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Organizing a Campaign for Change

If you want to put together an activist campaign, it's critical to plan thoroughly. Haphazard organization is not only ineffective, but it can even set your cause back! That's the opposite direction you want to go in!

These tools are designed to help you evaluate, coordinate, and execute a plan of action to make change. Don't use these to exclusion or distraction, but they can give you valuable insight into how a campaign can be run effectively.


Issue Selection

When planning your semester, you want to have only one (possibly two) activist campaigns running at a time. But how do you decide? In this excerpt from the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) organizing guide, you can critically examine the issues that you and your members want to work on, and decide which to focus on and which to leave by the wayside. Obviously, the grid isn't infallible; your group may well find some component of an issue compelling, despite its perceived lack in other areas. Additionally, this grid works best for long-term campaign planning and selection - if an issue comes up suddenly, it can change how and if you proceed with a campaign. This excerpt from the SEAC guide (clickable through the fist) explains the hows and whys of the guide, and provides an example worksheet (filled out for an environmental group). Attached below, the .doc file entitled "Issue Selection Grid" is downloadable and modifiable version of the worksheet, which will allow your group to write in and change it for your particular circumstances.

The full SEAC guide is available at http://seac.org/sog/index.shtml.


Launching a Campaign

If you want to organize a campaign for change, you really need to think about the components and environment you're working with. But what do "constituency" and "power" mean in an activist context? This packet, excerpted from the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) organizing guide, gives you an idea of what goes into a successful activist campaign, what you need to plan for, and how to make sure that you reach your goals.

The full SEAC guide is available at http://seac.org/sog/index.shtml.

Strategy Chart

dfg You've got an issue you want to organize around - great! Now, how are you going to conduct your campaign to effectively, efficiently mobilize resources and make concrete change? This chart from the Midwest Academy forces you to focus on your main tasks: determining your goals and resources, how you can mobilize and employ them, and what targets and pathways you can focus on. You can also see an even more detailed version of this chart as a campaign strategy grid, which asks very detailed questions for advanced, long-term campaign planning.

This chart was found on Campusactivism.org (http://www.campusactivism.org/displayresource-676.htm). The Midwest Academy can be contacted at http://midwestacademy.com/.


Tactic Analysis

Whenever you're planning a campaign, an event, or an activity, you need to take into account the costs and benefits of the tactics you employ. How much time and energy will it take to write a press release versus an op-ed, and how much impact will it have? The tactic analysis worksheet shouldn't deter you from any tactic, or steer you into doing one exclusively, it will get you thinking about what you can realistically do, and how useful it is to do it. You can also expand this to minimize the effort that needs to go into one, while maximizing its effect. Try filling it out after an event to gauge its effectiveness, and save both sheets for your records! If you're not sure about how it works, see this short explanatory guide.

This chart was originally found at Campusactivism.org (http://www.campusactivism.org/displayresource-689.htm). It was originally developed by Shari Silverstein of the Quixote Center (http://quixote.org/).

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