Using the Freedom of Information Act, I’ve found out the following about the number of campaign actions that DFID get each year.
Total number of actions and delivery method
Year Postcards E-mails Letters Petition signatures Total
2007 34,215 (38%) 31,514 (35%) 4503 (5%) 19,808 (22%) 90,040
2008 42,796(40%) 41, 683(38%) 4049(4%) 19,612 (18%) 108,140
Breakdown by Topic (2008)
HIV and AIDS 45,583 (42%)
Debt 22,675 (21%)
Trade 20,811 (19%)
Water 8137 (8%)
Health issues (excluding HIV and AIDS). 2962 (3%)
Rainforests 2152 (2%)
Fulfil G8 promises 993 (1%)
Burma 988 (1%)
Various other development issues, where we received less than 750 items 3839 (3% )
Breakdown by Organisation (2008)
Stop AIDS Campaign 33, 229 (31%)
Jubilee Debt Campaign 20,371 (19%)
Trade Justice Movement 13,809 (13%)
Tearfund 12,171 (11%)
Traidcraft 5321 (5%)
World Development Movement (WDM) 5451 (5%)
Oxfam 2,001 (2%)
ActionAid 2138 (2%)
UNICEF 2678 (2%)
MICAH Challenge 1039 (1%)
World Vision 1097 (1%)
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Burma) 862 (1%)
Various other organisations, where we received less than 750 items 7973 (7%)
Undoubtedly their is some double counting in the lists, but it still makes for interesting reading, and shows the relative mobilising strength of a number of the main campaigning organisations in the UK. Christian Aid are perhaps a surprise exception from the list, but looking at their website they focused almost exclusively on Climate Change in 2008.
It shows the fact that some coalitions are better at getting their members to run their actions. For example the 45,000 actions on HIV and AIDS of which about 25% didn’t come from Stop AIDS coalition, against the 22,000 on debt most of which came from the Jubilee Debt Campaign (although its shows the influence the campaign still has that they can mobilise that many supporters to take action).
Finally it raises the question how much did the different organisations make of the opportunities to use their postcards to influence policy. It’s all very well to have lots of postcards but they don’t do much to influence policy if they just end up in the DFID postroom. Looking at the list, I think Stop AIDS Campaign are one of the best examples of how to use their actions to maximum effect, holding a high-profile hand in the autumn with Ivan Lewis MP to hand over 14,000 actions on patent pools, and running a significant campaign earlier in the year around DFIDs new three year strategy on the issue. Its a good lesson to remember that without an effective strategy to use the actions you’ve generated
I’ve made a number of other requests and I hope to be able to share them with readers of this blog in the coming months, along with further analysis.