Consider for example many tiny little charities that are too small to have their concerns recognized when there is a threat to them. They band together and create a bigger organization and through that, they are taken seriously and begin to be consulted. What is a quick and elegant way of expressing this strategy?

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    there is power in numbers – George White Feb 13 at 0:16
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    E pluribus unum – user662852 Feb 13 at 4:34
  • "Grow or die" may sound a bit harsh for your situation, but it is an established idiom and directly addresses strategy. It is strongly associated with heavy-handed capitalism, which may not align well with the sensibilities of charity groups. – Phil Sweet Feb 13 at 12:03

there is strength in numbers Merriam-Webster defines this as:

used to say that a group of people has more influence or power than one person

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Union is strength comes to mind:

This proverb means that ‘sticking together is a source of strength’. If people join together, they are more powerful than if they work by themselves.

(The Free Dictionary)

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In psychology this is a special feature of social change called the Snowball effect, whereby the minority group influences or becomes the majority group. The minority group can start as an individual, before slowly growing, being heard and eventually being accepted into the “majority group”:

Social change occurs when a whole society adopts a new belief or behavior which then becomes widely accepted as the ‘norm’. [...] Social change is usually a result of minority influence. This is when a small group of people (the minority) manage to persuade the majority to adopt their point of view.


It has been found that once the minority begin to persuade people round to their way of thinking, a snowball effect begins to happen. This means that more and more people adopt the minority opinion, until gradually the minority becomes the majority.

Examples of social change:

  • Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela led civil rights movements and were consistent in their views against apartheid for many years, which helped bring about social change. The results of Moscovici’s (1969) research highlight the importance of consistency in minority influence.

  • When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger in the 1950s, she was arrested for violating US law. This event helped trigger the civil rights movement to end the racial segregation laws in America. The case of Rosa Parks demonstrates that people who are willing to make a sacrifice (in her case being arrested) show their commitment to their cause and as a result are more influential.

Interestingly, the idiom “snowball effect” (different to the Snowball effect theory in psychology, but uses the same principles) is attested for here:

A situation in which something increases in size or importance at a faster and faster rate:

  • The more successful you become, the more publicity you get and that publicity generates sales. It's a kind of snowball effect.


A situation in which the results or consequences of an action grow at an increasingly faster rate over time.

  • Once the video game hit the market, word of mouth caused a snowball effect that made it the most popular and top grossing game of all time.
  • She ignored her debt for so long that now, she's experiencing a snowball effect that threatens to crush her financially.


I believe you can use the same idiom “snowball effect” if you give us an example sentence where the idiom will be used.

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  • Anyone who downvoted can they say why? – aesking Feb 13 at 3:29
  • Though I can't be sure, it's probably seen as being too ballpark, broad, hypernymic. Note the debt snowballing, to acceptably broaden your last example. 'Strength in numbers' is closer, as it's rarely applied to non-sentients. Why haven't you upvoted that? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 25 at 14:16
  1. They form a common front/amalgamate/come together to create a higher profile.
  2. They unite - They adopt a policy/philosophy of "strength in numbers."
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“Sticks in a bundle strengthen each other.” (”In unity is strength.”)

~ Aesop

The Bundle of Sticks

A certain Father had a family of Sons, who were forever quarreling among themselves. No words he could say did the least good, so he cast about in his mind for some very striking example that should make them see that discord would lead them to misfortune.

One day when the quarreling had been much more violent than usual and each of the Sons was moping in a surly manner, he asked one of them to bring him a bundle of sticks.

Then handing the bundle to each of his Sons in turn he told them to try to break it. But although each one tried his best, none was able to do so.

The Father then untied the bundle and gave the sticks to his Sons to break one by one. This they did very easily.

"My Sons," said the Father, "do you not see how certain it is that if you agree with each other and help each other, it will be impossible for your enemies to injure you? But if you are divided among yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle."

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A proverb of Classical Greek origin.

Link to reference tale

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