Training 4: Building a Base

This is the fourth in a series of training sessions we’ve put together that provide a background for those interested in campaigning and community organising. The videos were filmed over a two-day training program involving workshops on community organising, strategy, building support for an issue, and using the platform.

Camp CommunityRun was designed based on ‘Camp Obama’, a training program that was originally used in the USA by the Obama 08 campaign, and was widely acclaimed as a crucial element in the success of their field campaigning. GetUp! has run similar camps before. Acknowledgements for this session material are found at the bottom of this post.

In this session Kirsty Albion explains how to build a base.

Filmed & produced by Change Media (

Building a Base

Building a base is all about building your ‘us’ – that is those people who care about your issue but are not currently taking action on it. Your mission is to find these people and persuade them to join in with you.
In order to build your base, first you have to understand who your base is.

Step One: Focus on WHO it is you are trying to reach

Building your base is not always about targeting every ‘random joe’ in the community. Think about those people within the community most likely to care about your issue. Have they been personally affected? Do they belong to a specific group? You want to target those people who will be actually willing to sign your petition, and better still take further action in your campaign. This will lead to the most effective use of your limited time and resources.

Step Two: WHERE do they ‘live’?

Once you know who you are trying to target, now it’s time to think about where you will find these people. Where do they hang out? Do they live in your community or are they further afield?

Like you, your supporters are busy people with many things going on in their lives and they may be involved in many causes. You can’t expect them to always automatically come to you, and therefore you must be willing to go to them. Consider where your potential followers are most likely to be and then start conversations and hold events where your supporters are going to be.

Step Three: HOW are you are going to reach them ?

Once you know who and where your supporters are, it’s time to brainstorm the ways in which you can get them to join your campaign. There are a variety of different means by which you can get your message out there and known by the people of your community. This includes holding a stall at your local markets, handing out flyers on the street and delivering letters in mailboxes. Consider also holding a community forum or engage with social media websites to spread your message on a broader scale. These are all simple things which you can do and can get other followers to help you out with as well. Once people have signed your petition you can use the contact details they have provided to communicate with them via email in the future. For example, you could ask them to come along to a event you wish to hold or urge them to take some other form of action themselves from home.

Also, remember that timing is everything. Consider whether there is a moment coming up that could help you to build up your base. This could be a rally being held, an important decision being made on the issue or something else. You could use this critical moment to get your campaign noticed by a wide number of people who are engaged with the issue and may be willing to help you out.

‘Building a base’ developed by GetUp staff (Sara Haghdoosti) adapted from ‘The Purpose Driven Church’, 1995, Rick Warren.