At the local level, a new type of activation programs for social welfare clients emerged which is not intended to directly foster participation in paid work. The central question for this study is which factors affect the extent in which local social offices, responsible for social assistance, are offering this type of social activation, and how this is related to the employment activation of their clients. Our data are based on a web survey in 2011 with responsible officers of a sample of 234 local social offices in Belgium. Using structural equation modelling, we find that the variation in the extent of social activation can be explained from contextual, local policy and organizational factors. There are striking differences between the Flemish and Walloon region in the role that the local policy vision on activation plays for the degree of social, c.q. employment activation in the municipality.