen who has been a target of freedom violation. This can be a poor peasant in an interior village, a victim of state or non-state violence, or an ordinary citizen in each State. These torches to be then carried in a procession through a Freedom March to pass through each constituency and end up in each state headquarter. In the larger states this march could take up to two months to complete. These marches should end everywhere on 26 January each year. Symbolism: that the Team will aim to ensure that every citizen is able to achieve freedom. The annual march to stop ONLY when lack of opportunity (e.g. poverty) is eliminated and conditions of freedom achieved.

3.1.2. National campaign 2: Satyagraha against corruption

A national day of quiet satyagraha (fasting) against corruption and other political evils such as communalism by FTI members in each state headquarter.

Phase 2: Post political launch

In addition to the above (which will need to conitinue), the following can be started.

4.    Ground work for political mobilisation

4.1. Strategy: Door to door visits

FTI members will need to go door-to-door for up to 3 years, to their constituents, explaining what they have to offer. This will include distributing brochures/flyers in each village/ mohalla in each constituency in the local languages.

4.2. Strategy: Launch major national campaigns

Small national campaigns can be coordinated after at least 500 members have assembled. Full-fledged national movement should not start till 1500 members have assembled, since such campaigns will build expectations that cannot be delivered without forming government.

4.2.1. National campaign 1: Freedom March

‘State Freedom Torches’ to be continue every year.

4.2.2. National campaign 2: Satyagraha against corruption

A national day of satyagraha (fasting) against corruption and other political evils such as communalism to cointinue each year.

4.2.3. National campaign 3: Head Hanging Ceremony

A national Head Hanging Ceremony at 9 am sharp on each independence day for a minute, to remind ourselves that we are one of the most corrupt countries in the world. These activity to be stopped after India becomes the least corrupt country in the world.

Report carding (relevant elsewhere)

Report carding: {this relates to internal processes – needs to be separately discussed)

  • We will have to do outreach both within FTI and outside FTI; report carding will be an indicator to people as to what they can do within FTI. We could plan at least a monthly update from each member: “What have I done for FTI this month?” This could include any of the above activities, and the report can be as simple as “I have written XYZ entries related to FTI in my blog”, or “I have participated in our skype conference/contributed to document D”, “reached out to X people of which Y joined”.

6 thoughts on “Outreach strategy (public read only)

  1. Note change in language (re: objective): ground work or direct engagement. To be added to new word drafts.
    Sanjeev, 2 May 09

  2. Dear Anupam

    The matter you have raised is best discussed under this blog post (outreach strategy), since this is not the first time it has come up and it is not the last time it will come up. Over the last year we have created a broad ‘plan’ for this, based on extensive discussion. This plan which, as you are aware, is now publicly available at: http://fti.sabhlokcity.com/content/214

    Let me summarise my views first (extracting from my internal FTI email).

    “Nothing stops any FTI member to go ahead with a range of ground based activities and still remain on FTI to work out a common policy framework. When did I ever (or anyone ever) stop free citizens from doing whatever they want?

    “It is just that it is simply not the way most people on FTI will function. In particular, I will NOT waste my time for a minute on the ground in India, and thus waste my precious life, if I’m not assured that at least 1499 others are working at the same time all over India through a well-resourced campaign, both with a common policy framework and marketing strategy. I dont’ want to get 1-2 per cent votes. I want to win, and I want to form government with 299 others. I do NOT believe in ground work (at this stage), but I do not stop anyone else from doing whatever they want (I can’t, can I?) and wasting their time and money.”

    Your views:

    “By ground work I meant NGO kind of work, I didn’t mean political campaign. As an example I had mentioned that BM has adopted a village in Bihar.

    “I am supporting couple of NGOs today with monthly contribution, NGOs like shankara foundation and a microfinance NGO. But that is not bringing any visibilty to FTI. But if we can form trust and support and existing NGO or somehow form our own, this will give visibilty to FTI and make things easier when we start the 3 year campaign.”

