The 5 steps to planning a great campaign:

Step 1: Identify the problem

Knowing exactly what you are trying to fix is the starting point for making it happen. This activity may help you to see the problem clearly and work out what to do about it.

Answer these three questions: 

1. What is the problem that needs to be solved? Be specific and give details

2. Why is the problem happening, what are the root causes? Why has it not been fixed yet?

3. How does the problem affect people and communities? What is the harm?

Step 2: Know your mission

Looking at your “problem identification” above, you can see many ways you could work to make a change. You could decide to take action to attack the problem itself, to get rid of one or more of the most serious consequences, or, you may decide to beat the root causes once and for all.

You may decide to do all three!

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Your mission needs to be:

Very clear: What exactly are you going to achieve?

Results driven: How will you know what has changed?

Possible: Could this actually happen?

Do-able: Do you have the time, skills and and ability to make it happen?

Well timed: When will it happen? Is that in good time for it to matter?

Step 3 Set your objectives

You know what needs to changed and you are going to change it -  but what will you do to achieve it? There are probably a hundred ways to try and make a change - but what will be the best plan?

Objectives are the steps you need to take to make your mission happen - they are the steps that lead to victory.

List all the things you will need to do to achieve your mission.

tactic word circle

Step 4  - Choose your tactics, tools and tricks

You know your mission, and the steps you need to take to achieve it, but there are many ways or “tactics” you might try to make each objective happen.

For example, if your objective is to raise awareness you might go “door to door” and talk to people in your community,  you might organise “a stunt” or you might make a video to share on social media.

Think of your first objective.  Which ways can you think of that you can achieve this objective?  

You might have some ideas based on particular skills, experience or connections in your group, or based on knowing something about the person/people you need to influence.

Think about how you might find ways to get others to work with you as part of your tactics.


Step 5 - Create a detailed timeline

For each activity you plan you also need a more detailed plan which shows all the tasks you will need to do to make it happen. You could use the guide of the 4 w’s to help you plan your actions.

What, When, Where, Who and How.

You  will need extra paper, or you may want to use an app or computer database, to do this for each of your objectives.

Plan the 5 W's for each action

  1. What will be done?

  2. When will it be done?

  3. Where will it be done

  4. Who will do it?

  5. How will it be done?

    We all start with what we know, but, even when that is a lot, we are often still only experts in our own “experience” of the problem. Checking our knowledge is up to date and finding out about the issue from other peoples’ point of view is essential.

    Researching the following questions will give you a good foundation on which to make decisions: 

    Research Questions

    1. Who has the power to make a decision/make the change you want to see (and what do they currently think about the issue)?

    2. Who else is already trying to fix the problem? Why have they not fixed it yet?

    3. What has caused the problem? (find out from as many viewpoints as possible)

    4. Who agrees this is a problem / who is affected by it?

    5. Who is trying to make a change now?

    6. Who is out there who might join you to make a change?

    7. What resources are available to help you? (are there community film projects / patient liaison staff / campaigning trainers / activists / libraries that lend technical equipment who can help you

    8. What exactly needs to happen change to fix the problem? (why is your solution right?)

    9. What are the laws, politics, and history that are relevant to this situation?

    10. How can your campaign safe? E.g. Are there any risks about having anyone in your team photographed / quoted / identified in the campaign

    11. What are the arguments people make against your idea for change? How can you respond to these criticisms or judgments?


    What’s already out there?

    There are a number of ways to find out what people are thinking and doing about your issue. It’s helpful to know who is on side, who is already involved in trying to make a change and who could cause you “problems”.

    • Look in newspapers, journals and books to see if the issue is being talked about

    • Run questionnaires and surveys online or in the community

    • Ask questions on social media

    • Search social media and online to find out what people are saying about the issue

    • Talk to people! People you know, people you don’t, MPs, councillors and local organisations

    • Search “the issue” alongside “your area” on the internet

    • Look for official “policy” documents or plans that are published by the government or councils on your issue

    • Visit and look at what people in power are doing about your issue

    • Contact local and national charities, citizens advice and community groups

    • Be open minded about who might be interested in your “issue”.

    Know your power

    We all have power as people and as part of our communities, families and groups. Understanding our own power, and understanding the power others have, can help us to win our change!

    People have all kinds of power and influence - sometimes we just don’t realise how much.


    power over others

    Because of who we are, we can often get people to do things. For example adults have the power to decide what their kids wear, bosses can decide what their workers do, politicians can decide who gets healthcare, houses, or visas, and people giving money to organisations can say what it can be spent on.


