Chapter 3

Setting a campaign objective

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Before you start devising your campaign strategy and get set to change the world, there are some useful terms to know that can help you sharpen and focus your planning. 

Problem: broad, unspecific and unlikely to be solved completely in the immediate future.

Example: Refugees and migrants face discrimination and injustice

Issue: a specific focus that allows you to campaign for a change within a wider problem that will therefore help to solve a wider problem.

Example: undocumented migrants face obstacles in accessing healthcare, either because they are scared of being reported or because they lack the necessary papers.

Campaign: an organised course of action to address the specific issue.

Example: Organising with migrants without documents and healthcare workers to ensure migrants can access healthcare.

Target:  a decision-maker with power to implement change who you want to direct your campaign at. The ultimate and long-term goal of your campaign could be to persuade the decision makers to change policy. Be mindful that policy change is a very long process and in most cases you first need to raise awareness in the general public and create allies among other stakeholders before reaching your goal.   

Example: Ministers responsible for health and home affairs.

Aim: the concrete outcome/s your campaign is pushing for – the answer to the question: what do you want to achieve? This could be changing the current situation via a policy change or through informal practices. 

Example: Your end objectives could be… 

a) persuading your local health authority to run weekly drop-in clinics where migrant people are safe from immigration scrutiny and where healthcare is provided free of charge

b) doctors and hospital staff make a pledge to treat people regardless of their immigration status

c) migrants know how to access healthcare safely and feel protected when doing so

Objectives: intermediate steps that you need to achieve in order to reach your overarching aim.


  1. Create a core group of people willing to work on the issue
  2. Raise awareness among the general population.
  3. Raise awareness among the migrant community.
  4. Rally support of healthcare workers and doctors.
  5. Connect with relevant decision-makers.

Tactics: specific actions you and your group take in order to achieve a clear objective as part of a wider campaign.

Example: get local media coverage of health problems caused by migrants not having access to medical treatment.

Strategy: this is the plan you want to follow, by implementing various tactics, to achieve each of your objectives. Strategies need to be adapted to the aim you want to achieve.

Example: decide to build an organising team of healthcare workers and migrants without documents and together take a series of actions to build power and put pressure on decision-makers including government ministers, while reflecting, evaluating and learning as you go.

Movement/s: people, groups, or organisations working to address the same problem.

Example: Anti-racist movement, and within that the migrant rights movement.

Now that you understand the terms your strategy will be working within, ask yourself the following questions about your objectives:

  • What do you need to achieve in order to solve your issue? Start with the end goal, articulating what you want to achieve.
  • What steps do you need to take to get to that goal? Work back from the step needed just before it, then think about what you’d need to achieve for that to happen. These are your smaller objectives to reach your end goal (the Stepping Stones exercise might be helpful here)
  • How will you know when you have achieved these objectives? Make them specific and measurable.
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