NENO's executive office put together A Concise Typology of Activists not saying that you should all go and label your friends…. oh hell, of course you should go and label them!
Illustrations by Tijn Nelemans. Translation by Aro Velmet. Thank you, our volunteers!
Couch potato activist — “Bring the issue to my living room, and I'll get involved” — can't be bothered to lead, can't be bothered to study the problem, can't be bothered to take responsibility, but is happy to wave the flag with all the others.
Show-off activist – Wants to literally be in the picture and show themselves off with all the cool kids, enjoys the fame. You'll find them in all the photo galleries of various campaigns.
Like-tivist – Likes everything that seems important, but does little else. Closely related to the signature-activists, who signs all the petitions, but is rarely willing to get off their ass.
Facebook activist– Fills up Facebook with well-reasoned, substantial arguments. The one who is present in all groups, and the walls of friends and opinion leaders alike. Knows their stuff and will not keep to themselves.
Multitasktivist – Doesn't see their family very often, but is involved with all even mildly important issues.
Designated activist – focuses on one important issue, which they know well, always provides public commentary and is the media's go-to person on that issue.
Burn-out activist – Has so much to do, but no time for a vacation. Answers e-mails “some time later”, goes to the wrong place at the wrong time, has no spark in their eyes, but still cannot say “no”.
Depressed activist – The person who has contributed enormous effort, knowledge, money, all at negative interest rates.
Backchannel activist – Wants to be involved, and is, too, supports and advises, discusses the issue with the decisionmakers at private lunches, but will never ever associate with the issue in public.
Business activist — “Burns” his hard-earned profits in some socially usefully activity that is never, ever going to break even, but so what! A new kind of philanthropist, who wants to get involved and not just give.
Public service activist – The person who goes to the department head and exclaims: “I've got an idea!” only to be turned right back at the door. The one who calls the NGO out of their own initiative, if the situation changes. Interprets the law creatively. Usually tends to burn out or migrate to the non-profit sector. Worst case scenario: is replaced by a tamer specimen.
Let's do it! Activist – Never misses a joint venture, always happy to play along, and pulls in everyone around him, from colleagues to relatives to fellow choir members. This is the person who will organize games at their uncle's birthday and shares song lyrics, because everything is better together.
Collaboractivist – Always uses the pronoun “we”. All his opinions are also ours. The person who will add you to googledocs edit lists without asking you first and always expect you to co-write with them.
The activist's pessimistic friend — “Man, why are we doing this again? Nobody ever listens, everything is messed up and nothing will ever change, why bother?”
Allcaps activist – Always writes in ALLCAPS because it is IMPORTANT and you need to read it NOW!
Fifth-wheel activist – Always runs for a seat on the board, but never gets the opportunity. Somehow, they have ended up in a group where they have no function.
Meeting activist – Talks vigorously at every meeting, but does little else. Leaves right after their own remarks.
Future-oriented activist – Talks about a state without a government, robots, and self-driving cars. No-one gets them.
Past-oriented activist – Isn't compatible with anything except pen, paper, and patriotic songs. No-one gets them either.
Professional activist – Gets paid to fix the world, because they know what they do, and do it well.
Boozy activist – Turns into a superhero after the second glass of wine. Then grabs the phone and calls all the important people or writes all the articles that go viral.
Last minute activist – The closer the deadline, the more effective they are. Files all grant proposals at 23:59, sends in the op-ed when the desperate editor is about to send the newspaper to print, and finds the main speaker for next morning's protest at the bar the night before.
First follower – Never initiates anything, but if someone else appears to be doing something important, immediately joins in and runs to the front of the pack.
Party activist — Ready to participate in anything, as long as it's a good crowd.
Awwwwww-activist – when they walk up to the podium, they own the audience. They have so much symbolic capital you could take it to the stock market.
Call-in activist – Whenever there's a call-in show on the air, they'll be reaching for the phone. Doesn't matter what the topic is, or what their comment is about.
Good listener activist – Always listens and reflects on the issue. Rarely speaks, but when they do, then with carefully considered and well-composed words. They speak so little, because they speak so well.
Neighborly activist – Always knows if apartment five is on their clean-up duties, when the dog from that yellow house disappeared, or whose children have been snatching fruit from the back yard.
Dividend activist – Always weighs the costs and benefits of participation and the potential of success before contributing anything.
NIMBY-activist – Always shows up to make sure nothing ever changes.
Whiny activist – Always contributes excellent thoughts on how your event, in hindsight, should have happened at a different place, on a different time, in a different language, with different food and with different speakers. No they won't keep it to themselves. Very often lacks actual organizing experience.
Paranoid activist – Wasn't initially going to be included, under pressure from the government and their reptilian overlords, but then we included them so that they wouldn't think there was a conspiracy to exclude them.