1. Define your stakeholders and target audience
Individuals, groups, organizations or institutions that may in any way be concerned in the activities you carry out, in short, are called stakeholders. They may support your activity or campaign, in some way be affected by the issue, have the power to change the situation or have caused the problem you have identified.
Stakeholders may be:
- Supporters – people or organizations who understand the problem, wish to contribute to solving it and are ready to help you;
- Opponents – people who are against solving the problem or who do not like the way you propose to solve it;
- Neutral – people who have no opinion on the matter, or who are in no way involved in your activities.
Dobro razmislite ko su zainteresovane strane kada je reč o pitanju za koje se zalažete. Stavite ih u jednu od ove tri kategorije. Analizirajte! To će vam olakšati definisanje ciljne publike i znaćete odakle možete da očekujete podršku.
Think carefully about who the stakeholders are for the issue you are advocating. Categorize them according to the groups shown above. Analyze! This will make it easier for you to define your target audience and know where you can expect support.
Your next step is to define the relationships of your stakeholders. Knowing how they are interlinked as well as their individual attitude on the issue you are advocating for and the solution you are proposing, will help you to know from whom you can expect and receive support.
The already defined stakeholders can now be divided into several categories:
- Active supporters – support your activities and are motivated to help you achieve your goals;
- Supporters – can have some benefit from the result of your activity;
- Neutral – not involved or unaffected by the issue;
- Opponents – may have negative consequences from the success of your activities;
- Active opponents – actively work against achieving your goals.
This will help you foresee the appropriate tactics for each of the groups. For example, for those who support you, you can use mobilization activities and tools, and for neutrals, you can use education and information tools and tactics.
Create stakeholder profiles. That will make it easier for you to define the message and determine the channels for conveying it. Define the profile, by using criteria such as:
- Demographics: gender, age, ethnicity, education;
- Geography: place of residence (urban, rural), local/national, etc.;
- Habits: how do they react to the matter at hand? Who or what will help you engage them? etc.
- Habits in terms of channels for obtaining information: Which media can they access? Do they use only traditional or online media? Which ones? When? How?;
- Culture: Which and how many languages do they speak? What are their cultural characteristics?
EXAMPLE (stakeholder profile)
Goce is your active supporter
Goce can be both Macedonian and Albanian, he is 35 years old, has an academic degree and lives in an urban environment. He has a family and has no problem hanging out with anyone, regardless of their status and affiliation. He works in a private company. He has a history of chronic diseases in his extended family. He is aware that people need to live in a healthy environment. He has been involved in various community campaigns. He watches TV, reads newspapers, and uses social media, mostly Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In addition to his mother tongue, he speaks another foreign language.
Goce is an active supporter of your activities directed towards adoption of legislation that will increase penalties for anyone who contributes to air pollution.
The “target audience” of your campaign is the groups or people who can make the change you want to see. It is best to divide the target audience into primary and secondary.
- Primary – key actors who have the power or means to act directly to resolve the issue;
- Secondary – groups or individuals who have the power to influence key actors or can change public opinion.
In campaigns aimed at social change, the primary target audience is usually decision makers, such as:
- Members of Parliament;
- International organizations:
- Business community;
- Community leaders; etc.
There are also individuals and groups who can influence your primary target audience, because they care about their views and actions. They are your secondary audience. This includes groups and people who support or shape public opinion towards the primary target audience, such as:
- Public figures and celebrities;
- Voter groups.
The general public is not the target audience!
The media is very rarely the target audience. The media is a way or a channel through which you can reach the target audience!
In order to be able to further define and direct messages, you must clearly define your target audience.
Your objective is to have a new law passed, banning vehicle traffic in the downtown area. Your primary target audience will be the Members of Parliament and/or members of Government, i.e. the relevant ministries, who have the power to propose and adopt the law. Your secondary target audience may be environmental associations, public figures advocating for clean air, voters, and the like.
The primary target audience is by no means more important than the secondary one. The name “primary” only signifies that they have the power to make the change you advocate. It is often easier and more efficient to target a secondary target audience first!
2. Define success - set SMART goals
The goals of your campaign or activity show the “target where you aim”, i.e. the change you want to achieve. If you have defined the problem well and know what change you want to make, you can easily define the goals:
- Long-term – the vision for long-term change; and
- Short-term – specific and measurable goals that can be achieved over a period of time.
