How to plan a campaign

When planning your own campaign, remember - simple is effective. Use the questions below to help you work out what you need to do.

What exactly is the problem and can you prove it exists?

  • Be specific
  • Break big issues into smaller ones and tackle one bit at a time
  • Gather evidence such as personal stories, statistics, relevant policies and their impact, and recent news coverage.

What are the solutions and what do you want to achieve by campaigning?

  • What are the solutions to your problems and is there evidence to suggest they are workable?
  • Is a campaign necessary or are there other ways to address your concerns such as a formal complaints procedure?
  • If campaigning is necessary, be specific about what you want to achieve and how.

Who do you need to influence?

Try to identify the right people for the change you want to see. Think about all the people involved and what they might be able to do to help.

These are some examples of who you might need to influence:

  • Managers of services or businesses

    Managers can help if the issue relates directly to their business or service. They can change policies, procedures and practices. They can take your concerns to the management team or board of directors.
  • Local government

    Local authorities can make changes to local services they provide such as social care, education, local roads and transport, refuse collection etc. Councillors can change the authorities’ policies, decide how the council’s budget is spent and put pressure on to change things.

    Via the Government website, you can find out how local governments are structured, how decisions are made, and how to make complaints.

  • Members of Parliament (MPs)

    The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. That means your MPs is your representative in Parliament. They vote to make policy and law and they hold the Government to account. They can raise your concerns in parliament, they can write to the relevant minister; they can influence local issues, and much more.

    Via the Parliament website, you can find out more about MPs and how parliament works. Also check out the ‘Parliament Explained’ podcast.

    If you are in Wales, note that certain policy areas are devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

  • Contacting representatives

    To find out who represents you, more about them, and how to contact them, use Write to them website.

How will you gain support for your campaign?

  • Find out if there are decision makers who are sympathetic to your cause and willing to support you. You can try using They work for you website
  • Local or national organisations (like Sense) may already be working on larger campaigns related to yours. It may be more effective to join their campaign and/or ask them to support yours
  • Engage with relevant local community groups
  • Publicity can be a useful mode of getting wider support

What will be the most effective campaign method?

What methods would be most effective in influencing the people you have identified? Could it be writing an email/letter, arranging a meeting, setting up an e-action/petition or perhaps a more public demonstration?

Consider what order actions should take and how they can be coordinated to create a bigger impact.

First published: Thursday 7 June 2012
Updated: Wednesday 5 April 2017