Meg Kneafsey is a returned International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteer with Raleigh International and a trustee for the charity. She has campaigned in the UK for causes including food poverty, young carers, and youth vote power. In this post, she shares some of her top tips for campaigning.
With so many issues in the world, it’s easy to feel that you can’t make a difference. Campaigning is a great way of spreading awareness of key issues that you care about and it’s easier than you think to get involved. Here are four key steps to a successful campaign.
First it’s important to find out what campaigns are already out there. Before you create your own campaign, there may already be a campaign on the same topic. If you find a campaign that you want to be a part of, you can usually contact the organisation for resources and support. If not, then you can apply for funding either through local or national sources such as ‘Think Big’ and ‘Cashpoint’.
Educate yourself on the issue. If you’re going to be talking to people about a particular topic, you need to be prepared for questions. Find the facts that stand out and can be easily communicated to your audience. You can make your campaign more meaningful through gaining testimonials, particularly if it’s a locally-based campaign. Be prepared to answer difficult questions on your cause, but it’s also okay just to sign-post people to more information. Don’t try to answer something you don’t know!
Where appropriate, research local organisations that might want to be involved or start putting together a team of other people passionate about the same cause. These allies may have useful resources and information. They may also want to be directly involved with your campaign.
Contact community groups and schools who you may wish to share your campaign with through talks and workshops. You can brainstorm creative activities that both educates people and gives the opportunity for discussions.
Contact your MP directly. They may want to be involved with your campaign or you can ask them to represent your view in parliament. They can also help spread awareness of your campaign.
Create a personalised press release on your campaign, including any planned public events and photographs of the work you’ve been doing.
Uses resources from a national campaign or creating your own leaflets, find a good location to talk to members of the public about your cause. Be careful not to fundraise unless you have permission from your local council.
If you haven’t already, start blogging or vlogging about your cause and your work. You can do this on your own personal account or write for an established blog.
Use social media to publicise your campaign; posting about your researched facts and testimonials, linking to more information and using images are great ways to get noticed.
Once you’ve started these steps, campaigning will become natural. You may want to continue being involved with your causes through volunteering or find more causes your care about. Good luck!