Some key campaigning terms

To start, we wanted to share our understanding of a few key terms often used by campaigners. Most of these terms have a variety of definitions in different countries and communities, so we have done our best to choose simple, universal, definitions:

CAMPAIGN A sustained effort at a specific social justice goal. For example: a campaign to end the use of the internal combustion engine (as used in petrol and diesel powered cars). Read more here.

CAMPAIGN GOAL A measurable thing that the campaign will change. For example, “to ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars by 2030”. We’ve generally avoided talking to people who are campaigning without a clear goal in mind: because that’s often unproductive. If you can’t explain the change you hope to see, you’ll never know if you’re making progress towards that goal.

CAMPAIGN STRATEGY “A plan to make change happen”. For example, “to build grassroots pressure across the country, to persuade politicians to support a law to ban petrol and diesel powered cars”.

CAMPAIGN TACTICS The actions that put your plan into practice, to help achieve your campaign goal. For example, writing letters to local politicians, or going to meet local politicians and persuading them to support your campaign.

CAMPAIGN TARGET / DECISION-MAKER The person or people who usually have the power to make the decision you need to bring about change. It may be the CEO of a company, or the prime minister/president of a country. Or an anonymous bureaucrat you’ve never heard of.