    Power with others

    We are all part of communities and groups.  Workers in a union can strike, parents can influence headteachers, people in a community can look out for each other and keep the place safe, people with friends at a club can ask them for help, and people can come together and vote, or have an influence in different ways.


    Power to do things

    We all have the power to decide what we do, how we spend our money and time, how we think, and what to participate in. We have the power, for example, to be nice to others, the power to refuse to spend money on something, and the power to do or not do what’s being asked of us.

    “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”
    — Alice Walker

    Who else has power?

    “They” have power too.

    “They” might be the people in the groups, businesses, political positions, and organisations where we need change to happen. Understanding how their power works helps us to find the best way to use our own power to make a change.

    Power can be obvious, like a boss or a teachers power, but it can also be invisible. Sometimes, for example, people make decisions for groups without talking to them or hearing their views. This can happen a lot in politics, like when councils have a certain number of people who make decisions for the whole community without letting them be part of the meeting or discussion.


    Map out who has power

    A Power Map is a drawing which maps out all the connections and influences a person has. The power map could be centred on you, someone in power you want to influence, or on your group or community.  


    1. To start a power map, draw a circle in the middle of a page and put the name of the person, community or organisation whose power you are trying to “draw out” in the middle.

    2. Around the person make circles for all the people, businesses and communities who influence or have have power over them, or who they are “linked to”.  This may include a person’s partner and family as well as people in their social, religious, business or political community. (try to give specific names and details)

    3. Then, around all those people,  add the people who influence or who are connected to all the people you have just written down.  Eventually everyone in the world could be connected somehow to the person being mapped!

    4. Once all the people and places that can influence someone are drawn out,  it’s easier to see who we can “use” to find a way to influence a person we need to act for change.

    next steps

    It may help you to draw three power maps for your campaign.

    1. A power map that has your group in the middle, and that shows all the people and places that you are connected with - where you have some contacts and power
    2. A power map about the person or organisation you are targeting with your campaign. Take some time to get to know them, what they are involved in, who they know, and carefully draw out all the groups and people that have an influence on them.
    3. Draw a power map with your “issue in the middle. Then draw around it everyone who is linked to that issue, and everyone who influences all those groups and people.

    Look through your power maps and see if you can find any connections in common, or any routes that your group could follow through the connections to force a change.  

    If you can’t see a route, the next step is to make a plan to place your group as a powerful influence in their circle. You might push your way in by starting to affect a persons workforce, supporters, or by connecting yourself publicly and stating your wishes though the media.


    We live a life that’s managed, affected and controlled by elected and unelected leaders and politicians, big and small businesses and employers, and the local, national and global societies we live in. 

    Together, these people and groups make decisions and laws affecting every part of our lives and deaths. Chances are whatever issue is affecting you, these people, groups and organisations have a hand in it. 

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    Who works for us and what do they do?

    In the UK we get our politicians or representatives mainly through a democratic system, where (most) people have a right to vote for the leaders and politicians they think will do the best job for them.

    A person who wants to get and keep power has to persuade the most VOTING people to support them, and, if elected, they have to be seen to work for them, or they may soon “be out”. They also need to keep the people who give them money onside.

    Everything they do is on public record and we can call them out on what they do, don’t do, what they plan and what they say.

    There’s lots of different elected representatives responsible and accountable for different things. If you can find out who has the power to help you- then you can work how to get them to act.  

    Sisters Uncut disrupt a councillors' meeting in Portsmouth to protest cuts to domestic violence services in 2016. 

    Sisters Uncut disrupt a councillors' meeting in Portsmouth to protest cuts to domestic violence services in 2016. 


    There are different types of local councils elected to make decisions for the people in their local area on issues like education, transport, planning, fire and public safety, social care, libraries, waste management, trading standards, community services and local facilities.

    They have a responsibility to talk with communities and find out what they want and need. Some places have a Unitary authority or a metropolitan borough council with even greater power as they are also responsible for services like fire, police and public transport


    Members of Parliament (MP's)

    There are 650 UK MP’s elected to make laws and represent people from their area in the House of Commons (London).  MP’s come from different political groups or “parties” that have their own idea about how the UK should work. The party of MP’s who wins the most votes at the election become “the Government” and MP’s from other parties become “the opposition”, whose job it is to keep checks on the government for what they do.

