What helps civic initiatives to be successful on wartime: Centre of United Actionsʼ research results

28 March 2023
What helps civic initiatives to be successful on wartime: Centre of United Actionsʼ research results
Home > Publications > What helps civic initiatives to be successful on wartime: Centre of United Actionsʼ research results

Analysts of the Centre of United Actions conducted a detailed in-depth research on grassroots initiatives. To do this, they thoroughly examined the work of 131 civic initiatives launched after February 24, 2022 in 14 oblasts of Ukraine.

Based on this information, the analysts outlined the factors that help more successful projects to effectively solve the problems they are focused on and to continue their work even after a year of the full-scale war.

Initiatives led by volunteers have limited human, financial, and material resources. More effective initiatives are those which do not try to solve problems on their own but seek help from other groups: volunteers, businesses, local authorities, and NGOs.

In addition to active cooperation between groups, civic initiatives are in better positions if they maintain stable core groups and connections. Initiatives created by an already existing organization or team can decide what to do and how to divide responsibilities among participants faster.

Also, civic initiatives are more successful if they engage their target audience as volunteers. One such example is the involvement of internally displaced persons. For 24 initiatives that were analyzed, people who were forced to leave their homes worked as volunteers at humanitarian centers, organized events for local residents, or helped their communities still under occupation.

The research demonstrated that the grassroots movement in territorial communities is stable and sustainable. This is confirmed by the fact that 81% of the analyzed civic initiatives continue to work after a year since the beginning of the full-scale war. The most durable are information projects and volunteer centers: 100% and 92% of those respectively continue to work to this day.

At the same time, civic initiatives are flexible and quickly adapt to new challenges. During a year of the full-scale war, half of the analyzed initiatives changed their focus. Some teams stopped working on everything at once and focused on one or two areas, and some decided to help only with the most pressing issues. Every fifth volunteer team has registered officially, that is, unofficial volunteer centers have turned into new charitable foundations and civic organizations.

The research is based on 193 interviews with representatives of civic organizations, local businesses, local governments, clergy, as well as citizens who are not a part of these groups. All these people were founders or participants of civic initiatives or got help from them.

In the research you will find detailed answers to the following questions:

  • Which areas of volunteering were the most popular among civic initiatives?
  • With whom did volunteers, local authorities, and businesses cooperate most actively?
  • Why did some grassroots initiatives disband?
  • Who most often initiated volunteer projects?
  • Which kinds of initiatives turned out to be the most effective?