by | May 21, 2024

Reflections from a judge on this year’s SMK National Campaigner Awards

Tom Baker, Director: Politics, Participation and Campaigns at Save the Children, shares great insights into what really stood out for him as an Awards judge this year.

I had an absolute blast being a judge for SMK’s National Campaigner Awards this year. I would 100% recommend watching back the ceremony if you’re looking for an hour of campaign inspiration.

I also took away some important learning as someone who leads campaigning at Save the Children so thought I would share these lessons with you.

Four lessons I took from reviewing the applications:

1.Get creative

So many of the applications we’re exploring new ways to tell the story, get powerful images for their campaigns and reach new audiences – from using film and immersive theatre, to performance art outside of company HQs, to travelling exhibitions. It’s time to think creatively to cut through.

2.Effective change takes many routes

SMK’s Social Change Grid is a great tool with a powerful reminder that change takes many different routes. The Awards show that – from legal advocacy, to engaging in policy consultations, to taking the campaign direct to some of the most powerful campaigns are winning across the Social Change Grid. If you’re not regularly thinking about different routes to change, then I’d have a look at the Grid for some helpful ideas.

3.We need to back inspired individuals

There are some amazing individuals leading powerful and authentic campaigns for change (check out the Campaigner of the Year nominations for some powerful examples). For those of us in bigger organisations, we need to find better ways to support and amplify these voices.

4.We can win!

Campaigning towards the government has been tough in the last few years, but from forcing a U-turn on station ticket office closures, to getting million of pounds divested from fossil fuels, to challenging sexist reporting in the media – the Awards show that campaigns are winning. Inspiration for us all.

You can watch this year’s awards in full here.

Tom Baker

Tom Baker is Director: Politics, Participation and Campaigns at Save the Children. Tom has led campaigns on global issues for over 20 years and, alongside his work, writes a blog on campaigning at



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