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Influencing politics for Ukraine: how Euromaidan-Warszawa got Biden’s attention

Ewelina Kycia


Euromaidan-Warszawa protesters for F-16 planes
Photo: Euromaidan Warszawa

Euromaidan-Warszawa is a Polish-Ukrainian movement that has been passionately advocating for Ukraine's entry into the European Union since 2013. With the onset of Russia's aggression in February of 2022, Euromaidan-Warszawa swiftly adjusted their campaign focus to center on defense capabilities and calling for international cooperation to support the security and soveirgnty of Ukraine. Natalia Panchenko, a main organizer within Euromaidan-Warszawa, has played a significant role in leading and organizing the movement's efforts. With her dedication and determination, Panchenko has been instrumental in mobilizing supporters and raising awareness about the group’s cause.


Mobilization has the remarkable ability to transform small organizations into influential movements that can captivate the attention and support of thousands. The Euromaidan-Warszawa movement serves as a prime example of this power, as they mobilized individuals to actively participate in their campaign, garnering 12,000 supporters in just a few weeks. With their supporters they were also a crucial part in the successful campaign to the United States in the confirmation of delivery of F-16 planes to Ukraine. In addition to their achievements, it is crucial to acknowledge the significance of small donors in the realm of NGOs, as they play a vital role in amplifying the impact of such movements.


Euromaidan-Warszawa: Building a network of supporters

What began as a small organization advocating for Ukraine's euro-integration quickly evolved into a movement that attracted passionate supporters. Observers initially intrigued by the cause transformed into actively engaged participants in Euromaidan-Warszawa's campaign. The journey of these supporters illustrates the power of mobilization in cultivating a sense of shared purpose and galvanizing individuals to take action.


The journey of supporters within Euromaidan-Warszawa was a remarkable path that the movement invited them to embark on. Transitioning from mere observers, these supporters became active participants in the campaign, witnessing the unwavering determination of Euromaidan-Warszawa to garner support for Ukraine. The movement invested considerable effort into leading their supporters through this journey, diligently updating them on the happenings in Ukraine. They communicated their work daily on their social media, and took care to send out emails to their supporters about their achievements and challenges they are facing. Through these consistent updates, they built trust that they genuinely represented Ukraine's perspective. Moreover, as members of Euromaidan-Warszawa were themselves Ukrainians, they were able to share their own personal stories and those of their families, adding a deeply personal dimension to their actions.


In order to expand their audience in Poland, Euromaidan-Warszawa sought to enhance their credibility by collaborating with other well-known NGOs in the country. Inviting these organizations to join forces was a strategic step that helped bolster trust among the Polish public. By partnering with recognized organizations that had previously established themselves in the Polish landscape, Euromaidan-Warszawa was able to enhance their own credibility and amplify their impact.


The determination of Euromaidan-Warszawa, coupled with their commitment to keeping supporters informed about the situation in Ukraine, played a crucial role in cultivating a loyal and engaged base. Through personal narratives, regular updates, and strategic collaborations, the movement fostered a sense of trust and solidarity, enabling their supporters to actively participate in the campaign and contribute to the cause.


The Importance of Small Donors for NGOs

Throughout their campaign, Euromaidan-Warszawa relied on the support of not only vocal advocates but also small donors. These individuals recognized the significance of their contributions, understanding that even modest financial support could have a substantial impact when combined with the collective efforts of thousands. Small donors play a vital role in the sustainability of NGOs, providing the necessary resources for them to execute their missions effectively.


Small recurring donors play a vital role as key supporters for NGOs, as they provide sustained and reliable funding that enables these organizations to maintain their independence and act according to their own principles. Unlike relying solely on large donors, recurring donors allow NGOs to have a stable financial base without the risk of undue influence on their communication or program. Recognizing the significance of this support, Euromaidan-Warszawa dedicated considerable efforts to establish a network of recurring donors among their supporters. By building this network, they have secured the necessary resources to continue their daily work and pursue their mission with autonomy and integrity.


