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Questions campaigners should ask regularly

15 July 2016
Author: Tom Baker

I've been challenging myself to ask more questions. Here are a few I think I should be asking more often.

1. What does success look like?

A fundamental question to ask regularly. The answer should have both a specific and detailed response, as well as a reflection on what you want your campaign to achieve in the long term.

2. What has the real influence here? Who can deliver the change we want?

It's easy to focus our campaigns on targets we feel comfortable with, or we've approached before. A thorough power analysis should be central to any campaigning we do, and from that an informed strategy. I've always thought that the right target is whomever can wake up tomorrow and deliver your campaign ask.

3. What do you really need from us?

A question any organisations with resources should ask to those within its movement, campaigns often succeed because of the variety of voices working on a issue. Sometimes that’s in formal coalitions, where resources are distributed in formal ways, but even in more informal coalitions, ensuring that others partners in your movement have what they need is essential. The answer isn’t always money, sometimes it's political insight, sometimes it's practical resources or access to technology.

4. Do we really need to campaign here?

This might sound like a counter intuitive question, but launching a campaign should be a tactic if other more "insider" approaches aren't going to work, rather than an initial response. Why? Campaigning comes at a cost, it's resource intensive, and often the success we're looking for can be delivered by well placed "insider" interventions.

5. What would we do with twice the resource?

All campaigns operate in a resource scarce environment, where their are trade-offs to be made, asking this question is a great way of checking that you're allocating the resources that you do have in the most efficient and effective way. If you would do more of something that you're already doing, then perhaps you should think about redistributing the resources you already have.

6. What are we learning? What would you do differently next time?

Finding time to evaluate in the midst of a campaign isn't always easy, but by asking what you'd do differently helps to ensure future campaigns win. Planning times for quick evaluation should be at the heart of any campaign.

About the author

Tom Baker
Save the Children

Tom Baker is head of mobilisation at Save the Children UK, and previously worked at Bond, Tearfund and Christian Aid.