From the TUC

Starting a campaign: Friends and Allies

19 Sep 2013, By Guest


We have our goals, we have looked at our resources.  Next up, who can we count on and who will we be up against?

I think it’s important that we create and sustain broad coalitions and relationships between campaigners with a social and economic justice focus.  By supporting each other and sharing our work we are able to build not just our campaigns but a movement.

But, I think that it is unlikely that we will agree on everything all the time and this posting is about thinking about allies and opponents to a certain campaign.  Each will be different and each will need to be considered.

On your side: Who, in terms of organisations cares about this issue?  It does not need to be that they care about the issue in the exact same way as you, but that they also care about the issue.  Identify for each organisation why they care about the issue, what they gain if they win and what risks they are taking in supporting or joining the campaign.  This is really important as it will help you to understand that group and how you can work together meaningfully but also the impact of their support might be on the campaign.  Also what power does that organisation have over the potential target (more on that in another posting)?

Not on your side: Think about the reverse from the above.  Who would be against what you are trying to achieve?  Importantly, why are they against you and how would your victory affect them?  This is a really important thing to remember.  If you can understand why someone is against you and the impact you have on them, you are able to take measures in the first instance to lessen the impact.  You might modify your language, or ramp up your efforts in a certain area.  It could be that they are against you and you can change their view on it fairly easily.  How strong are they in this area in comparison to you (be realistic!) and consider what they will do, including spending money or deploying activists to oppose you.

Once you have undertaken this analysis, feed it back into your resources and see how it is affected.   Do you need to change how you have allocated your resources?  Does it mean that you need more money or activists or you can change tack in someway?

Like all aspects of campaign planning, don’t take anything for granted.  An organisation may have helped for the last issue but don’t necessarily in this instance.

Next: Who are you targetting?

This post is part of the ‘Starting a Campaign’ series