Global Site Leader Program FAQ

Want to start a Hollaback! in your community? That’s great – join up here!

If you want to get involved but don’t want to start a site, you’ve got a number of options. You can find a Hollaback! nearby to volunteer and connect with. Or, if you want to take one or many small actions, you can sign our pledge, share your story, or attend an event. If you want to take it a step further, use our Holla How-To guides to plan a local event or action.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hollaback!’s GLOBAL SITE LEADER PROGRAM

Hollaback! Kathmandu
Hollaback! Kathmandu

Below are some questions we frequently receive about site leader training. Take some time to look them over and decide if site leader training is right for you and your team.

What is your global site leader program?

Through our community organizer training program, local leaders can apply to launch a Hollaback! site in their communities. We have trained over 550 local leaders around the world and are currently operating in over 20 cities and 15 countries.

Through the six-month program, leaders work with Hollaback! to set up their own sites on Hollaback!’s platform, where they curate and post stories from their communities so that we can continue to build worldwide solidarity in people’s experience with harassment in public spaces. When they’re not posting stories, site leaders are out in their communities, raising awareness about harassment and pushing the conversation forward. They engage others in their work – talking to the media and holding events and rallies – because we believe that the more people working to end harassment and empower others to join them, the quicker we’ll change the world!

What does the training entail – and how do I sign up?

Running a Hollaback! site is much, much more than just running a website: it’s taking ownership of a movement. During the startup and launch phase, you should expect to commit 3-5 hours a week for six months, either on your own or, better, shared with a team of two or more holla-activists! Here are some specifics on what we will expect of you:

  • Your team must review all readings and recordings each month, including submitting responses through our listserv and completing on-the-ground assignments like community outreach and partnership reports. Each month, we encourage you to attend a community-building webinar (if your timezone allows) to meet the other participants in the class, connect with Hollaback! staff, and discuss assignments and questions.
    Mid-way through the six-month training, you’ll work with our staff to create and localize your own website. From that point on, we’ll work with you to create your annual plan and launch your first campaign. After the launch phase, we’ll expect you to attend advanced training webinars regularly. We schedule webinars around site leaders’ availability and record them to ensure that everyone can watch, regardless of timezone.
  • We will add you to our HollaWORLD listserv and private Facebook group, where you can collaborate, learn about street harassment in other cultures, and create campaigns with other Hollaback site leaders internationally.
  • We will add you to a committee based on your interests, expertise, or desire to learn. Our committees include diversity and inclusion, compassionate communications, technology, ongoing training, and organizing. Committees meet to determine next steps for the organization, create internal policies, and weigh in on shared campaigns. Each committee meets as needed and submits quarterly updates to their regional leaders.
  • You will be responsible for localizing the movement to end street harassment to your community. This means you will find other community groups to collaborate with, translate materials into your local language, hold events in your community to engage people offline, and meet with local legislators. (Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do these things. We’ll teach you.)
  • Once you’ve been a site leader for a year, you’re invited to step up as a regional leader. Regional leaders help coordinate the movement, are the first to weigh in on key decisions for site leaders, and set regional priorities like campaigns, meet-ups, and messaging.
  • You will set goals annually for your site, and check in with our team periodically on your progress towards your goals.

If this sounds like your kind of fun and you share our values, join us by filling out this form. We’ll get in touch with next steps. Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you soon! The revolution has been waiting for you.

Why is it important to have so many leaders in the movement?

Hollaback! Cuenca
Hollaback! Cuenca

Movements require a lot of voices moving in the same direction, but oftentimes not saying the same thing. We believe there is value in these divergent perspectives.

Traditional nonprofit “best practices” would have you believe that a tight and coordinated messaging strategy is the only way to go. From a business perspective, they might be right: a clear coordinated voice can be a powerful thing, especially for the media.

But the one-message strategy leaves too many silenced. The result is multiple nonprofits popping up around the same issue with slightly different messaging strategies, each one trying to ensure that their unique voices are heard. The new nonprofits make the same mistakes as the old nonprofits–allowing room for only one coordinated message. This redundancy doesn’t fix the lack of true voices and representation still isn’t solved.

Why the six-Month Training? How hard can it be to launch a blog?!

Hollaback! isn’t just a blog, it’s a movement!

When we started Hollaback! in New York City in 2005, people just like you wanted to bring Hollaback! to their communities. We thought that was awesome, because although the internet is a great place to organize, change happens on the ground with real people rooted in real communities. We developed a startup packet with everything we knew about running a site, and sent it anyone interested. Between 2005-2009, 20 sites launched… but only three were successful. The problem was there was no connection between the site leaders. No community. No sharing ideas. No training. Nothing. The work was lonely, and many people gave up despite their best intentions.

When Hollaback! got its first executive director in 2010, the team took a long, hard look at the process. They came to the conclusion that Hollaback! is a hyper-local, hyper-personal response to a global issue. Our Hollaback! site leaders didn’t just run blogs, they led the movement to end street harassment in their communities. And to do that, they needed training and community. In 2015 we hired a consultant to review our current site leader program and ensure it is situated for long-term success. From there, we built in committees and regional leaders, along with an extended training timeline.

Do you recruit site leaders?

Hollaback! Las Vegas
Hollaback! Las Vegas

No. To date, all of our site leaders approached us. We were pleased to find that people who traditionally have the least access to traditional power were the most eager to bring Hollaback! home. Our site leaders are:

  • 75% under the age of 30;
  • 50% under the age of 25
  • 41% LGBTQ+; and
  • 33% people of color.

The demand for site leader growth and training has long outweighed our capacity to provide this training and we typically have a waitlist of between 55-100 local leaders waiting to be trained.

