Published October 2, 2019

Prevailing social mobilisation models around the world

How political parties and other organisations strive to engage, activate and inspire citizens

The foundations of democracy are creaking at the seams all over the world. The fast-changing world is testing the public’s trust in representative democracy, decision-makers and political parties. Political parties are either at a turning point or have already changed considerably in Europe and the United States.

International phenomena land in Finland typically with some delay. Therefore, it is high time for Finnish political-party operators to consider how to reinvent themselves if they wish to remain operational and up to date when it comes to political engagement, decision-making and politics.

One of the key problems for democracy is that political parties are viewed as being distant from the daily lives of citizens and have moved from being political movements to becoming an integrated part of governmental machinery. In the study represented in this memorandum, the focal objective is to answer the question “How can political decision-making be brought closer to citizens and how can citizens engage in decision-making easier?”

One of the key focus areas in Sitra’s Updating democracy project is bettering the conditions for the engagement of citizens in the development of political parties’ operations.

Sitra presents this international overview to provide benchmark information to support the development of political parties. This overview attempts to ponder the type of practices that political parties can use to reinvent themselves. Deloitte conducted the study.

Sitra chose the organisations presented in this report. The study on the engagement and activation practices of political parties and other organisations was conducted with phone interviews and based on information collected from the websites of the organisations. Some other material has been used for certain organisations, such as news articles or poll results.

Publication details


Prevailing social mobilisation models around the world


How political parties and other organisations strive to engage, activate and inspire citizens


Lauri Byckling, Lia Heasman, Pekka Aavikko, Ella Tolonen

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23 p.




democracy, civic activism, citizens , inclusion, politics, political participation , political parties, decision-makers, decision-making, communications, social media



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