How to run a campaign - cont.
It is important to define clearly who the audience is for a campaign. Different audiences demand different approaches, and are accessible in different ways. The audience or audiences that are targeted in a campaign should be worked out by looking at the aims and objectives. For example, if a campaign is seeking to get a certain piece of legislation passed. the primary audience has to be politicians, because they have the most influence over this. Secondary audiences might include any group that can influence politicians, such as the general public of Jewish political organisations.
The decision about who the primary audience is for a campaign is determines what methods should be used to meet the campaign objectives. Once the audience is set, the methods can be worked out.
There are, broadly speaking, two potential audiences for campaigns. The first is the public, including students and perhaps the wider community. The second audience is a more limited audience of public and corporate officials. These two audiences are reached in completely different ways. If a campaign aims to get Pepsi to refuse to join the BDS movement, then the primary audience needs to be people working at Pepsi, and handing out leaflets at college is useful only so far as it creates pressure on Pepsi.
Methods to use with the public
General student support for the issue you’re campaigning about is valuable in and of itself. Try to get student support, and support of the general public, in the following ways:
Remember to go off campus to get support from the general public. One method for raising awareness and garnering support can be using a ‘pyramid’ structure, where supporters enlist people they know. Ask supporters to give out leaflets, help raise money for a charity campaign once they have already given a bit of money, or talk to their friends to build wide support for a campaign.
Methods to use with public officials
Before engaging in a campaign to influence a certain politician or company, it is first necessary to do a bit of research. There is nothing worse than organizing a demonstration against a politician when they didn’t even do what you thought they did. Next, once you are sure that they really are as bad as you suspect, approach them formally and ask them to change. Although in many situations there is little chance that there will be a big change in behaviour just because you ask, a polite approach at the start of a campaign keeps things civil. Documenting what is said in this meeting ensures that they can’t lie about what went on later.
Researching officials by influencing the wider student community and the public
Wider student community support for certain issues can also create pressure on decision makers. Once student support has been obtained, work to demonstrate the strength of this support. If a campaign aims to get student support in order to show leaders that their constituents want them to take a certain action, it is important to show people how strong this support is.
Approaching officials directly
Most democratic representatives, including student leaders, are accessible to voters and other interested parties. It is possible to write to, and to meet with, most leaders, in most countries. Follow the general guidelines for approaching them directly. Primarily, this means being polite, making it clear that you are approaching them as an individual, being factual, and being clear about what action they are expected to take.