What I learnt at Campaign Bootcamp

We’re often asked what we teach at Campaign Bootcamp. So, we asked a recent Bootcamp Graduate, Katie Cox, to explain in her words. Here’s what she said:

As a young campaigner fresh out of university and embarking upon a career in the non-profit sector, Bootcamp seemed like the ideal opportunity. I was expecting to gain a lot of skills and knowledge over the week which I hoped would stand me in good stead to be the best campaigner I could be. And I was not disappointed.


  • Designing a targeted campaign strategy
  • Finding an audience online
  • Building websites that will get people to take action (I now consider myself an HTML geek)
  • Writing more persuasive emails
  • Using social media to spread a message
  • Winning press coverage for a campaign
  • Surviving a campaign crisis
  • Fundraising to support a campaign
  • Job opportunities in the campaigning sector • Collaborating across a team

I also learnt that it is ok to be human. As a campaigner, it is easy to lose perspective and become very tired, ill and unable to make smart decisions. I learnt that this is known as burnout and when it happens, I am no use to anyone. More importantly, I learnt that it is so crucial to remember that other people are human too, and they are very, very busy. So it is important to take people by surprise (in a calm, non violent way) and to be as enthusiastic during the 43rd explanation of a theory of change as during the first.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, was how life-changing the Bootcamp experience would be. For a start, it has made me completely rethink the way I look at campaigning. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learnt at Bootcamp is that sometimes, just sometimes, I am wrong. It’s a hard pill to swallow but being a campaigner doesn’t automatically make me right. Whilst I may be campaigning with the greatest of intentions, there may be unintended consequences to a policy which I haven’t thought about. Hypothetically, for example, a minimum price on alcohol could have the unintended consequence of people buying bootleg alcohol and going blind.

But more than anything else, Bootcamp has begun to calm the blind panic I have been walking around with for the last few years. It can sometimes (always) seem like there is so much to do and so little time to do it. The list of things that I’d like to change about the world is endless, and I know that I can’t possibly change all of them on my own. Thankfully, I don’t have to. Bootcamp taught me that there are lots of dedicated, passionate people out there who want to make positive change. It’s incredibly reassuring to know that whilst you or I might be working on one thing, there are lots of people out there working on another, all aiming for one common goal of a better, fairer, world.

Meet the rest of the Class of 2013 here!