In this chapter, we explain what a campaign strategy is. We show various examples of different types of campaign strategies that activists use, and we provide you with workshops to help you write your own!
With a good campaign strategy, your movement or campaign makes more impact. In the articles below, we help you define what exactly the change is that you want to achieve, and what steps you need to take to get there.
Before you can start to define your strategy, you need to get a group of likeminded people together and organise yourselves. After you have defined your strategy, we recommend you to browse through our list of tactics to get inspiration.
Write your strategy
Other strategy guides
Political party strategy
The local context across countries can impact activists trying to develop their strategy in various ways. For example, the political system, the legal framework, the media landscape, the cultural norms, and the public opinion can all affect the opportunities and challenges that activists face. Depending on the context, activists may need to adapt their goals, tactics, messages, allies, and risks. Some general examples are:
In a democratic country with a strong civil society and a free press, activists may have more space to voice their demands and mobilize support through peaceful protests, petitions, campaigns, and lobbying.
In an authoritarian country with a repressive regime and a controlled media, activists may have less space to express their dissent and may face more threats and violence. They may need to use more covert and creative ways to communicate and organize, such as encryption, art, humor, or symbolism.
In a country with a diverse and divided society, activists may have to deal with different and sometimes conflicting interests and identities among their potential supporters and opponents. They may need to build bridges and coalitions across different groups and sectors, and avoid alienating or polarizing others.
In a country with a dominant and oppressive culture, activists may have to challenge deeply ingrained norms and values that justify or normalize injustice and discrimination. They may need to raise awareness and educate people about the issues they are fighting for, and use cultural expressions and narratives that resonate with their audience.
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Improve this chapter
You can make this chapter about campaign strategies better!
Some potential new sub-pages/sections:
What is a campaign strategy?
Types of campaign strategies:
Different models of categorising strategies, for example:
working within the system/challenging the system
violent or nonviolent?
How do develop your own strategy?
Writing a strategy for a new initiative
Improving your current strategy
💡 Vision gallery: To help people to think big and find a common vision.
⚡️ Forcefield analysis: To help you figure out what forces are working against you, and which are helping you move in the right direction.
🌳 Problem tree analysis (root cause analysis/problem analysis): To find the root causes of problems.
🚶 Critical path analysis: To find out what needs to happen to bring about change.
🏷 Naming political assumptions: To create a better understanding in the different ways people view the world.
Interventions: things your movement can change about society/in a community (see more in ‘types of strategies’)
- Add link to ‘power mapping’ guide on ‘stakeholders’ page
People are searching for:
Monthly global searches*
forms of activism
types of activism
How to deal with opposition
root cause analysis
How to be an effective ally
How to run an effective campaign
How to make your activism more effective
power mapping (overlap with irrelevant ‘power outage map’)
*According to Semrush
Creative Commons resources
Campaign Strategy: Start Here by Commons Library
Collection: Developing a Strategic Plan by Community Tool Box
Developing Strategic and Action Plans by Community Tool Box
Collection: Assessing Community Needs and Resources by Community Tool Box
Collection: Analyzing Community Problems and Solutions by Community Tool Box
Collection: Deciding Where to Start by Community Tool Box
Collection: Choosing and Adapting Community Interventions by Community Tool Box
Strategy by The Change Agency
Systems Thinking and Campaigning by Nicky Ison
Starting an initiative by the Citizen's Handbook
Campaign strategy by 10 Tactics
Book: The Politics of Nonviolent Action [Book] by Gene Sharp
How to Move from Vision to Action by Mary Joyce
Choose Your Own Activism Strategy Adventure by Mary Joyce
Developing Strategic Campaigns: An ITF Manual for Trade Union Activists, Educators and Organisers by International Transport Workers' Union
The People Power Manual by The Change Agency
Campaign strategy and planning by Change My Community
PDF: Research, Strategy and Targeting from Campaign Skills Handbook by National Democratic Institute
PDF: Building a campaign strategy from CMC Campaign Toolkit by Cluster Munition Coalition
Effective Political Campaign Strategies by Brendan Finucane (2023)
Political Campaign Strategies to Win an Election by Chunav Parchar (2023)