A well-defined goal is the most important component of a good strategy. If the goal is too wide-ranging, all of your future decisions will be vague, which will practically guarantee an ineffective campaign.
Short-term goals will represent the results of your activity and will be an indicator of the success of the action. Therefore, always set SMART goals.
A specific or precise goal is usually determined by asking six questions:
Measurability is one of the mechanisms for determining whether a set goal is right or not. For a goal to be measurable, it must contain quantitative data. For instance: recruiting at least 500 supporters.
Only the goal for which indicators can be set to determine progress is a good goal!
Achievable goal is the result of a good and analytical approach that allows predicting ways and methods to achieve it. However, when analyzing this criterion, pay attention to the capacities, resources, time and dynamics with which events unfold, which make time pressures!
A realistic goal should be a state that you want and are able to reach. Sometimes even lofty goals are realistic; however, they require a lot of dedication, hard work and sacrifice. When setting a goal, consider the overall atmosphere as well as the challenges you may face.
Setting deadlines is key to maintaining a sense of urgency and timeliness. However, in some cases, usually due to external influences, the deadlines may be shortened or extended. You cannot control these circumstances, despite your involvement in the whole process. Examples of this would be: government reshuffle, change of agency director, change of head of department, early elections and the like.
A goal without time limits will be left forgotten and unfulfilled!
Occupy Wall Street - CASE STUDY
Occupy Wall Street is a progressive protest movement that began on September 17, 2011 in New York, drawing the world’s attention to what is happening in America. However, apart from great publicity, it did not have significant effects. According to critics, this was due to the lack of a clear goal.
According to the organizers, OWS’ goals included reducing corporate influence over politics, more balanced distribution of income, creation of new and better jobs, reforming the banking system (especially to reduce speculative trading by banks), forgiving student loan debt, or other relief for indebted students, and alleviation of the property seizure situation.
The movement has received criticism for lacking a set of clear demands that could be used to accelerate formal political change. This lack of an agenda is cited as the reason why it died out before any legal changes could be made.
By not setting clear and measurable goals in the beginning, the success of the movement has been called into question. There is no clear indicator that can be measured, and no real institutional changes have been introduced in banks and corporations in America.
3. What are you trying to say? - communicate clearly
Your message is what people will remember (“take”) from your campaign or it is what will make them become involved in the activities. Therefore, design a separate message for each target audience, but be careful, all of the messages should lead towards achieving the same goal. Research at the beginning will show you what to communicate and how to do it.
For a message to be effective, it should:
- Be simple and express the cause clearly, without ambiguity;
- Express the critical importance of the cause;
- Tell people something new, something they have not yet thought about;
- Be enticing, interesting, even shocking;
- Emphasize the need to take action and find a solution.
Create a greater number of messages and test them out. Create focus groups or find other ways to see how people react to your messages. Use only those that will provoke action. A message that requires explanation is not a good message!
Elements of a good message
An effective message conveys a lot of information in just a few sentences. With it, you should answer:
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why do you want to achieve this?
- How do you propose to achieve this?
- What action do you want the audience to take?
The message you create should be communicable through different channels over a long period of time. It should contain the solution to the problem you have identified, in a way that the appropriate target audience wants to hear it and call for action.
- A good message is above all accurate and sincere!
- A good message is concise, short and clear!
- A good message evokes emotion!
- A good message includes a call to action!
The message is not a slogan!
4. You don’t have to do it alone - build a network
Every organization that wants to make a difference should build a network. On your way to the goal, you need all the activists, allies, volunteers who can help you with that. They will help you disseminate information and accompany you to protests or rallies, if you organize them.
In doing so, you should keep in mind that building, managing and maintaining a network is not completely. The old ways of expanding your network of contacts are still largely valid, but now you also have digital tools that can greatly facilitate your process.
Create a contact database
For starters, you can create a simple spreadsheet, with fields denoting name, surname, contact information and additional fields in which you will enter different categories, such as:
- Interest in volunteering;
- History of involvement in activities;
- Subscription to an e-newspaper; etc.
Make one of the team members in charge of constantly supplementing and updating the contact base.
A simple spreadsheet is a good place to start, but once your contact list starts to grow, you will need to look for suitable software, such as CiviCRM.
Collecting new contacts
Collecting information from new people who are interested in your cause can be done by setting up an application form on your website.
