Your campaigns toolkit
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Welcome to the campaigns toolkit where you will find all the information needed to empower you to run your own campaigns.
All campaigns start with a passion or idea, which is turned into a series of events or actions used to create a positive impact. It can be called influencing, raising your voice, advocacy or campaigning but they are all about creating change. Whether it’s lobbying for improved access to sanitary products or increased support for Estranged students, running a campaign is about wanting to create positive changes in the world.
Anyone can run a campaign. The resources below will help you take your first steps towards becoming a effective campaigner. Scroll down to find out more...
Your 'smart' goals
Before you start your campaign, you need to pinpoint exactly what you would like to change, considering what the issue is, and why it's a problem. Once you have identified the problem, you can turn that around into solutions or ‘goals’ to form the basis of want you want from your campaign.
Your campaign goal is the overarching thing you want to change. It sets the purpose of your campaign and should describe what you want to achieve.
Your campaign objectives are the smaller steps you will take to achieve this.
To help set your campaign objectives use the SMART model below.
If your campaign is focusing on raising awareness of an issue, and not designed to solve an issue, you can still set SMART goals because you are looking at making tangible behavioural change. However, it might not seem so clear how to measure the impact. Why not think about ways that you can? For example, if you're aiming to raise awareness of student safety, perhaps something as simple as asking people what they know before and after an event can be an effective way of measuring impact. If there's been an increase in their knowledge, you've made tangible change!
The four campaign stages
Not sure where to begin with your campaign? The resources below will help you identify the problem you want to change, figure out what you want your campaign to achieve and introduce the key steps to researching and collecting evidence to support your campaign.
Before you start your campaign you need to identify the problem and what exactly you want to change, think about what the issue is and why it is a problem.
A way of visualising this is to use a problem tree.
The problem tree is a tool used to understand the cause and effect of problems in relation to the core problem. Each part of the tree represents a different point of the problem.
Once you have identified the cause of the problem you can flip it and find solutions which will start to form the basis of your campaign.
Imagine you are asked to complete a jigsaw. However, as you look through the pieces you realise you have not been given the bigger picture you are creating.
In some cases, you can guess and piece it together, however, having no big picture to look at can make the process a lot more difficult.
The same principle applies to running a campaign, you need to start off with that big picture of what you are wanting to create. This is your campaign goal.
Your campaign goal is the overarching thing you are wanting to change. It helps set the purpose of your campaign and should describe what you are wanting to achieve.
Top tips for setting a campaign goal:
To help achieve your goal and keep you on track, campaigners set ‘mini targets’ called aims or objectives.
These act as stepping stones to help keep your campaign grounded, provide direction and increase the likelihood of succeeding in your campaign.
Building an Evidence Base
Knowledge is crucial to running a successful campaign, with detailed facts and figures forming the bedrock of any campaign.
To do this you need to consider what you need to know and where you can find this information.
To start building your evidence base, you need to know exactly what to research. Look at your campaign goal and what questions need to be answered in order to reach your goal.
If your campaign goal is to increase the amount of vegan and vegetarian options across campus, you may want to consider asking the following questions to know what areas to research:
Where to look?
Try tapping into government research and knowledge which could include:
Ask your MPs
Durham County Council
|National||National Union of Students (NUS)
Office for National Statistics (OFS)
British Medical Organisations
Charities (e.g. Oxfam, Water Aid)
Freedom of Information (FOI)
Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) is a common and often very effective campaigning tool to help build up the evidence for a campaign or gain crucial information on how decisions were made.
False: Anybody can apply for a FOI.
You must work within the organisation to apply for an FOI...
Click to reveal the answer
FOI is a legislation that gives access to any non-personal recorded information held on behalf of central government, local authorities and other public bodies, unless a specific exemption allows the authority to refuse to give this information.
If you apply for a FOI be as specific as possible with the information you are asking. Sometimes information acquired through FOI requests can also produce an interesting angle for a media story.