    MPs usually try and push the ideas that their party believes in, however, they can also bring up things that matter to people and groups and they should not forget they work for us!  MPs can also have influence on other countries, businesses and communities around the world. You can email, call or visit your MP about an issue or idea - if they are not the right people to help - they should tell you who is.

    The current PM is Theresa May and this is her cabinet. 

    The current PM is Theresa May and this is her cabinet. 

    PRime minister (PM) and cabinet 

    The Prime Minister is the leader of the government, an MP and also the person who gives extra responsibility to about 20 MPs to lead on issues such as education, law, health and immigration. This group of senior MPs and the Prime Minister are called “the cabinet”. The Prime Minister has to answer to other politicians, e.g. the opposition, and to the public.

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    The house of Lords 

    The people in the House of Lords are given their jobs by other politicians, or are there because their role is a “family right”. The Lords can accept or reject laws the government puts forward, and also act to keep the government in check.  Lots of the people in the Lords are experts or care about particular topics - they can be helpful and influential. The House of Lords and the House of Commons together are called the UK Parliament. 

    european parliament

    Members of the European Parliament (MEP's)

    73 MEP’s are elected to represent people from different areas of the UK in the European Union (based at Brussels in Belgium). They make laws and decisions on things like human rights, employment, business, the environment and more for 28 countries in the European Union. The UK is still a member for now, despite the Brexit vote.

    Laws in the UK are made either through Parliament or the courts.

    If a law is made through Parliament it follows these steps:

    Step1 - Proposal and vote

    A new idea for a law can be put forward by any individual or group in the House of Lords or the House of Commons.  
    Firstly the person introduces their idea and says why they think it is important.  Members of “the house” can then ask questions, suggest changes, and say if they agree or disagree with the idea for the new law. 
    If enough people vote to say they think it is a good idea,  it moves on to the next stage. If most people vote against the idea, it is thrown away. 

    Step 2 - Amendments and Consultation

    A group of MPs and Lords meet to go through every word and detail in the new law, and they can make changes or “amendments”  discuss the idea. There are votes on all amendments and changes.

    Once a “bill” is acceptable to everyone in one of the houses, it then goes to the other house to start the same process again. If any changes are made then the bill has to be looked at again by both the houses of parliament until everyone is happy with the wording and can make a final vote

     At this point there is often a period of “consultation” where individuals and groups can get their voices heard - either by using the consultation tools the government offers, or by making some noise.

    Step 3 - the final vote

    Both houses of parliament make a final vote on the new law. If both houses vote to say they agree with the new law it will move to the final stage. If most people disagree with the law and vote against it, it is thrown out. If the two houses cannot agree on a law, the House of Commons get the final say as they are elected.  

    Note: Usually people from different political parties vote the same way as the other MPs in their group, and this can make it difficult for a government to get new laws “passed”, especially if they won an election, but not by so many voted. Then, they have to persuade people from the other parties to vote with them.

    The final stage is that the new law, called a bill, is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent. When she signs the bill, the law becomes active.

    Step 4 - Royal Assent

    How are laws made through the courts?

    Baroness Hale is one of the UK's most senior judges

    Baroness Hale is one of the UK's most senior judges

    When a legal case is brought to court, a judge or team of judges has to decide what the law means in a particular situation. When the judge makes a decision in a case, their judgment and reasoning can affect decisions in future similar cases - this is called case law. 

    In new situations, where new laws are being used for the first time, or something has happened that has never happened before, the court case is known as a test case. What happens in that situation, and how the judge interprets the law has an impact on future cases. 

    Case law and test cases can be very useful to campaigners.

    How you can get involved in making, shaping or changing laws

    • You can show their is public support or opposition to a new law
    • You can take part in consultations on new laws and say how you think it will effect you and your community 
    • You can write to any MP and ask them to propose a new law or change an existing law
    • Depending on the situation you can work with others to take a case to court (a test case) or to start a judicial review


    Successful groups

    Have you ever been part of a really good group or team?  What were the things that made this group work well, or made it work?

    There’s no such thing as a perfect group, but there are some things that happen in nearly every group that succeeds. If your group works towards (or has) these things - you will be more likely to succeed and have a healthier time in the process



    Everyone is working towards a clear and agreed goal that they believe in.

    Could you explain what you want to achieve with your campaign to a stranger in 60 seconds?

    Try asking everyone in the group to write down what they see the agreed goal to be, and then swap and compare your answers. The goal might change, that's ok, so long as everyone has the same understanding of what it is. 



