Category Archives: How do we know it’s working?

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Margaret Thatcher
We have two objectives for this long-term campaign: we want the next Government to take action to improve disabled people’s living standards, and we want to shift public attitudes towards disabled people.
But despite our long-term objectives, we need to know if we’re making progress today. How can we know if we’re changing politics and changing society’s attitudes? What does success look like along the way?

The Art of Juggling

The game changers

Adam Askew

Adam Askew has worked in the campaigns and communications environment for the last 10 years. He started his career in youth engagement work and over the past 10 years has run national campaigns across Africa and Asia. More recently In the UK he has run The Robin Hood Tax campaign and has just stepped down as the communications chair for The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. His general approach to campaigning (and life) is brutal pragmatism, combined with sharp insight and simple easy to digest communication.

I was once asked, while interviewing, what the point of a campaigner is. Given my role as a global campaign manager at the time I felt it was a slightly loaded, but a nonetheless pertinent, question. Given the context of the interview and the fact I was on a recruiting panel I gave it some thought…. (Just to be clear, this candidate was unsuccessful in their application due to epic failure in many other areas!)

In my response I talked about the campaigner’s art of juggling. It is one of the most important skills in any campaign and one that is so often undervalued. The juggler has the ability to judge the situation, understand the personalities involved and know when and how to deploy which tactic at what time. This is fundamental to any campaigns success. The juggling part comes in because campaigning is often a complicated beast with lots of balls in the air at any one time; most of the balls tend to be policy oriented, but you have media ones, public facing one, digital ones, fundraising ones & political ones, and this involves a lot of folk. It is your job as the juggler to take that complexity, juggle the issues skillfully in order to help create a clear and concise campaign strategy or programme. You are often at the bottom of the campaign food chain; the juggler is the unsung hero playing a vital unseen role and in my view, the campaign can live or die because of them.

So as we come to the end of the IF campaign and the post mortem begins, I have begun once again to ask myself a number of these same questions.

The IF campaign, was a coalition of over 200 organisations (so a lot of balls), calling for an end to world hunger.  The campaign, backed by a list of incredible organisations, had all the hallmarks of an excellent coalition campaign. It had a clear goal. It had some big celebrity backers. It utilised the talents and skills of some of the best campaigning organisations out there and it deployed the best agency communication thinkers around.

It achieved some incredible things: Over £4 Billion pounds of new money saving nearly 2 million kids lives, which is an incredible achievement and worth all the effort alone. But there was more, the progress on tax avoidance and land grabbing (the things that keep people hungry) are also to be applauded.

The IF campaign did not get as much the public exposure as it wanted and at times it was unable to tell its own story simply enough, but 45K people in London’s Hyde park in June demanding action, calling for the possibility of IF was breath taking.

So how does this all link to the juggler? Well in this campaign we dropped a few balls and we probably tried to keep a few to many in the air at once, but the campaign created one hell of a circus and when all is said and done, the conclusion reaffirms my view that the juggler is still one of the most important roles of any campaign set up big or small.

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign showed what is possible when we join and juggle together and I am certain it will have saved lives. There is a part of me already looking forward to the next joint endeavour….

We’re creating an ambitious campaign and we want you to be part of it. Join Scope’s campaign community and become a game changer

How to achieve maximum visibility for your campaign

The game changers

Esra'a photo

Esra’a Al Shafei is a Digital youth activist and Director of MidEastYouth.com and CrowdVoice.org

For a campaign to receive the maximum potential for visibility, it has to be unique in its approach and creativity. It is difficult to get people to be responsive about a campaign that is neither accessible nor engaging. The more a user can interact with the details, the more informed they will be about the subject and greater the likelihood that they’ll share it or feel stronger about the cause.

Campaigns are most effective when they make facts noticeable in a very thorough and responsive interface. Examples of these could include interactive infographics, the gamification of factual information, as well as animated short videos. These have higher potential for virality which in turn could rally more people around the cause.

A successful campaign is dependent upon thorough research, as many people who’d potentially support a cause simply don’t have the time or resources to seek out the facts behind certain issues. Because their primary goal is as an educational tool, campaigns should have a base of solid factual validity in order to avoid detractors and undermining, and to establish a strong and trusting relationship with users and sharers.

A campaign is most effective when it presents its audience with a shocking truth, simplified into something that’s both dependable and relatable. Making this happen involves the careful curating of information into easily-digestible forms to both engage and empower audiences.

Virality is important in bringing about awareness to a cause, but successful campaigns also foster a true and deep understanding in its audience of an issue’s fundamental underpinnings in order to ensure long-term staying power. With a purely viral campaign, it can be a slippery slope into the territory of a cause du jour in the chaos of the information age. But pairing virality with educational tools ensures the campaign will be both relevant and impactful in the long term.

How do we know it’s working

work

These are the big campaign successes we’re looking for:

Political success

The May 2015 election:

  • Political party manifestos for the 2015 General Election have a clear commitment to improve disabled people’s living standards
  • Each party adopts specific policies that increase disabled people’s living standards
  • Broad commitments are in each party manifesto, and they’re appropriately worded and framed

Any coalition negotiations

  • Increasing disabled people’s living standards is a priority area
  • Incorporates manifesto commitments and priorities
  • Agreement contains specific commitments to increasing disabled people’s living standards

The next Government

  • Prioritise the implementation of improving disabled people’s living standards
  • Replace the disability strategy and Disability Action Alliance
  • Revise the role of Minister for Disabled people and Office for Disability issues.

Public success

More people involved in campaigning:

  • Bigger and more engaged public support for campaign issues, including a greater number of Scope supporters
  • Young people have greater capacity to campaign for the type of society they want to live in

The May 2015 election:

  • Raised consistently at local level with candidates, in particular in swing seats
  • Polling shows the issue of disabled people’s living standards increasing in importance for voters, especially young voters
  • Disabled people’s living standards becomes more of a key issue in the media and political debate during the election campaign, for example, questions asked during leaders debate
  • Young people play a key role in working with the government to help shape government’s implementation of policies.

Change in attitudes and public debate:

  • Negative attitudes towards disabled people are challenged through greater understanding and connection between disabled and non-disabled people
  • Increasing living standards of disabled people becomes a new narrative in public debate, shifting attitudes towards disabled people

What do you think?

These milestones are still quite big – how can we know if we’re on the way to achieving these?