Planning an effective launch can ensure your campaign has a maximum and lasting impact. The resources below will guide you through selecting your campaign tactics, using social media to support your launch and how to plan your campaign timeframe.
Deciding your tactics
Once you have established who you are targeting your campaign at, you can then decide what necessary actions you want to take to achieve your campaign goal. These actions are often referred to as campaign tactics
To run an effective campaign, you need to pick the right tactic, at the right time and with the right audience. However, it can be easy to plunge straight into discussing one or two ideas and not consider other creative and interesting campaign tactics.
The following exercises can help you consider which tactics to use:
This exercise helps you think of a large number of tactics quickly. The idea is to encourage creativity and energy.
This exercise will help you think of advantages and disadvantages of tactics but don’t discount the crazier ideas straight away, sometimes these are the ones with the most potential.
|Too much single use plastic on campus||Create a single use plastic sculpture and display in the Palatine||Raises awareness, uses up the plastic, opportunity for people to get involved||Annoy people and permission needed to display sculpture||Could we collect enough plastic?
How do we create a sculpture?
This exercise will help you explore the skills and resources you already have in your group and think about the tactics they could help you with.
Use the campaign tactic generator for more ideas on actions and activities you could do.
Creating a plan
Creating a plan for your campaign ensures that you have a method laid out to achieve your campaign goal and aims and are able to keep on track, foresee busy periods and maintain good communication with all involved.
An effective way to help you plan out your campaign is to use a timeline. Timelines give you an idea of how many different things you may have to do and when they need doing by.
Timelines can take many formats, however, there are a few basic tips you can follow when you start planning.
This exercise can help you understand whether a course of action is realistic or should be dropped in favour of something else. It can also show how a crazy sounding idea can actually be completely practical!
This will help you work out what the action needs to be successful. You can then check whether you have enough time, energy and resources in the group for this action.
Spreading the word
To get your campaign out there, good publicity and outreach are essential for communicating your campaign message and getting people involved to take actions. Successful campaigners are constantly reaching out and ensuring their presence is known to people.
Below are some top tips for raising the profile of your campaign:
When creating a brand, try and create material ahead of time so when you are in the middle of your campaign you have everything prepared and ready to go.
Make sure you have some consistency in your brand, including the language you use, pictures, colours and font type.
The tone can be causal, funny or serious, just make sure you choose a tone that matches your target audience!
Think of clear messages that you want to send out. People won't read messages that are too long or wordy, but they need to be informative so that it grabs their interest. You could draft a communication plan with scripts, launch day announcements and any updates you have planned.
Content can be used to raise awareness of your campaign. When creating content consider who your target audience is and where they find their information sources:
Good promotion can help you effectively raise the awareness of your campaign.
Some popular options to consider are:
If you are using social media channels to promote your campaign, consider scheduling in posts before your campaign launches to save you time during busy periods.
The challenge of campaigning can be ensuring momentum isn’t lost so the person/organisation you are campaigning against continue to feel pressure.
The resources below will help you identify who your targets are, who your allies are and how to ensure you can form an argument.
Targets generally include:
- Those responsible for creating the problem
- Those who have the power to fix the problem (but are not doing so)
- Those who are working to fix the problem. This includes you and your group!
You can have both primary (the person who has the power to grant your demands) and secondary (the person that can influence the primary target to grant your demands) targets.
Each target you have identified will have a varying level of influence/power.
You can use the graph to establish where each target would fit.
Once you have plotted your targets on the graph, you can identify your primary target.
This is who has the most influence over the issue and who is most likely to give you what you want. The ideal target would be the most supportive and most influential.
Now you have identified your target it’s time to map the connections and relationships you might have with them.
Put your target in the centre of a piece of paper, and then map out the connections to them that you know about.
Consider questions such as who does your target have meetings with and who do they work with?
Ultimately you are wanting to create a connection to trace any target back to yourself or a member of your campaign team.
Power can shift! Make sure to revise and revisit who your primary target is, as and when needed. You’ll know when!