    Everyone knows their part in making the goal happen - there is a clear plan. People have a role to do that they can do, or a way to learn how to do it.

    Can you describe your role and other people’s roles in the campaign clearly?

    Would the others in the team say it the same way?



    The group has a way to communicate that works for everyone involved, so people have the info they need, when they need it. They make time to share, hear and try to understand different ideas and perspectives. Communication about what they are doing is honest, appropriate and accurate.

    • How do you communicate in your group?

    • How do you communicate outside your group?

    • What could be done to improve?


    Everyone knows how decisions are made, what’s going on and what they are expected to do in their role.

    The group prevents confusion, people feeling lost, and brings the best out  of people, which helps people to stay committed and use their precious time and energy wisely.


    Everyone feels trust with each other and a commitment to what you are doing. Everyone takes responsibility to get things done. The the group relies on each other and everyone is appreciated for what they do. 

    How could you continue to build trust in your group?



    People  are able to share ideas and concerns, disagree with each other, and make mistakes.

    Activities and discussions happen at a time, in a place, and in a way that means everyone can take part. People have the chance to ask for help and offer helpful feedback. The group knows the work can be emotionally hard and people can “burn out”- people don’t put too much pressure on each other.

    What are the ways your group will support people?


    People feel “safe” enough to suggest unusual or daring ideas, and take risks on trying new things.  The team talks about which risks are worth taking.

    Has your team said no to any new or risky ideas? How did you make that decision?

    Does your group respond well to new ideas?

    What risks do you think are too big to take?

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    The group handles difficult days and mistakes positively - growing stronger by  admitting, talking though and learning from mistakes. 

    Everyone has a chance to say how things are going and to give suggestions as to how things might be done more efficiently or happily.

    Achievements are celebrated together 

    Has your team made any mistakes? How did you handle it?


    Building a strong team takes time and some thought. Using the list below either alone, or with your group to try and work out your:

    1. Team Strengths: for example “we know a lot about the topic”.

    2. Team Challenges: for example “we argue a lot”, “we aren’t sure what to do”.

    3. Team Opportunities: for example “there is a training event coming up”, “someone in our team has a talent in” etc. 

    4. Team Threats: for example “we don’t have much time”.

    Knowing the different strengths, experience and skills that you have and that your team has, will help you plan what to do, and make you more likely to succeed.

    You have the skills you need 

    The skills you use to manage everyday life - like looking after someone, dealing with public services, sorting activities for kids, dealing with neighbours and work colleagues, or managing a household budget are exactly the skills that are needed to run a successful campaign.

    Play to your strengths 

    If everyone in your team is good at talking to people, but everyone is less confident on social media, work to your strengths and build your plan around meeting people in the “real world”. 

    If everyone in your team hates talking publicly - you might try an action that lets you communicate without feeling stressed, or, you could do training to build confidence and skills

    What are your skills? Look at the list below and “rate” yourself honestly from 1-3. If you struggle, ask someone who knows you to give you some help.

    • I'm a practical hands on person
    • I'm a planner, organised and into details
    • I'm confident, I can talk to anyone
    • I'm persuasive - I can get people to do things
    • I'm connected, I know a lot of people
    • I'm a thinker - I can work through problems
    • I'm good at supporting the people around me
    • I'm creative and have lots of ideas
    • I'm trustworthy, reliable, dedicated
    • I know a lot about 'our issue' 
    • I know a lot about campaigning
    • I see whats going well and whats not
    • I'm a good communicator
    • I'm determined, I'll help others get things done 
    • I'm positive, I motivate other people 
    • I'm a social media whizz 
    • I'm flexible and calm when things change
    • I'm respectful of different ideas and views
    • I can bring out the best in people 
    • I'm good with money - nothing will be wasted
    • I'm a performer, entertainer or public speaker
    • I'm good at working with technology and computers 
    • I'm good at handling disagreements

    Next steps

    People do best when they work on tasks they like doing. Thinking about the types of jobs above, is there anything you really enjoy doing and anything you would rather never do again?

    1) Draw a line through the ones you would rather never do, and put a mark next to the things you’d really like to do

    2) Next time you meet up with your group, share the things you are good at and enjoy, the things you are good at but enjoy less, and the things you find difficult / hard to do. This info sharing should help you make better decisions.

    3) If you find you have some gaps in important knowledge or skills in the group, you  might want to find people who can help you with training or support. Creating a local “resource map” is a good activity to do - not only does it mean you will know who to call, but it means other people will find out about you, your work as you go round. Bonus.