Don’t just complain... Campaign
Your guide to running a community campaign | Get Started | Working in a team | Time & Money | Reaching the right people | Campaign Objectives Achieved! What Next? | Other Campaigning Tools | Petitions
Have you ever wanted to have your say on a local issue but are unsure how to go about it?
Do you want to change something in your community but don't know where to start?
Good campaigns run by local people can make things better. All the time, decisions are being made that affect your life. From climate change to speed bumps, from globalisation to school meals. If you care strongly about anything, there's something you can do. Every issue is one where you could have your say - there are lots of opportunities to get involved. In fact, you have incredible power, but only if you choose to use it.
It's worth doing. After all, if your voice isn't being heard, then whose is?
- You don't need to be a politician
- You don't need millions of pounds
- You don't need a huge organisation
- You don't even need to have done it before
You need an idea and you need to care enough about something to want to make a change. But it can be hard to know where to start.
"Vision without action is merely dreaming. Action with no vision is just passing time. But with vision and action you can change the world." Nelson Mandela
A well-planned campaign is more likely to be successful. In order to develop a strong plan, ask yourself two questions:
- What do we want to change?
- How are we going to do it?
A good campaign involves:
- setting goals
- making a strong case
- working in a team
- time and money
- getting the message across
Make sure your plan covers all of these things.
Strengthening your case - Campaigning is about convincing other people to support your point of view
"Convincing yourself doesn't win an argument."
Your campaign needs a strong foundation. This means:
1) Learn how the system works:
- The relevant law
- Who's responsible for what
- How decisions are made
2) Research your argument:
- Look at public opinion, previous examples, government and other statistics.
- Conduct a Survey - increasingly groups are using online resources, such as Survey Monkey (where the views of up to 100 can be collected for free)
- Use a Petition to support your argument (see the resources detailed at the end of this article, where you can download a petition template or use one of the many online survey resources)
3) develop the right message:
- Keep it simple.
- Think about your audience.
4) Conduct your campaign in the right way:
- Maintain respect, fairness and facts.
- Work within the law.
5) Fundraising, events, publicity
"The act of playing for the team makes every individual stronger." Arsene Wenger
A well functioning team is key to the success of your campaign. Spend some time thinking about how you could recruit members to your campaign:
- How would you target people that are likely to be committed to what you are campaigning for?
- Does your group need members with key skills - where can you find them?
- How would you use your campaign resources to attract new members to your campaign?
You might wish to publicise you need for volunteers via via www.volunteeringbedford.org.uk.
It is important to get your whole team involved in setting the goals and the objectives of the campaign. Get everybody to agree to:
- what a successful outcome for the campaign would be
- your campaign's main objectives
- how you as a team work together
There are lots of roles to perform in a team:
- Campaign co-ordinator.
- Events co-ordinator.
- Meeting facilitator.
- PR person.
It's up to you to decide whether you want to have several people per role or several roles per person. Do think about involving everybody in the team.or several roles per person.
Time will be precious - to make the most of it draw up a timetable for events and actions and set deadlines.
You won't need much money to run a successful campaign. But if you think more money would improve your campaign try these sources to raise money:
- Contribute your own money to fund your campaign.
- Do some public fundraising.
- Get sponsorship.
- Apply for grants.
Visit the site www.yourcvs.org for potential sources of funding.
"We need not accept the paradox that gives us more ways than ever to speak, and leaves the public with a wider feeling than ever before that their voices are not being heard." Robin Cook
Getting to the right people is vital. So is building support in your community.
Think about all the different types of decision makers and influencers:
- Town & Parish Councillors in Ampthill, Maulden and Clophill
- Central Beds Councillors
- Member of Parliament
- Businesses - Local Chambers of Trade & Commerce
- The Media - Around the Pump Newsletter, Fuddler Newsletter, Clophill Spotlight, Times and Citizen, Bedfordshire on Sunday, Town and Parish Websites and Forums
You might be surprised at who's interested in your campaign, but you'll never know until you ask!
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." Douglas Adams
You've done it! Well done.
You had the idea, worked in a team, held your events and pushed your campaign.
The value of campaigning, both personally and in your community, comes from taking part in the way decisions are made. Even if you didn't achieve 100% of your goals, you will have played your part and had an influence.
Although you might have wrapped up your campaign, the people you've worked with, the energy and the commitment will still be around. From residents' associations to the largest charities in the country, most campaigning groups start out focused on one issue. They get so much momentum, they decide that all of the things that went into the campaign were worthwhile and worth turning into something permanent.
You might want to ask whether your campaign can be turned into a permanent group. If this is the case why contact Community and Voluntary Service 43 Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2AA. Tel: 01234 354366. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.yourcvs.org.
If you decide to disband your group, think about how you personally can capture everything you learned.
Maybe you now want to join another campaign group or a political party. Indeed it may inspire you to stand for election for your Town or Parish Council or for Central Beds Unitary Authority, if so visit this sites' 'Standing as a Councillor' page. Standing as an Independent Councillor may be an option, as it could be argued that your community's interests are foremost in your mind ahead of petty political point scoring as political party councillors. To find out about standing as an Independent Councillor visit www.independents4centralbeds.org.uk or www.picx.co.uk.
Maybe you want to try to find other campaigns who could use your experience. Maybe you've got another burning issue. Looking back at everyone you've met, everything you've tried and everything you've learned, you will be far better prepared to have your say than you were at the start of your campaign. So it makes sense to use your experience.
The most important thing is to stay involved.
- Campaign Central - CampaignCentral is an innovative new website fhat connects, informs and supports campaigners. The site is full of useful resources. Plus you can register your campaign. Website: www.campaigncentral.org.uk
- Campaign Creator - A resource developed by Bristol City Council. Website: www.campaigncreator.org
- WriteToThem - A site set up by a group of volunteers who thought it would be a good thing if it were easier for people to contact their MPs. Website: www.writetothem.com
- TheyWorkForYou - A non-partisan, volunteer-run website which aims to make it easy for people to keep tabs on their elected and unelected representatives in Parliament. Website: www.theyworkforyou.com
ePetitions are an easy way for people who want to show support for, or rally against an issue, to gather and register their interests in a convenient collective manner. Much like an offline petition, participants can read more about a particular issue and then choose to show their support by including their details and their electronic 'vote'.
Alternatively, you may wish to collect signatures in the old fashion way! If so download the petition template below and customise it to your campaign's needs.
Download: Petition Template
Petitions in respect of local authority responsibilities should be submitted to:
Central Beds Council ePetitions
An e-petition is a petition which collects signatures online. This allows petitions and supporting information to be made available to a much wider audience than a traditional paper based petition.
Anyone who lives, works or studies in Central Bedfordshire can submit or sign an e-petition. 100 signatures are required for an e-petition to be submitted for consideration by the council.
If you create an e-petition you will be required to provide the Council with your contact details. We may ask the relevant service team within Central Beds Council to respond to you on the issue you raise. If you sign an e-petition on this website, you will be required to give basic personal information to verify that the signature is genuine. Your name (but no other details) will be published on the e-petition website.
The email address is personal to one person, ie you, and can be used once to sign. No other person can use this email address to sign, even if they share it with you.
Petition Your Local Town Council:
Ampthill Town Council
Mrs D Sutherns
Clerk to Ampthill Town Council
66 Dunstable Street
Phone: 01525 404355
Fax: 01525 406957