How to: Make your group work


  1. BE AWARE OF PEOPLE’S FEELINGS. Pay attention to how individuals are doing — they may not admit to being uncomfortable or angry — and respond appropriately.
  2. BE AWARE OF THE GROUP’S FEELINGS. Work out the group’s dynamics and facilitate appropriately. Who’s present? How do they act around one another? Are they eager, restless, enthusiastic, or silly?
  3. LISTEN. Hear what and how things are being said by group members. The best facilitators speak less than others and will often repeat, sum up, or respond directly to what other people have said.
  4. BE TACTFUL. You might need to act on or speak about something uncomfortable, and the ability to do so carefully and kindly is critical. Human rights issues can evoke strong feelings. Be respectful.
  5. COLLABORATE. It may feel inefficient at first, but collaborative groups are much more empowered and productive. Make an effort to share the facilitation with other group members!
  6. HAVE A SENSE OF TIMING. Know when to end a discussion, let a conversation continue, or change the topic. Don’t be afraid of silence — let people think before they respond.
  7. HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR. You should be able to appreciate life’s ironies, laugh at yourself, andshare the laughter of others to make the experience better for everyone.
  8. BE FLEXIBLE. Planning is important, but so is being willing to change your plans. Sometimes meetings can go in an unforeseen direction and you might need to reconsider what you have time to talk about.
  9. BE RESOURCEFUL AND CREATIVE. Every group is different. You need to set goals, but you may need to adapt to changing skills and opportunities. Use the talents of those around you! If you have someone who is great with social media in your group, you won’t need to manage your Facebook page alone.
  10. FOLLOW THROUGH. Don’t forget about the goals, decisions, or action plans you make at each meeting. Ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Provide guidance and realize that delegating work is key to working on a team.

Empowering Others


  1. CONNECT WITH YOUTH & STUDENTS. Introduce your group to schools in the area by attending parents & family meetings, getting in touch with teachers, and visiting classrooms.
  2. FIND OTHER GROUPS & CLUBS. Invite other community and school groups in the area to join your activities or events. Send your group members out to attend local community/school group meetings.
  3. BRING YOUR FRIENDS. Host a group social event, to which each member brings along at least one guest. Tell your pals all about your Amnesty group!
  4. HOST EVENTS. Host a variety of events to target different demographics. Hold film nights, demonstrations, booths, guest speakers, and more.
  5. USE AMNESTY. Put your groups details on the Amnesty International Canada website. If you’re a group from a post-secondary school, send us an email and we’ll put you on the map:
  6. ADVERTISE. Look for opportunities to advertise your group online, and place notices on community boards. Include your name, one sentence to describe your activities, and where/when you meet.
  7. USE THE MEDIA. Place a free advertisement in the community news section of your local or school newspaper and include information about any events your group is organizing or participating in.
  8. SOCIAL MEDIA. Make sure that your group has an active social media presence! This is the best way to share information and attract members. See the “How To: Social Media” guide for more.
  9. CATEGORIZE. Compile a list of groups near you and how they could be involved in or support your work. Tradespeople, politicians, media, unions, religious organizations, local businesses, schools, etc.
  10. HAVE A CONTACT LIST. Encourage people to join your contact list when they attend a group event, visit a booth, or sign a petition. Follow up with an email inviting them to your next meeting.


  1. WELCOME PEOPLE. When someone new arrives to your group, make sure to welcome and talk to them — don’t ignore them.
  2. BE A MENTOR. Allocate a buddy or mentor for each new member to help explain things and make sure they are comfortable.
  3. BRING A FRIEND. Word of mouth and encouragement are the most effective ways of involving people. Bring a family member, neighbour, friend, etc.
  4. GIVE MEMBERS SOMETHING TO DO. Divide up tasks amongst members. If you’re working on something, try to include someone who has not done that particular task before.
  5. CREATE SMALL WORKING GROUPS. These groups can work on particular jobs and report back to the main meeting. New members should be invited to join the sub-group they’re most interested in.
  6. REASSESS YOUR PRIORITIES. Regularly reflect on the practicalities of your meetings. Think about goals, focus areas, logistics (the location and time of meetings). What do your group members think?
  7. GIVE BACKGROUND INFORMATION. Take the time to provide overviews of issues, especially if new members are present. A brief review from time to time can refresh people’s memory.
  8. BRING IN GUEST SPEAKERS. Ask others to come to meetings or events! They may be Amnesty International activists, human rights experts, or local group members with human rights concerns.
  9. ACKNOWLEDGE GOOD WORK. Thank people when they do something well or show initiative. People like to feel appreciated.
  10. REMEMBER GOOD NEWS STORIES. Acknowledge and celebrate your successes. Create posters or newsletters to show existing, new, and potential members the impact you have made on human