Hot tips for OurActionStation campaigners
Here are some of the practical things we’ve learned in working together for change - put together for the citizen campaigners using the OurActionStation community platform.
Scroll down to find resources on setting up a petition, growing the petition, communication, using social media, attracting media, mobilising offline, meeting your MP, tips on strategy, delivering your petition and more.
The OurActionStation platform puts the power in your hands to run campaigns to make a difference in our communities for a fair and flourishing New Zealand Aotearoa.
✊ Go to: About OurActionStation
Setting up an OurActionStation petition
A petition can be the way to build a supporter base for an effective campaign. Here’s a few simple points and FAQ for setting up a petition:
Getting more signatures
You’ve started on your campaign journey, launched a petition and got the first wave of signatures. After a week it tends to level off — so how do you continue to build support without a feature on the front page of the NZ Herald?
The following guide has suggestions that will help you think of options. This is a list of tactics, things that will move the campaign forward. It may be one tactic that suits your campaign especially, or a combination of tactics that work together at different times.
🚀 Go to: Getting more signatures
🚀 Watch: Getting more signatures, a recording of a training seminar (1hr)
Communication and your campaign
During your campaign you’re able to send an email to your supporters at any time. What do they need to know about what’s happening next? What can they do that will help the campaign move forward? How will they be part of the eventual success?
You’ll also be repeating your message in different ways to different audiences over and over. How do you know what works and what doesn’t? You could spend lots of money on a focus group, or testing your messaging is something that can be as simple as getting petition signatures on the street and finding out what motivates your supporters.
🔥 Go to: Communication and your campaign
🔥 Watch: How to write a great email to your supporters, 38 Degrees (UK) (4min)
Check out these examples from other campaigners:
For a deep dive into writing great emails, this is a recording of an online training session with Marianne Elliott, co-founder of ActionStation and The Workshop talking about how to write motivating and effective emails for your campaign.
🔥 Watch: How to write great emails — (1hr, starting from 7min 20s)
Using social media
Social media has become an integral part of most activism and campaigning. It is often the face of a campaign, how people hear of and engage with the issue and also enhances offline activities.
The following recording is of a one hour online training led by Andrew Tobert, Digital Mobilisation Specialist at Greenpeace Aotearoa NZ.
Mobilising and campaigning offline
An online petition and social media presence is a great way to find a supporter base, but how do we go about involving and mobilising other people so they build the campaign too? Making the most of supporters, volunteers and campaign team members can bring the issue into the real world, growing support, creating visibility and meeting the campaign goals.
The following recording is of a one hour online training led by Niamh O’Flynn, Director of climate action group 350 Aotearoa.
🌏 Watch: Take your online campaign offline training seminar (1hr)
Getting petition signatures offline
As you’ll know, your online petition can be downloaded to collect physical signatures. There’s a few little tricks that can make a difference to getting people to sign to support the campaign, and ways you can support your volunteers collecting signatures.
Mobilising supporters to collect signatures can build local support; it can mobilise off an online or media event and vice versa; it is great for having real conversations, getting real-time feedback and refining your communication around the campaign.
The following recording is of a one hour online training led by experienced campaigner and 350 Aotearoa volunteer Erica Finnie.
Working with the media
Media is an important tool to communicate with a wider public. What are some of the tricks to getting media stories for your campaign? How do you decide on an angle? What are the tips to writing a great media release? What can you do to make sure journalists pick it up as a story?
The following recording is of a one hour and twenty minute online training led by Simon Oosterman, an experienced advocate and activist who led the YesWeCare campaigns for health funding and a mental health inquiry.
For press releases:
☄ An example of a media release from the Universal dental care community campaign
☄ Tips for writing a media releases: Writing a media release
☄ Contact list for main media news desks: Media list
Meet your MP
One on one conversations with our elected representatives are effective in sharing ideas and influencing decisions. You can find out their position on your issue and also start to build a relationship for a long term campaign. It shows MPs that there are real people behind the issue and can inform your decisions on which tactics will work best to make change.
