Saturday, February 23, 2013

The 4'Ns every campaigner needs

A few weeks ago I attended the Grassroots Democracy Conference organised by the Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Count and Unlock Democracy.

I sat in on a colleague's (Jane Thomas, head of our team of regional campaigners) session on campaigning on multiple issues. Her key point was if you can campaign on one issue - like an AV referendum - you can campaign on a cluster of issues, like 'democracy', because the skills are essentially the same

To underline the point, we participants compiled a flipchart setting out the skills a good campaigner may have.

So, that's 

  • Passion and righteous anger
  • Audience awareness and the art of appearing normal
  • Building teams and leadership
  • Encouraging involvement and taking people with you.
  • Clear asks
  • Listening
  • Planning and focus
  • Resilience and determination
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Persuasion and charm
  • Negotiation and compromise
  • Research and knowledge
  • Networking and building relationships
  • Political savvy, identifying opportunities
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Freedom to fail
Jane drilled this down to four key N's: negotiating, nagging, networking and nouse, which is an elegant way of pulling all of this together.

There are two other things I would stress personally. One, is that it's more important to find and support the people who have the skills that you don't have, than to develop them all yourself. Learning new stuff: good; pretending to omnicompetence: bad. 

Plus, however good you are, you won't get far without a team of friends who've got your back.

Two: don't worry if you're not the finished article - no-one really is. Back when I started volunteering with Friends of the Earth, I was very green, and so shy I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I'm still on a journey, but I've been able to grow a lot over the past 15 years. Having a safe space like FOE was for me where you can learn and grow in confidence makes all the difference. 

Hopefully you'll then be able to provide that space for other people who come through the door of your campaign or local group.

No comments:

Post a Comment