Chapter 2

Building relationships

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Campaigns for social change are built on solid relationships. 

But to build those solid relationships, you need to develop trust. 

After all, organising moves at the speed of trust.

Once you have told your story and mapped out your community, it’s time to start meeting your potential allies as together you explore how to work together for change. You can have two types of meetings: one-to-ones and one-to-many.

A one-to-one involves meeting individually with people that might be interested in making the change you’re looking for. Having a chat just the two of you is a great way to start building a relationship ready to take action together.

Good one to ones:

  • Are short: half an hour should be enough. You don’t want to take too much of the time of a potential ally.
  • Are consensual: always be clear about why you want to meet someone and the campaign you’re working on, so they can understand and consent to the meeting.
  • Are mutual: don’t just ask for help. Instead, look for ways to collaborate on something you both want and that benefits you both.
  • Share stories: share some of your story during your one-to-one. You can share as much or as little as you feel is appropriate, and remember – don’t feel pressured into sharing anything you are not comfortable with. It’s important for both of you to set your own boundaries and not overshare.
  • Listen to their story: get to know what issues they are working on, what their objectives are, and challenges they are facing. 
  • Identify a common purpose: this is the core focus of the meeting. Sometimes you won’t be able to find a shared purpose and that’s fine. If this happens, it simply means this person isn’t someone you’ll collaborate with at this time. But ideally you will!
  • Agree next steps to collaborate: this moves the meeting from talk into action. If you want to work together, start by agreeing on some first steps. They can be big or small, depending on enthusiasm and time. 


Instead of meeting just one person, you are meeting a group together and addressing them to tell them about your campaign.

This could be a meeting of your local council, an organisation working on your issue, or a meeting with your student union or your youth council. 

Addressing a group can help you learn if that whole gathering is keen to work with you, or it can help you meet new people who want to get on board with your campaign.

Questions to consider
  • Who would you like to have a one-to-one with to see if they’re interested in collaborating with you on your campaign? 
  • What group would you like to have a one-to-many meeting with?
  • What elements of your story might be appropriate to share in a one-to-one? Is there anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing?
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