What are campaigns and how are they planned? 

Campaigns team standing outside Parliament

Campaigning is about creating a change that you want to see.

It can tackle an injustice, encourage politicians to support something, reverse or stop a bad decision, or change the way people think about an issue.

Examples might be:

  • Changing your community eg saving a building or getting better street lighting.
  • Changing attitudes eg changing people’s perceptions of older teenagers.
  • Changing law or policy eg laws on refugee children being kept in detention centres.
  • Changing an institution eg ensuring hotels report signs of child sexual exploitation.

Planning a campaign

Sometimes problems may feel too big or complex to solve alone.

But if there’s an issue we are passionate about, starting small, working together and having a clear plan of what we want to do can have a big impact.

Below are the steps that are generally used to plan campaigns:

Step 1: What’s the problem?

Campaigns usually start because we feel passionate about an issue and want to change it.

  • What issue or problem really gets you frustrated?
  • Is there something that you think is an injustice?
  • What do you know about it? Has it been talked about in the media, or do you have personal experience of it?

Step 2: What’s the solution?

You know what you want to change, but how do you go about it?

Gather evidence – the more you know about the issue, the more effective your campaign will be.

These are the key questions to answer:

  • Why has this problem come about?
  • What would a better solution be? What would be different as a result?
  • Who can make that change happen? The local council? Your MP? A business?
  • What can you do to persuade them to make that change?

Step 3: How are you going to make the change happen?

There are lots of actions you can take, such as signing a petition, holding a demonstration, or getting the issue covered in the media.

By using a combination of actions, you’ll be more likely to get the attention of the decision-maker you want to hear you.

When choosing your action:

Think how it will help you achieve your aim – everything you do should make a difference, so it needs to be appropriate for the person or organisation you’re trying to reach.

Decide on the type of language you need to use. You’re likely to speak to an MP differently to how you’d speak to your neighbours.

Prepare for how people might respond and then plan the best way to get them to listen.

Make a plan:

  • Have a calendar that says who needs to do what and when they need to do it.
  • Make use of everyone’s skills and interests.
  • Decide and agree on key goals and deadlines. Split the plan into bitesize chunks so that you can keep track of your successes and where you need to make alterations.

Step 4: Do it

Now you need to get out there and make it happen.

Our How To guides provide tips and ideas for how you might go about running a successful campaign activity locally.

If you would like to do something to support our campaigns, get in touch with us so we can provide help and support.

Step 5: Learn from it and celebrate

Every campaign action you take or activity you plan will provide useful learning points for you, and for us.

Make sure you take time after any campaigning to stop and reflect about what worked well, and things you would do differently next time.

Keep us updated on how things have gone, and if there are ways we can support you more in your local campaigning activities. Finally, get your fellow campaigners together and celebrate your achievements, and the part you’ve played in making the world a better place.

Download this guide