Building a coalition
Creating coalitions with other organizations, with which you have a common interest for resolving a particular problem, can:
- Help make the issue more credible. The credibility of each of the groups can be strengthened through its affiliation with other members of the coalition, making it easier for you to reach out to policymakers.
- Increase public pressure on decision makers. A large group of organizations and companies may be able to take a stronger stand on a particular issue together, compared to what they can do alone.
- Provide a network of supporters and help you recruit volunteers. Different group members can share complex projects (based on experiences, expertise and resources). Costs can be shared among coalition members, allowing smaller organizations to participate in activities that would otherwise be beyond their capacity.
Recruiting potential coalition partners
Identify potential partners you would like to see alongside you in the coalition and the ways in which they can help. Contact them and persuade them to join your coalition through the following process:
- Make a comprehensive list of possible members and their contact information.
- Schedule a meeting with the relevant leaders of the organizations.
- Start with groups with which you have established contact or have had some joint activity.
- Make available any information they might ask for or need. Respond to their requests and keep them informed.
- Try to convince them to support your activity.
- Include them in the team.
When building coalitions, it is important to set clear rules about the structure, the way of decision making, the way of communicating, the division of costs, the time for implementation of the activities, the available resources, etc.
5. Implementation and measurement
The implementation of the campaign or activity must take place according to the planned pace. Before you start implementing the activities, do a double check:
- Do you know the real problem and do you have an appropriate solution to it?
- Are the goals you want to achieve simple, measurable and realistic, and do they call for action and have a set deadline?
- Have you identified all the stakeholders, target audiences you will address and the channels through which you will convey the message?
- Do you have an adequate clear, concise and precise message calling for action?
- Have you identified allies – groups and individuals, who will help you in carrying out the activities?
If the answer to all of the questions is yes, you can move forward with the implementation.
No process can achieve the desired effects if there is no action plan. In order to be able to achieve the planned goals, it is necessary to carefully monitor the implementation of all steps and activities in accordance with the set deadlines.
There are a number of online monitoring and analysis tools to help you track how your campaign is unfolding and how stakeholders are behaving and to measure how successfully your goals are being achieved. Using various (free) tools you can keep track on how the message is spreading, follow the debate on the issue addressed by the campaign and see how your allies and opponents behave.
1. Track the message
Online message tracking involves monitoring how, where and when it is transmitted online. In this process, you can see who has mentioned you, the issue or your message, and in what context.
Some social media (like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter…) offer the option to automatically receive an email when someone interacts with the content you have posted.
Some other tools to help you track your message are:
Email alerts – certain sites and social media offer the option of receiving an email notifying you when people add you as a friend or contact, comment on your content or send you a direct message. Open a separate email address or use one of your existing ones to receive these messages. Avoid overloading the inboxes of the people involved in carrying out activities with such messages, as much as possible.
2. Track the topic addressed by your campaign
You are probably not the only one sharing content related to the problem or issue you are advocating on online platforms. You can track the behavior of others in relation to the topic by searching for keywords that you or others use in communication, some digital tools allow this. To make the content easier to find, use a hashtag (#) before such words.
Tools that will help you follow the topic are:
HootSuite – has a built-in analytics tool through which you can track the behavior of a particular message (share, quote, reply, etc.) on Twitter.
HootSuite– ima ugrađeni alat za analitiku pomoću kojeg možete da pratite ponašanje određene poruke (podeliti, citirati, odgovoriti, itd.) na Twitteru.
3. Track the stakeholders and the target audience
One way to track online behavior of others is by setting up Google Alerts or using services like Media Toolkit. If the topic you are following is discussed in different languages, set keywords in all of those languages. Other tools you can use for this are:
RSS feeds – Many user generated content pages offer the ability to get keyword search results in your RSS feed. If you choose this option, the content in which the keywords are found is automatically available for you to read. To find out how stakeholders behave, set up an RSS feed on their web pages.
TweetDeck – you can use it for easier tracking of Twitter accounts that are of interest to you. It gives you the opportunity to create groups, so the account you follow can be divided into, for e.g. allies, opponents, politicians, etc.
In order to be able to finally evaluate the success of the campaign or activity, from the very beginning to the end of the realization, continuously follow and document all of this information. It will help you to measure whether you have achieved the planned goals and who helped you in that.