It is important to pick an issue that would make a good campaign. This may involve:
Before devoting time and money to a campaign, you should assess the idea.
Good campaign preparation means being clear in advance about the nature of the challenge, the institutions and individuals who will decide the outcome, the people and resources available to you and the prospects of success.
Your campaign needs a single, clear, worthwhile and understandable aim. This may require a number of objectives. These will be more use if they are specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound.
Assign a campaign coordinator and publicity officer and make sure that contact details are given to volunteers.
What will work in your favour and what will be the potential obstacles to success? Will your proposals help or hinder the decision-makers in terms of meeting their own objectives?
You need to identify and influence the people who will actually take the key decisions. This may be opinion-formers, journalists or other interested parties.
Some of these might be potential allies who you can involve at an early stage.
Campaigning in the context of planning applications is all targeted ultimately at the people making the decisions.
A subsidiary objective is to get public opinion, the media, and opinion formers on your side, but this is so that they in turn add to the pressure on the decision makers.
Identify up to five messages that sum up your campaign objectives, although you may need to emphasize a number of different messages to appeal to different audiences. Think about the overall style and tone of your campaign according to your target. Is a 'softly softly' approach or a higher profile, more contentious campaign needed?
Is your argument, including any facts and figures, strong enough or do you need case study examples, records or research (existing or new) to strengthen your case?
Tactics could be meetings, publicity stunts, letter-writing campaigns, presentations or publications. If you will be producing campaign materials, factor the timing and deadlines into your plan.
You need to take account of relevant external events alongside your own events. What is the best timing and are there events in the calendar (policy, media, print schedules etc) you should be aware of? Are there any events that will overshadow the results of your campaign? Are there any media opportunities that will really boost your messages?
What are the likely campaign costs (printing, venues, volunteer expenses) and what fundraising effort is required? Budget accordingly.
If you are campaigning as part of a charity, you need to check that any activity in your campaign complies with Charity Commission guidelines (www.charity-commission.gov.uk), and your group's own constitution and objectives.
Use key milestones and progress indicators linked to your campaign objectives. Hold review meetings and use agreed criteria. Acknowledge what you are doing/did well and identify what you could change during the campaign or do differently next time.