✊ For inspiration check out what Victor learnt from meeting his MP: How I met my MP to change the conversation around our justice system
Useful tools for the online campaigner
A citizen campaigner often has to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and take on the roles of writer, designer, communications and IT! The following are websites that can help you when you and your team have these jobs to do.
Level up: Campaign strategy 101
Strategy is within every little action of a campaign journey and really comes down to asking some simple questions:
- What’s our vision of a positive future?
- What’s the current problem and how does it affect people?
- What could be different to fix it? What’s our solution and how would that benefit people?
- Who or what organisation has the power to do that?
- Who can influence them? How do we get their attention and convince them to do that?
- What makes this urgent?
The answers to these questions will help you make choices on what to do and as your campaign grows. So when you look at creating social media content, attracting media, choosing tactics, meeting your MP, or organising volunteers — your decision-making will be guided by the answers to these questions.
⚡️ Read more: Level up: Campaign strategy 101
How to deliver your petition to Parliament
Support for your petition is growing, you’ve gathered hundreds of signatures and the community is fired up. There is a crucial next step — delivering your petition. While petitions can target businesses, media organisations and local councillors, many are directed to our elected representatives at Parliament.
Read on to find out how to plan a successful petition delivery to Parliament, then use the Checklist to make sure you have everything in place — ready to deliver!
🤸🏽♂️ Read: How to deliver your petition to Parliament
Presenting to a Select Committee
If you present your petition to Parliament they are likely to give it to one of the select committees, the groups of politicians from different parties who discuss and seek advice on new laws, and review petitions from the public. The select committee may ask you to send a written submission and/or make an oral submission. After considering the petition and other evidence they will make a report and recommendation to Parliament.
The submission process is another opportunity in your campaign to talk with, update and invite contributions from your supporters and allies.
Written submissions can be both informative and engaging. MPs often have lots of facts and technical information and personal stories and perspectives from the people most affected are valuable for them.
Recommended posts from the ActionStation blog
Have you ever wondered if signing that petition ever makes a difference?
A community solution to cleaning up our plastic problem
Zoe Palmer was horrified to hear that a specialist service that helps Nelson youth in times of crisis is being merged into the adult service. So she did something about it.
Lauren and Ruby are two teenagers who ran a campaign that won millions of dollars of funding for better sex education around consent in high schools.
#LetUsFinish was one of the big successful outcomes of 2018 — Kera and her fellow students won an extension to the limit on loans and guaranteed more doctors will enter into our communities. This is how they did it.
Millan Ruka and his hapū were facing an uphill battle to regain control of Porotī Springs. Using the OurActionStation platform Millan mobilised over 800 ActionStation members to turn things around.
Throughout 2018 everyday folk have been using the OurActionStation community campaign platform to inspire many thousands of us to take action for change.
As we head into some summer holiday time it’s a chance to reflect on the challenges and successes of 2017 — but mainly the successes!
Recommended campaigner resource sites
This campaign tips page is being regularly updated, come back occasionally to check out more resources! In the meantime here is a list of the ActionStation campaign team’s fave resource sites.
💚 350.org trainings — An accessible site with many training resources with a climate focus
💚 Plan to win — An Australian-based training organisation
💚 Mobilisation Lab — Social change network with resources and newsletter
💚 Blueprints for Change — Co-created guides for campaigners by campaigners
💚 Aotearoa Fellowship, Advocacy Aotearoa — once a year, 10 week campaigns training course. Designed specifically for mid-senior leaders in social change, the Aotearoa Fellowship will super-charge your skills and energy, help you gain further confidence as a social change leader, and connect you with a community of your peers from across Aotearoa.
💚 The Workshop — a New Zealand agency that researches, trains and provides guides on ways of communicating that will change the conversation and build support for solutions that work.
💚 Beautiful Trouble — ‘A toolbox for revolution’; strategic tools and trainings
💚 Waging nonviolence — News about justice and peace movements around the globe.
💚 Ruckus — Strategy guide for campaigns and actions
💚 Stories for Advocacy — An engaging toolkit for using stories in advocacy campaigns
💚 Doing Our Bit — The Campaign to Double the Refugee Quota — In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Inspired by his time living in Aleppo, Syria, over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement — one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. (Listen to an interview with Murdoch).