John Coventry is the UK Communications Director at Change.org
At Change.org we have a unique position within campaigning: we are curators of content, working with our users to bring the real human side of some of the UK’s most pressing issues to life. This presents both the platform and our users with incredible opportunities to create high impact, quick turnaround change; it also means we are in the privileged position of telling powerful and moving stories that build compelling movements.
I would love to see Scope becoming a platform for the people it works with: to provide a base of expertise and support but to let the powerful stories of service users and partners come to the fore.
Now more than ever people from all backgrounds and with a wide range of impairments can have a voice and individuals can campaign with the power of organisations. Scope has a fantastic opportunity to bring a wide range of people into debates – going beyond “case studies” to a point where disabled people are at the very forefront of the agenda-setting work that Scope does. It is not enough to advocate for people. It’s time to work with people to help them find their voice and give them access to those in power: your campaigns will be more powerful for it; the victories more credible and the impact of society at large more profound. It will inspire a new generation of campaigners.
There is a tendency within organisations to worry about two things: Campaign messaging and brand profile – often this hits your ability to work in an agile and disruptive way. But a young woman speaking from the heart about her experiences will do more for public engagement with your issue than a 60 page branded policy report and potentially have a bigger impact. With platform campaigning, it’s about making the conditions right for change. So be clear on the asks and the policy work that’s happening behind the scenes, then let the people who really matter go out and make the difference.