Amplifying Impact

As the Euromaidan-Warszawa movement grew in size and influence, they seized a significant opportunity during the visit of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to Warsaw in February 2023 to effectively communicate how he could help Ukraine. Leveraging this moment, the movement strategically implemented various actions:


The billboard paid for by Euromaidan-Warszawa supporters to get Biden's attention
Photo: Euromaidan-Warszawa
  • They rented a prominent screen in the heart of Warsaw, displaying a powerful banner that read, "BIDEN, Give F-16 to Ukraine." This visual display caught the attention of the public and conveyed their message directly to President Biden.


  • Euromaidan-Warszawa organized a two-day protest in front of the Marriott Hotel, where President Biden was staying during his visit to Warsaw. Supporters gathered with a sizable banner echoing the same call to action, urging Biden to provide F-16s to Ukraine. By protesting at the hotel, the movement aimed to draw attention to their cause and highlight the urgency of the situation.


  • Following the protest, Euromaidan-Warszawa organized a press conference, where they passionately appealed to President Biden to prioritize the delivery of F-16 planes to Ukraine. This platform allowed them to articulate their perspective, provide compelling arguments, and engage with the media, further amplifying their message to decision-makers and the general public.


Euromaidan-Warszawa press conference on the appeal to Biden for F-16 planes
Photo: Euromaidan Warszawa

Thanks to the dedication and financial contributions of small donors, Euromaidan-Warszawa had the means to execute these impactful actions. The support from these donors enabled the movement to rent the screen, stage the protest, and hold the press conference. These efforts were instrumental in generating widespread awareness, mobilizing broader public support, and ultimately capturing the attention of decision-makers, including President Biden himself.


By strategically utilizing the opportunity presented by President Biden's visit to Warsaw, Euromaidan-Warszawa maximized their impact and effectively communicated their urgent appeal for F-16 planes to support Ukraine's defense needs.


The Power of Collective Action

Euromaidan-Warszawa's campaign exemplifies the power of collective action, where a small organization evolved into a movement with thousands of engaged supporters. The journey of supporters, from mere observers to active participants, showcases the transformative influence of mobilization. It also highlights the importance of their continued engagement and dedication in pursuing their goals.


As part of their ongoing campaign, Euromaidan-Warszawa took a significant step forward by delivering the collected signatures to the USA embassy in Warsaw to ask for the donation of F-16 planes. This act served as a powerful message, demonstrating to their supporters and donors that their voices mattered and their contributions made a difference. By delivering these signatures, Euromaidan-Warszawa allowed their supporters to take a stand and further engage in the cause, reinforcing their sense of agency and commitment.


The impact of their collective action became evident when, a few weeks later, the President of the United States announced that he had given the green light for training Ukrainian soldiers in using F-16 planes. This announcement was a significant development and a testament to the effectiveness of Euromaidan-Warszawa's campaign. It showcased the power of their mobilization efforts, the support of their engaged supporters, and the influence they had in shaping important decisions.


Furthermore, the contributions of small donors played a crucial role in providing the essential resources that enabled Euromaidan-Warszawa to make a tangible difference in their cause. Their financial support, combined with the collective action of the movement's supporters, helped generate awareness, mobilize public support, and ultimately catch the attention of decision-makers, leading to a positive outcome in the form of the training approval.


This series of events reinforces the significance of collective action, the value of small donors, and the transformative power of mobilization. Euromaidan-Warszawa's campaign serves as an inspiring example of how a dedicated movement, supported by engaged individuals and small donors, can bring about tangible changes and shape the course of events in pursuit of their goals.


Conclusion

The Euromaidan-Warszawa movement's journey from a small organization to a mobilized force of 12,000 supporters highlights the power of collective action and the transformative potential of mobilization. By engaging supporters on their journey and relying on the vital contributions of small donors, the movement was able to amplify its impact and garner the attention of decision-makers. As we celebrate the achievements of Euromaidan-Warszawa, it is essential to recognize the importance of small donors, who through their financial support and advocacy, play a pivotal role in driving change and making a lasting difference in the world of NGOs.


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