This should be relatively easy to determine as it should be at the core of your organisation’s work. But it’s worth checking that the specific issue which forms the focal point of your campaign fits within your mission and your aims and objectives. Make sure you can clearly define what the issue is and the outcome you want to see, who the beneficiaries are and the timescale you want to see change within. As with any objective, it needs to be smart. You also need to be able to communicate the issue simply and effectively. Try telling a colleague or friend and see how easily you can explain your aims.
Do your research
There are bound to be other organisations that are active in the same sector as you. Check they are not campaigning on the same issue. Do your research and make sure you fully understand the subject, looking at it from both sides – both for and against – so you are prepared for arguments from every angle.
Gather case studies that support your campaign and see if any of them are prepared to offer personal testimony as this can be a powerful influencing tool. Look at facts and figures that support your issue. These could come from inside your organisation or external sources such as the Office for National Statistics, think tanks or professional associations.
Be aware of external factors such as the political climate, the economy or other campaigns targeted at the same decision-makers.
Build your argument
Once you have all the information to hand, write down your case for support. Be clear and concise and use plain language. Try to look at your subject objectively and consider what questions and challenges could be put against it. You need to have an answer to each one and be confident that you can respond passionately and instinctively. Identify the strongest examples from your bank of case studies and source experts on the issue who can support your arguments.
Your campaign will be strengthened by other organisations, individuals or groups who want the same thing or who will be affected by the change you want to see. Think about your existing stakeholders or ones you need to target. Don’t be shy of asking for advice from sympathetic organisations, especially if they have experience of campaigning on a similar issue.
You might also be able to get endorsement from a celebrity. They can help get attention for your cause, especially if they have personal experience of it or are willing to talk to the media. But make sure they fit with the aims and values of your organisation.
Don’t forget public support. You might want to plan an online petition if you think your cause will draw a significant number of signatures.
Know who to lobby
It’s unlikely that this will be one person. You are embarking on a journey and as such, you have to plan your route. What’s your first stop? Where will you call at along the way? What is your plan if you come across a road block? What’s your ultimate destination? You need to know who the key individuals are and the responsibilities they have so you target the right person with the right questions at the right time. If it’s a local issue you could approach your MP. If it’s national, look into All-Party Parliamentary Groups and ministers with specific responsibility for your issue.
A campaign that has a great deal of attention will be one that is harder to ignore and, hopefully, harder to say no to. Think about how to build awareness, understanding of and support for your cause. Plan your activities over time and use a range of tactics across all communications channels. Our other Intros can help you deal with the media and generate coverage.
Aim to be eye-catching with your campaign but never lose sight of your key message. Your idea for a viral stunt might get thousands of hits but it has little value if it doesn’t add to the aims of the campaign.
Evaluate as you go. Monitoring your progress throughout will help you adapt your campaign if necessary. Leaving evaluation until the end will be too late.