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Campaign Strategy

Campaign Strategy

Resources to enable groups to plan effective campaigns and other social change projects. These tools will help you assess the social and political situation, identify opportunities, map stakeholders, develop clear objectives, and come up with creative and powerful tactics.

You will find additional strategy guidance and inspiration in the case studies section.

Black and white photograph of a chess board with overturned king..

Campaign Strategy Planning Template

This planning template prompts you to apply a number of different campaign strategy, community organising, and civil resistance concepts and tools. Copy the template into your own document. As you complete each section delete the instructions (text in italics) until you have your own plan, or initial document to discuss in your organisation.

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Elements of Campaign Strategy

This overview of campaign strategy elements is offered to clarify language shared by campaigners. The elements include campaign focus and goals; vision; situational analysis; critical path analysis; organisational considerations; allies, constituents and targets; objectives; tactics; evaluation and success indicators.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

The Building Power Guide

The Building Power guide is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who want to change the world. It includes several training resources to build capacity for campaigning, such as explorations of change-making, power, strategy and leadership development.

Cover of Gene Sharp's 'The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Part Two The Methods of Nonviolent Action'

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

Stuck in a rut when it comes to campaign tactics? Explore Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action which are classified into three categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention.

A group of people stand on a bridge holding large letters spelling 'Global Goals'.

Tactics analysis

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to develop campaign strategy. Activists often love our tactics! We can even be wedded to our favourite tactics. Here’s a tool to help move from tactics to a larger strategy conversation by analysing tactics.

Cover of the report 'Networked Change: How progressive campaigns are won in the 21st Century'

Networked Change

Directed-network campaigns combine self-organized people power with enough centralized structure to focus on clear political and cultural targets. The Networked Change Report maps out the strategies and practices that made today’s most successful advocacy campaigns work.

Cover of Tim Gee's book 'Counter Power: Making Change Happen'

Frameworks for Winning Change

Social change can be messy and challenging work! It helps to have frameworks to make sense of the situations we find ourselves in and plan for the way ahead. This article outlines four models, by Martin Luther King, Jr, George Lakey, Bill Moyer and Tim Gee.

Moving The Rock: Shifting Power for Sustained Change

This article explores the ‘moving the rock’ concept put forward by Daniel Hunter in his book Strategy and Soul. The concept has been valuable for campaigners and organisations reassessing their theory of change and particularly how they engage politicians and supporters.

Photograph of a number of paper plates laid out on the ground with a person pointing at one. The plates have writing on them describing campaign steps.

Critical-path analysis

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to develop campaign strategy. Critical path analysis can shift focus to outcomes rather than tactics and provide experience and skill in defining clear objectives. The process also deepens understanding about how change happens and clarifies key threads running through a campaign.

Photograph of a large group of people in a rural paddock. They are holding signs and banners reading 'No Gas Mining on Our Prime Ag Land'.

Time to move the rock

A follow up article from a workshop presented at Progress 2015 by Holly Hammond and Sam La Rocca with a video presentation from Daniel Hunter. The workshop explored Daniel’s metaphor ‘politicians are like a balloon tied to a rock’.

People walk across an open square. The ground is painted with a calendar depicting days of the week and dates.

Tactical Timeline

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to develop campaign strategy. A tactical timeline can support the development of a strategy designed to win over third-party support. This exercise needs to be used after the spectrum of allies exercise. It can also be used to enrich a critical path.

Photograph of multiple pairs of metal scissors.

Cutting the Issue

A process guide to be used in training workshops and planning sessions to develop campaign strategy. This process will help reduce the scope of campaigns in order to focus efforts on where change can really be achieved, and consider the possible consequences of working on one part of a problem rather than others.

Picture of a red manual.

Campaign Strategy Guide

Social movements become more powerful as more people are equipped to analyse their political context, consider paths to change and mindfully plan tactics. This Campaign Strategy Guide equips activist educators to facilitate a range of participatory exercises with activists, organisers and citizens. It can also be used as a do-it-yourself guide for campaigners.

Cover of Original Power's Building Power Guide - features a drawing of a turtle in red.

Campaigning to Solve Our Issues

This is an introduction to campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Campaigning involves activating, mobilising, and organising people to make change and influence others to make change. This is an excerpt from Building Power: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Who Want to Change the World.

This is an Uprising

Joel Dignam reviews Paul and Mark Engler’s 2016 book This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century. TIAU is an analysis of social change, how it has occurred, and how contemporary campaigners may make it occur again.

Cover of the book 'How Organizations Develop Activists'.

How Organizations Develop Activists

Joel Dignam reviews Hahrie Han’s How Organizations Develop Activists. A key finding of Han’s research is that high-engagement chapters practise both organizing and mobilizing. The Voice for Indi campaign is considered as an Australian example of combining these two approaches.

A number of African American students sit along a lunch counter.

Lessons from the Greensboro Student Sit-ins

The Greensboro student sit-ins had nonviolence at their heart and succeeded, not only in their immediate goal, but also in building a lasting organisation in the SNCC. It stands now as yet another example of the successful use of nonviolence to stand against oppression.

A large crowd marches behind a banner reading 'Peoples Climate March'. The march is led by First Nations people. Marchers hold colourful placards depicting sunflowers. A large banner is held high reading 'Frontlines of Impact, Forefront of Change'.

Networked Change Campaign Grid

The Networked Change Campaign Grid provides a clear path for integrating top-performing approaches into your strategic planning and design process. This worksheet helps you apply the principles of the directed-network campaigning.

Protestors walk across the street with Stop Adani banners and placards.

Six building blocks of distributed organizing campaigns

To support organizations rolling out distributed organizing efforts, NetChange have put together a new campaign design framework drawn from best practices of the dozens of successful networks they have advised or studied closely.

Aerial photograph of huge crowd filling Federation Square and surrounding streets.

Tips for Turnout from Your Rights at Work

The Your Rights at Work campaign ran from 2005 to 2007 and included some of the largest mobilisations in Australian social movement history. This article draws out some of the lessons in relation to ensuring strong turn-out at rallies and other events.