At a recent training session for Social Workers Union frontline organisers, Simon Francis, Campaign Collective founder member, shared inspiration for successful campaigns.
Drawing on campaigns delivered by the Collective, including those supported through the SWU Campaign Fund and from the wider world, delegates explored the key elements that successful campaigns have in common.
1. Have a simple message and solution
The most successful campaigns have, at their heart, a slogan which is easy for supporters, or the public to remember.
This might be used explicitly in a campaign, such as the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce’s “Let’s close the deadly cancer gap”. Or it could be used more subtly, but by a wider range of people, such as in media interviews or on social media, like the Warm This Winter campaign’s “Britain’s broken energy system.”
2. Bring together coalitions of supporters
These can be formal coalitions or more informal groupings of supporters, but it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve your campaign’s objectives by yourself.
For formal coalitions, look for organisations who share your values and have a similar or aligned purpose. But for more informal groupings, you might also be able to involve people who share your concerns, but who may not necessarily agree on the solutions.
3. Organise visual actions and content
Given the vital importance of social media in campaigning, creating engaging visual content should be a focus of activity. That’s not to say that every week has to have a protest! You can even use meetings of supporters on Zoom, infographics or quote cards to get the message across.
4. Empower people affected by the issue to lead
The key to the success of the SWU Campaign Fund has been giving people with lived experience of the issue the skills and support they need to campaign for the issue they care about.
In Scotland, two social work students secured a Government review into bursary funding for students – they even won awards from their peers recognising the impact they have made on the debate.
5. Respond in a timely way
The news agenda is fast-paced and rapidly changing. So ensuring a speedy response to issues is vital. But you should also ensure that planned campaign activity is timed to have the biggest impact, such as the Fuel Poverty Action winter deaths protests.