So, you’ve got together with a few others and agreed your purpose and discussed strategy. Isn’t now the time to talk tactics, develop action plans – things that really get your group excited? Or… is now the time to channel the energy of a much, much larger group of people? Could you use your launch to create a tactical plan in which everybody who attends has a stake, people’s assembly-style?
We did this when we launched Save Our Schools back in March 2017. (Save Our Schools – SOS – is a parent-led campaign for properly funded state schools shaped by educators, not politicians). We didn’t deliberately launch without a tactical plan. We just knew the time was right to go public, we wanted to catch the wave around school funding, and… we didn’t have a plan (or a concrete strategy) at that point.
We created an event with two distinct halves:
- First, key members of the campaign (parents, a headteacher and a local MP) gave short, impassioned speeches.
- Second, we gave out a list of themes that would help determine where the campaign would go next. Media, Social Media, Campaign Aims, Actions for Schools, Events, Organizing, Political lobbying, and so on. People grouped themselves according to topics that interested them and brainstormed before reporting back. Everyone had the opportunity to contribute; everyone had the opportunity to sign up for more action.
From this event came action plan gems: children from around the country delivering 30,000 SOS messages in bottles to 10 Downing St; banners going up simultaneously outside every school in our city; a sustained media and and communications campaign.
Most important, from a school hall packed to capacity with 300 people, a grassroots movement, involving the whole community, was born.