We all know that campaigning has been going through a bit of a rough patch, with the lobbying act and all. However, I was still taken aback when someone referred to campaigning as the “C” word. A little strong, maybe. However, as I go round the country talking to people as part of the foundation’s Social Change Project, it becomes increasingly clear just how much of a problem language can be.
SMK TeamHow Plato can help us redefine campaigning
In a new report from the innovation foundationÂ Nesta, called We Change the World: How Social Movements Influence Health and Wellbeing, I argue that campaigning is more an art than a science. I point out that there is no fixed model, no curriculum, no rules and no guarantee. Furthermore, I say that campaigning is about reading power and understanding where change might come from.
Sue TibballsThree books signal new interest in social action
Having previously been a civil society advocate and campaigner, I often wondered what the most successful tactics were to influence policymakers. I then took up a job in the civil service in environmental policy, and for the past fewÂ yearsÂ I had the opportunity to see what civil society advocacy looks like from the âother sideâ â in government.Â
AnonymousGuest blog: Top 10 Campaigning Tips: Insights from an ex-civil servant
With Parliament in recess itâs a good time for policy wonks and campaigners to reflect on the year just gone â and the year ahead. And looking back, what a yearÂ itsÂ been: if nothing else, politics has started to get interesting again.
In the short term, the recent election may not have changed much on the ground, but it was certainly a sign that the public mood is shifting. A warning shot across the bows of austerity Â â with public services now all too clearly struggling and the deficit still growing,Â people are asking if the very real pain is worth the ever-receding gain of a budget surplus.Â Add to this the continued uncertainty over Brexit, and the deep divisions within both the main political parties on this issue â as well as in the country as aÂ whole,Â and the futureÂ looksÂ as clear as mud.
Belinda PrattenGuest blog: Politics has just got interesting again
A year on from the EU referendum, I want to offer some reflections on the Remain campaign, why it lost and the lessons those of us engaged in campaigning for social change can take from the experience.
Twelve months ago, I woke up to the news Iâd been dreading for months â the UK had voted to leave the European Union. In the run-up to the referendum my partner and I would regularly turn to each other and say, âWeâre going to lose this, arenât we?â, usually after hearing a politician or commentator talking about the referendum in terms we believed wouldnât connect with a lot of people.
Emma TaggartGuest blog: Raising our game â lessons for social change campaigners from the EU referendum
Rumours are swirling that charities have been silenced by the Lobbying Act during the election period, prevented from speaking out in support of their beneficiaries or cause.Â The Guardian, for example, reports that âsector leaders feel muzzledâ by the Act. But while it has undoubtedly helped to create a âchilling climateâ for campaigning, its impact must not be exaggerated: charities should â indeed must â carry on campaigning.
With three recent reports saying that campaigning is a central function of charities, itâs time for clarity on the attitude of government, says our columnist
Three major reports about the voluntary sector have appeared in recent weeks: one from theÂ House of Lords Select Committee on Charities; another from theÂ Lloyds Bank Foundation; and the third from the sector think tankÂ Civil Exchange. All look at the challenges facing charities and all are emphatic on one point: the absolute centrality of campaigning for charities and other voluntary sector organisations.
Sue TibballsGovernment should be clearer on charities and campaigning
Measurement and evaluation is often a fraught business, particularly when the things being evaluated are as complex as campaigns.Â I remember Jim Coe, a campaign consultant, telling me that the best tools for evaluating a campaign are a pen and a piece of paper. In other words, there is no model or fixed approach that can just be rolled in.
Professional campaigners are under a lot of pressure to demonstrate their impact and prove their return on investment. They often have to set targets and milestones, and show a whole linear journey that can demonstrate that their campaign has achieved what it set out to do. For campaigns aimed at achieving a change in policy or law, this can be relatively straightforward. For campaigns to change attitudes or behaviour, this is much more difficult. As a result, much campaigning is now focused on that which can be measured.
Sue TibballsDon’t design campaigns to fit evaluation models
The chief executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation reports from her trip to another continent.
I am writing this from a warm and fragrant Nairobi garden. The Sheila McKechnie Foundation is here in Kenya delivering advocacy training to childrenâs rights organisations from all over east Africa. The difference in their local contexts is, of course, profoundly different from the context here in the UK. The people we are training are working to prevent high incidences of child marriage and female genital mutilation, and to stop children being recruited into the militia, left to live on the streets or forced into domestic labour.
It has become a platitude to say that we live in increasingly complex and unpredictable times. In this âage of anxietyâ that such a climate is creating, we need really strong leadership like weâve never needed it before.
As the author and strategy consultant Robert Phillips says, we need leaders who can âactively embrace complexity and dissent; transform old, rigid, super-tanker organisations into open and adaptive social movements; and make themselves vulnerable and accountable to the many, not the few; to campaign together, in new and sometimes surprising coalitions, for public value and the common goodâ.
Sue TibballsWe need strong leaders. Why not campaigners?
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