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Questions campaigners should ask regularly

Been challenging myself to ask more questions. Here are a few I think I should be asking more often.

1 – What does ‘success’ look like? A fundamental question to ask regularly. The answer should have both a specific and detailed response, as well as a reflection on what you want your campaign to achieve in the long term.

2 – What has the real influence here? Who can deliver the change we want? Its easy to focus on campaigning towards a target we feel comfortable with, or we’ve approached before. A through power analysis should be central to any campaigning we do, and from that an informed strategy. I’ve always thought that the right target is whomever can wake up tomorrow and deliver your campaign ask.

3 – What do you really need from us? A question any organisations with resources should ask to those within its movement, campaigns often succeed because of the variety of voices working on a issue. Sometimes that’s in formal coalitions, where resources are distributed in formal ways, but even in more informal coalitions, ensuring that others partners in your movement have what they need is essential. The answer isn’t always money, sometimes its political insight, sometimes its practical resources or access to technology.

4 – Do we really need to campaign here? This might sound like a counter intuitive question, but launching a campaign should be a tactic if other more ‘insider’ approaches aren’t going to work, rather than an initial response. Why? Campaigning comes at a cost, it’s resource intensive, and often the success we’re looking for can be delivered by a well placed ‘insider’ interventions.

5 – What would we do with twice the resource? All campaigns operate in a resource scarce environment, where their are trade offs to be made, asking this question is a great way of checking that you’re allocating the resources that you do have the most efficient and effective way. If you’d do more on one thing that you’re already doing, then perhaps you should look to redistribute the resources you already have.

6 – What are we learning? What would you do differently next time? Finding time to evaluate in the midst of a campaign isn’t always easy, but by asking what you’d do differently helps to ensure future campaigns win. Planning times for quick evaluation should be at the heart of any campaign.

What questions would you add?

Comments

1 Comment

Natasha Adams

Thanks Tom, interesting post as always. Great to see you getting into your stride on the blog again with regular thoughts!

The 2 part question I would add, as an activism/people power geek is:

7 – Where do we draw our power from? How can we use this to achieve the change we seek?
Campaigns theories of change can rest upon on fantastic research, top level insider advocacy, broad e-campaigns with big numbers and deeply engaged activists who lead from the ground. The mixture of these and other tactics shows where your campaign gets its power from – this obviously needs sense checking against what is necessary to achieve your aims!

I suppose this leads into a further question:

8 – If your campaign replies on people power, will you be able to achieve your change through huge numbers from an online petition? Or through the tireless work of grassroots activists in communities? Or do you need both?

Post from Jim Coe on Hahrie Han’s recent book delves into this thinking a bit more: http://www.coeandkingham.org.uk/strategy/mobilising-vs-organising/


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