This is the fifth 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 CommunityRun.org 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.
Sam McLean draws on the previous sessions to talk about running CommunityRun campaigns.
Bringing It All Together: Running Your Campaign on CommunityRun
So, now that we’ve covered the basics on creating your stories and considering how strategy can be used, it’s time to tie all this together and really delve into how you can use the CommunityRun platform to create an effective campaign. CommunityRun is all about firstly creating a petition and then using this a springboard to start a wider movement.
Many of you may be wondering why we have chosen to use petitions as the tool of CommunityRun. We are of the view that creating a petition will not necessarily create change. From our experience, almost every good campaign starts with a petition and almost every bad campaign ends with a petition. We have hundreds and hundreds of petitions on CommunityRun and the harsh reality is that many of them won’t work. This is because so many petitions start out on a piece of paper or a website and then they stay there. They get forgotten about and no action gets taken. Petitions are not going to deliver themselves and politicians or the targets of petitions are not simply going to stumble across them, without you actually doing something with it.
Having said this, there have been many hugely successful campaigns which have started with a petition. It’s about knowing how to use this tool effectively in a way that will have impact and create a movement beyond simply signatures on a page.
The beauty of creating petitions on CommunityRun lies in the ability for you collect signatures both on and offline and combine these together to maximise the support you receive for your campaign. Running a petition online holds many benefits over traditional hard-copy versions. For those who sign hardcopy petitions, their involvement in the campaign often stops at that point. Perhaps they’ll see it on the news or read about the issue in the paper, but other than that supporters are often never communicated with again. With CommunityRun petitions however, those who sign the petition receive a thank you email straight away and then after this, the organisers of the campaign have the ability to keep their supporters up to date with the goings on of the campaign using CommunityRun’s email tool. This ensures that followers are not only informed, but are also motivated to take further action on the campaign and helps to create the ‘army’ that will help you to achieve your campaigns goals.
Making the most of ‘Crisitunities’
An important lesson that has been learnt at GetUp over the past few years is that it’s all about making the most of what we call ‘Crisitunities’ – meaning the meeting point between a crisis and an opportunity. It’s about learning how to turn situations that arise that may seem to be crises, into opportunities for your campaign to really ‘explode’.
While some campaigns started on CommunityRun will take off immediately, gaining thousands of signatures in a matter of days, some others will fail to ever really succeed as the timing may not be right. Before deciding to start a campaign, think about when would be the most effective time to do so. If its not now, perhaps consider holding off until the timing is right. Is there a critical moment or event coming up which could help build momentum for your campaign? If you do chose to hold off for a while, you can still begin to make preparations and start building a network within your community. That way, if a ‘Crisitunity’ does arise you’ll have the tools to make use of that fertile moment straight away.