You have decided an issue you want to take action on.
And the good news is, you probably aren’t alone. It’s likely that other individuals or organisations care deeply about your issue too.
Rather than start from scratch and make more work for yourself, look around you and see who else is campaigning on your issue. You can join forces with others in your community to build up your power and influence together. They will be keen to hear your ideas and you will learn from their previous experience so that you are always building towards change – not reinventing the wheel.
There are a number of ways you can connect with other campaigners:
- Municipalities: you can often find a list of organisations active in your local area on the website of your municipality (or you can find their leaflets and brochures if you go there in person).If you want to work with and for young people, visit your local youth centre and see what they’re up to.
- National Youth Councils: each EU Member State and many other European countries have a National Youth Council (NYC). They represent the interests of young people and lobby for their rights. Members of the NYCs are local and national youth organisations. Look up the membership of your NYC to find groups working in your area or on your issue. Most NYCs are members of the European Youth Forum.
- International Youth Organisations: there are plenty of IYNGOs (International Youth NGOs) working on different issues, from political participation to climate action, LGBTI rights and much more. You can discover some of them among the membership of the European Youth Forum. Take a look at their websites to see if there are organisations among their members working in your country and/or on your specific issue. Getting involved in a IYNGO member also gives you the opportunity to interact with international volunteers and activists.
- Social media: when you have found one or two organisations working on your issue, follow them on social media and see what content they share. They will often re-share content of similar organisations, helping you get to know about more groups working on your issue. Social media is also a great place to look for volunteering or campaigning opportunities.
- Talk to people: your community will be packed with people who can help connect you with other campaigners. For example: the local Mosque might know who is active in the area of Palestinian solidarity in your community and put you in touch.
If you can’t find existing groups active on the issue you want to campaign on, then the next step is to see if there are organisations working on similar issues.
For example, your workplace might not be unionised but there’s no union for you to join. See if you can find regional or national branches of other trade unions that can advise you on how to get started with your campaign.
If no one else is working on your issue, or if they are taking an approach that you don’t want to take, then it’s time to start your own campaign.
This may feel like a big commitment. But if you are passionate about your campaign and if your issue is having a negative impact on people around you, together you can achieve so much in a relatively short space of time.
If you use an organising approach to find others to work with then you won’t be campaigning alone. Remember, we are always more powerful when we are pulling together.
To begin your own campaign, start by speaking with people in your community about your ideas, the issues they care about, and how these connect to your campaign.
From there, you will find people eager to bring their skills and explore how they can get involved.