Is it free to launch a site?

Yes. We’re committed to keeping it free for you to launch a Hollaback!, but it costs us about US$2,500 every time.

Why so much? Our team has to customize your site, our graphic designer has to make your local logos, our media expert has to train you, and our team has to coordinate the whole operation and provide you with hands-on support. It’s a big operation, and it could easily cost a lot more money. By streamlining the operation through webinars, classes, and deadlines, we save money on the process so we can launch more sites in the long run. To keep it free for individual activists, we rely on the support of individuals and foundations, who make tax-deductible donations to us. Over 85% of our donors donate US$10 or less, so this truly is a grassroots led and supported movement. Be a part of the movement by donating now.

Most of our sites are run by individual teams. However, some of our sites are run as projects of larger nonprofits or other incorporated entities. For sites run by nonprofits and other incorporated entities whose annual Hollaback! project budget exceeds US$1,000, we ask that they donate 10% of their budget back to the organization as a way to pay it forward. This funding comes directly back to our site leader program so that we can continue to launch sites and provide ongoing training and infrastructure. We developed this arrangement after reviewing the organizational structures of groups like Planned Parenthood, NOW, and the YWCA, and it is outlined in our brand license agreement that all local leaders must sign prior to launch.

No. All of the site leaders are volunteers. Hollaback!’s decentralized leadership structure gives people who aren’t paid to do the work the same amount of room to lead as the people who are. To increase accessibility of our site leader program, we do several things:

  1. We ensure that our site leader training and our annual conference HOLLA::Revolution is free for site leaders.
  2. We hold fundraisers to secure travel funding to attend our annual conference.
  3. We’ve hosted an “Innovation Challenge,” where winners receive US$1,000 to launch the project in their community and US$1,500 in travel funding to go to our annual conference and present on their project.
  4. We teach site leaders how to apply for grants, make money doing speaking engagements or writing op-eds, and hold fundraisers in their local community.

We envision a future where the anti-harassment movement has enough funding to sustain the work of local leaders, but that isn’t the climate that we’re currently operating within. The underfunding of social change work – especially work done by women and LGBTQ+ people – is an issue that extends beyond Hollaback!, but we feel its impacts deeply. For example, although we are in over 30 countries globally, Hollaback! has only ever received project funding for its work in the United States. Most of Hollaback!’s work with site leaders (including training, technical assistance, technology maintenance, resource development, etc.) is either unfunded or funded through general operating support and individual donors. If you would like to donate to site leader’s efforts in your community, check out their individual PayPal pages to help out, or reach out to our team and we can connect you with them directly.

Once we launch, how much autonomy do I have?

Hollaback! Cuenca
Hollaback! Cuenca

The people who know best what a community needs are the people from that community. That’s the whole point of Hollaback!’s model: recognizing that you know what your community needs most.

We all bring different skills and perspectives to the table, and that’s what makes this a movement. We are a strongly connected community with a decentralized structure. You don’t need to check in with us before you do media, present workshops, or write blog posts, but we do expect you to share your awesome ideas and adventures with the community so that they can be inspired by your great work.

That said, site leaders must agree and sign onto our values and our anti-discrimination and comments policies – otherwise, starting a Hollaback! site isn’t for you.

Being based in the US, how do you ensure your programming is culturally competent?

Hollaback! operates under a decentralized leadership structure, which means that we believe individuals in local contexts are best suited to provide local solutions.

At Hollaback! headquarters, we create optional resources for our site leader community, including apps, research, and guides. Wherever possible, we ask site leaders for feedback and input into the development of these resources. When we created #HarassmentIs: An Exploration of Identity and Street Harassment, we held a webinar to go over some questions and encourage folks to add to the material or create a new guide with their own cultural context in mind. When we did a global research survey and when we developed the new app and website, we sought site leader feedback before and after development. HollaWORLD committees also play a key role in providing early and necessary feedback for global/regional campaigns and messaging. We believe their insight is key to improving our resources and our work.

Want to contribute? We’re also looking for groups worldwide to partner and collaborate with – and we want to hear your ideas! Feel free to reach out to us ([email protected]) with contacts, upcoming projects, or ideas at any time!

This Is a Lot… How can I learn it all during the launch process?

It is! And you can’t. That’s why we provide ongoing optional webinars from experts, including fellow site leaders, on topics like bystander engagement, rape culture, event planning, street art, community organizing, and other topics suggested by our community. While the initial training webinars are mandatory, these webinars are optional for site leaders.

What happens when a Site Is Archived?

Site leaders can transition out of the network whenever they want – and many move locations, find new jobs, or just don’t have time. That’s absolutely fine. We work with site leaders to find replacement leaders in their community to make sure that when and if they choose to leave, their work continues on; and we help with transitioning leadership. If we can’t find a good fit, we work with outgoing leaders to develop a plan for archiving the site and communicating the change with their constituency. Even if a local website closes, stories are never lost or erased. They’ll be available at on our global map, and a new site leader shows up, they’ll be set back up on the local site.

How do you promote the work of your site leaders?

HB Vancouver
Hollaback! Baltimore

We are committed to elevating the voices of Hollaback!’s local leaders – particularly the voices of people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals, who are often marginalized in these conversations. To that end we release a public blog post every week called “A Week in our Shoes” highlighting the work of our site leaders globally. We also issue a monthly email to our list of 10,000 readers profiling site leader work and accomplishments, and we profile the work of 3-5 sites annually in our State of the Streets report. We also share media opportunities and speaker requests with local site leaders. Despite our limited capacity, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to amplify your voices! We count on people like you to help us share the incredible work of our global leaders. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates.

Let us know you’re interested in becoming a site leader!