Strategic Activism The Rainforest Action Network

By David Baron, Erin Yurday
2004 | Case No. P44
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) worked “to protect the Earth’s rainforests and support the rights of their inhabitants through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action.” RAN accomplished its mission by organizing campaigns to redirect corporations away from the destruction and exploitation of non-sustainable forest resources. RAN worked with other non-governmental organization (NGOs), student groups, and indigenous forest communities. Founded in 1985, RAN had 10,000 members and an annual budget of $2.0 million in 2003. Over time, the scope of RAN’s campaigns had broadened. RAN sought to stop the logging of old growth forests, protect fragile ecosystems, and reduce the threat to forests and the environment due to climate change. RAN’s three campaigns in 2004—the Old Growth Campaign, the Global Finance Campaign, and Jumpstart Ford—focused on these objectives. In April 2003, RAN’s board of directors appointed as executive director Michael Brune, the former campaigns director for the organization. Brune and the board of directors began a review of RAN’s strategy and mission in light of the expanded scope of RAN’s campaigns. RAN had limited resources and was stretched to conduct three campaigns. If RAN were to expand its mission, for example, to include natural systems, such as clean air, clean water, and the climate, more broadly, what changes to RAN’s strategy, structure, and resource base would be required?
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