Chapter 3

Strategy stepping stones

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There are many ways to build a strategy for a campaign. 

One good method you can use is called “stepping stones”. 

Unsurprisingly, the stepping stones strategy involves you taking steps towards change. 

  1. Start by thinking about your goal – what you want to achieve or change. Get to know your issue really well by researching who else is working on it, who is engaged with it, and what other initiatives are happening around you.  
  2. Now, starting at your goal, work backwards. What needs to happen before you reach the goal? What are the last steps you need to take to achieve it? You can use the tactics in Chapter Four to try and work out the most effective tools to use to achieve your goal.
  3. Now ask yourself, what needs to happen just before that? And keep going back until you reach your starting point.

You can use this method to plot your direction from where you are to where you want to be. Then, as you go on your journey, you can use it to check you are on the right track. 

Stepping stones are a great way to work out what you think needs to happen and in roughly what order. The steps also allow you to reflect on whether the path you are following is moving you towards your goal. If you are heading off course, you can use your stepping stones technique to assess what you might need to change to help you get there. 

If this doesn’t feel quite real, here’s a good example – a campaign to ask the government to include food waste in their recycling. 

The steps you might take from this starting point to get to your goal could include: 

  • Identifying your target – who can change what you want to be changed. For example, is it a national politician or a local government department?
  • Lobbying the elected representative / committee which makes the decision
  • Raising public awareness about the issue through media campaigns and sharing reliable information on your cause.
  • Organising a campaign to demonstrate the level of local support for your issue to your target, like a petition or a letter writing drive  
  • Organising a protest

Those are your steps. But are they in the right order? 

What step would you take first? Why would you choose that order? What happens if you try one tactic before another – and what happens if you change that order? 

Try it out and see if the outcomes happen as you expect. If yes – great! Carry on. If not, go back to your stepping stones and re-plot the order. 

Once you begin taking action, you will quickly start to notice what is working and what isn’t, and adapt your campaign plan as you go. 

It is likely there will be more than one route to your goal, so use this tool as a living document that you can have to help you reflect on what steps are working, what might need to change and what other routes you can take to change the world.

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