Spectrum of Allies
Campaigns often recruit advocates or allies to help promote their cause.
The tool below can help you think about the people you have access to that can help support your campaign, as well as the people that still need convincing.
Move from right to left, placing different individuals or groups in each wedge. You can then start to design actions or tactics to move your people from one wedge to the next.
For this tool to work effectively you need to be specific, ‘the public’ is too broad and your campaign actions might not be as effective.
Active support: People who agree with you and are organising alongside you
Passive support: People who agree but aren’t doing anything about it (yet!)
Neutrals: People who aren’t sure, or are unengaged (they might just not know about you yet)
Passive Opposition: People who disagree, but aren’t trying to stop you
Active opposition: people who have done something to prevent you from reaching your goal
Creating an argument
When talking to people about your campaign, a key way to get them engaged is through using the Anger, Hope, Action model of engagement. This model takes people through the emotional stages of being angry about an issue, hopeful there is a solution, and then invites them to get involved by giving them an action.
The action can be anything that meaningfully takes your campaign forward, from signing up to being part of the campaign team, attending the next meeting or joining in a protest.
When running your campaign you may encounter people who do not share the same enthusiasm as you. Encountering apathy is often a problem for campaigners, but there are ways to overcome this. Sometimes, apathy is not deliberate, but actually is down to a lack of information or having different priorities to yourself.
To gain support, you need to get people engaged. You can do this by showing people how relevant your campaign is to them and what they care about.
The apathy staircase below can help, just start from the bottom and work your way up!
You need to make sure your target is always aware your campaign is serious and isn’t going away. The best way to do this is to figure out a series of tactics and actions that will build momentum and pressure over a few months.
Checking in or evaluating your campaign regularly can help your campaign continue to move forward. Use this section to understand the benefits of monitoring and evaluating your campaign, key questions to ask yourself and some top tips to ensure the wellbeing of you and your campaign team.
Reviewing your campaign
A key part of running a campaign is reviewing what you have done so you can learn from your successes and challenges and to see if you are on track for achieving your aims.
You should look to review your campaign at least half way through and at the end of your campaign. However, reviewing after each campaigning tactic is also an effective way to ensure your campaign remains on track.
To review your campaign effectively you should both monitor and evaluate your campaigns progress:
Monitoring: Throughout your campaign journey, regularly measure and assess what is going on against your campaign aims. This provides you with the opportunity to learn from any barriers or successes and adapt your campaign strategy to suit.
Evaluation: At the end of your campaign, take a look back to draw out learning outcomes that you can feed into future campaign work. You could ask members of your campaign team to get a better reflection of what worked well and what did not.
Why should you review your campaign?
Key questions to ask
Running and being part of a campaign can be exceptionally rewarding, however, the emotional demands on campaigners can be tough when you are continuously prioritising the needs of others and fighting for social justice. To help combat campaign burnout, something to remember is the importance of self-care and looking after yourself during your campaign.
Overall, never forget that self-care activities are completely personal and how you engage in any form of self-care is entirely down to you. Some people may enjoy a long bubble bath, whereas others may find this stressful. What’s important is finding a self-care idea that works for you.
Generate your campaign tactics!
Tactics or actions are used in a campaign to progress it to the next stage. A strong campaign uses a combination of tactics and different timescales to ensure momentum doesn’t slow and continues to be built upon.
When devising your campaign tactics, remember to consider your target audience. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your tactics to achieve and if it’s worth it.
Click the button below to generate a campaign tactic suggestion, or you can download the document for all the tactics in one place!
Protests can act as a platform for upset and disapproval to be heard. This type of activism can be crucial for creating the groundwork for change. A good protest can inspire lots more people to join your cause. Make sure you clearly define the change you want to see, and scope out and make contact to everyone that could be a potential ally.
Let's work through your campaign!
Now it’s your turn! Use the generator below to create your own campaign using the resources available in the toolkit.
You can choose to plan your campaign online or download the form manually.
Making the most of your SU!