Getting staff engaged with a campaign

You might take for granted that your organisation's staff will take part in your campaigns, but it won't happen by itself. Lotte Deckers Dowber pulls together some tips and advice on involving your colleagues and making the most of their support.

A great response from ECFers on this topic, so a massive thanks to everyone who added their ideas. Below are some of the best, along with a few thoughts of my own.

1. Find your loud voices

Survey staff to find out who has a direct connection to your cause through family and friends and who might be willing to speak out about it. You may only get one or two, but as with external campaigning, your campaigners can 'be the story' and inspire others.

Identify people who are already 'flag-bearers' for campaigning in the organisation. Work out your approach and then ask them to ask their colleagues at a team meeting, to all sign your petition / take action / brainstorm for an idea / etc.

Get information out about the activities through the best networks. Have a think about who is most talked about or even gossips the most - it could be your facilities staff. If you can get them involved in activities, you can be sure that they will tell everyone about it. Also, strategic placing of posters to promote activities, e.g. above urinals with a cheeky message, gets people talking.

Don’t forget to make use of your interns and volunteers. The are often among the most passionate, working for free on an issue they care about!

2. Make yourself seen as well as heard

Fun and visual, physical activities are always popular – perhaps create a campaign stunt prop outside the front entrance to your building, and ask staff arriving at work to have their photo taken with it as part of a visual petition. This has been tried and tested - once people could see their managers getting involved, they often then decided to do so too.

Things like a cake sale worked really well for some people, helping bring people together informally and raise awareness of their campaign.

3. Do your homework

Send staff a survey to find out their level of knowledge of your campaign, get a sense of the level of interest, find out how you can involve them more and what they would like from you.

4. Make it irresistible

Incentivising action is a good idea. Perhaps prizes for the team or floor that collects most petition signatures / tweets out to the most followers / produces the best piece of artwork or letter, or the floor with the most staff who meet with their MP.

If you don’t want to go with prizes try and show people the value of campaigning to their own work by running a lunchtime session or workshop. Bring in inspiring speakers that will guarantee lots of people show up.

5. First steps can make all the difference

Do you need volunteers for anything? An event you may be holding? Things like this can be great opportunities to get people engaged, and their first step to becoming more actively involved.

6. Take an integrated approach

As with best practice for your campaigning work generally, the more you work cross-departmentally, the more successful you will be. Do you have a cross-organisational campaign working group? It’s a good idea to get key people from other departments involved in brainstorming and involved in the creative work to get them interested and enthused…this will hopefully then spread within their teams.

How is your campaign currently featured in the inductions for new staff? on your intranet? your internal comms outlets generally? Make sure you make your mark in as many places as possible.

One way could be asking all staff members to think about steps they take to help which are individual to them (i.e. “I am helping to end rough sleeping by…”) – make sure that everyone’s individual step appears in their email signature with the campaign branding and a call to action for others.

Always reflect what you’re doing with your supporters, with your staff so any activities you run externally, ensure there is also a staff push

7. Remember not everyone is a campaigner!

Get staff across the organisation to be ambassadors for the campaign, but recognise that they might not be that confident in representing it accurately. Give them the resources they need to gain that confidence, eg a pocket-sized fact card with relevant information about the campaign, including facts and figures, campaign asks, etc

8. Instil a sense of authority

Create a real sense that your staff are your experts, have the most knowledge and are exactly the sort of people you need to drive this. This should help motivate them and create a sense of duty.

9. Don’t be shy about blowing your own trumpet

Make sure you send regular updates and news on successes to all staff (often best coming from senior staff). This will increase people’s awareness and help them see how they can make a difference.

10. Get senior staff on board

Key to all of this is ensuring senior level staff across the organisation get involved and encourage people in their teams to do so. Without leadership you’ll struggle to get your ideas turned into action.

Lotte Deckers Dowber is Campaigns Officer at Barnardo's in the UK.

by Lotte Deckers Dowber published Mar 26, 2012,
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