    First, just for the record, it is not true that “LokSatta has done that for 6-7 years.” Lok Satta was launched as a political party on 2 October 2006. Before that it was a pure NGO. Indeed, by taking the same name as the NGO, it created a lot of confusion in many people’s minds, as well. And had Lok Satta moved into politics in 2004 when I called JP for a week-long seminar on this issue (details at: http://www.indiapolicy.org/workshop/strategy.doc) its political existence might have been about 5 years by now. But Lok Satta (as a political group) is precisely 2 1/2 years old. And it has not done any significant homework nor involved all liberals in India. Its preparation time was too small, its policy development process rather inward looking, and so on. Therefore it is unlikely to form government this time around. Other groups we know of are even less prepared; not worth talking about. None of them has done the kind of ground work I have in mind.

    Second, I have mentioned many times that ‘adopting’ (like we may adopt a pet?) a village or two (out of 600,000 villages in India) is a totally unviable idea in terms of our objectives. People are welcome to do that if they wish, but that won’t get them a single Parliamentary seat. Be sure of that.

    As indicated on this page (http://fti.sabhlokcity.com/content/214) I have in mind a three year clear-cut POLITICAL (not charitable) campaign conducted by at least 1500 leaders once they have assembled. That is the minimum requirement to win a significant number of seats. That may still not work, but other ideas (like rushing to contest elections like Lok Satta, adopting one or two ‘pet’ villages, etc.) will only demotivate all of us and waste a lot of our very limited money.

    I’m theerfore very negative about un-coordinated and well-organised efforts. I do not hide my negativism about such activities which are guaranteed to fail. However, if good ideas emerge, they should form part of our outreach strategy. I haven’t shut my mind to good ideas. So please propose your specific solutions, keeping in mind existing work on the outreach strategy, and we could run with these solutions as a team. And at the end of the day, nothing stops FTI members from doing a number of things and seeing which works best. Just because I may not participate in something doesn’t mean others on FTI can’t do it. We are a team, not a one man show.


  3. Some very good points Sanjeev. I will get back with more specific
    comments on outreach strategy. We will need visibilty for sure, but
    you are saying that no point working on that till we assemble 1500

    Sanjeev’s response –
    Yes, in brute summary, “no point working on that till (as FTI) we assemble 1500 members”, noting that individual experiments are fine. I’m not planning for either failure or wasting time and money. Our effort should be focused on getting more members, not in running NGOs or political campaigning. And no, we will never become an NGO ‘on the ground’. We don’t plan to run schools, etc. Although, Adharashila (a concept similar in some ways to RSS with radically different objectives) could be operated by FTI (see: http://www.indiapolicy.org/adharshila/adharshila.html)

    We have outlined a few things we could do once we reach that stage. We can discuss those things in more detail if you wish and work out things that FTI would do once it has assembled.


  4. That’s right, Anupam

    Happy to do that (We have outlined a few things we could do once we reach that stage. We can discuss those things in more detail if you wish and work out things that FTI would do once it has assembled.)

    One of these things which Shantanu was inquiring about from Umesh Tewari was the idea of Adharshila, who first conceptualised the name and idea many years ago but never got around to doing anything about it (yet). I had also suggested somewhere that Adharshila could encourage its members to join the Territorial Army. Now, setting up Adharshila on the ground can start even before these 1500 people assemble. That is one thing that can be discussed and finalised. The other is a detailed plan for the launch of political awareness at a suitable point in time. Maybe I’m contradicting myself when I say we can do these things but must still wait for 1500 to launch, but essentially what I’m saying is we need coordinated action, and robust (strong) action which makes an impact. A few random actions here or there are going to be unsuitable.

    So we can start a discussion on Adharshila or the other issues, if you wish.


  5. Anupam suggestions are good. I would say we should encourage these experiments. They may not be part of FTI core strategy but all interested people can join. All these experiments will give us valuable insights of the ground realities.


  6. I’d like us to think about Adharshila a bit more. It is a really powerful idea, with a grassroots activity based element, like RSS (but with a totally different – liberal – ideology). I wonder if Shantanu has some thoughts on this. Ideally, I’d like us to start a branch of Adharshila this year on the ground (say in Indore). But we need to work out its details clealry first.


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