Starting a campaign: Goals
As Maria in the Sound of Music said, ‘lets start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start’. And so it is with running a campaign.
I have often seen campaigners and organisers get an idea for an issue, a good soundbite and some headline catching stunts and begin a campaign. More often that not, they find that the campaign doesn’t win or achieve everything that was hoped for and wonder why.
The organising cycle takes us through issue, research, analyse, plan, implement and evaluate and very simply, a lot of campaigns do not have the necessary details in plans to help win on the issues. There isn’t the research in place to enable us to put together the right type of plans.
When I first started organising, I read a great book which I have used heavily as a full time officer and a lot of what I am going to write about it based on it. It’s called Organizing for Social Change. The book introduced me to the idea of having the ‘plan of all plans’ when starting out in a campaign which would enable me to have clear defined goals, targets and tactics and be able to talk about the issue clearly. The first thing it encouraged me to do was start by thinking, what really are my goals in this?
Long term Goal: This is the overall goal of the campaign and what you are heading for. Don’t make the mistake though of using this to be a mission statement or a statement of intent. Be specific about what you want to achieve as it makes it easier to explain this to activists, volunteers, members and the public.
Intermediate Goal: Think about the wins that you will need to build up to the long term goal. What would you see as a realistic and desirable win that will help you get to the long term? If you’ve already picked your issue based on ‘widely felt deeply felt and winnable’, use the intermediate goal (s) to think about what would result in the improvement of the people you are working with.
Short term Goal: What quick wins or partial steps to the intermediate goal can you identify that will help the campaign gather momentum and, like the intermediate goal, give a bit of buoyancy to the activists and a sense of achievement.
The order that you work through these goals is no accident. You need to start with the bigger picture and what you are ultimately trying to achieve and then move downwards to the steps to achieve it. Also, it’s all very well saying you are against something but what then are you for? What do you want to see in place? Having a system where you clearly identify your long term goals helps you to shape that message more clearly and in a way that everyone can understand.
So, remember, start at the very beginning, think about what you want to achieve and then take it from there.
Next: What are your Organisational Considerations?
This post is part of the ‘Starting a Campaign’ series