How to succeed

Leaving aside various other complications, you might say that you can judge a campaign a success if there is evidence of: A successful outcome A meaningful positive contribution to the outcome by the organisation/group/network whose campaign it is Questions of contribution are important but if you can’t assess whether a campaign has been successful, then any insights about contribution are essentially made without any kind of context. The obvious reponse is that you can judge success by asking, ‘were the campaign objectives achieved or not?’ And on the face of it, that seems a...

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The value iceberg

This post sets out some of the arguments from a discussion paper I have co-written with Rhonda Schlangen, recently published by BetterEvaluation. The paper itself, and an associated blog, is available here.   Organisations have to make choices about how best to deploy resources. On the face of it, using Value for Money-type frameworks helps in making informed comparisons about the value of different potential strategies. It’s right to want to anchor campaigning and advocacy to assessments that are as rigorous as possible. But applying a value lens to advocacy and campaign it isn’t...

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Succeeding by failing

I was at an NPC-hosted debate about campaigning this week where somebody cited No More Page 3 as an example of a successful combined online-and-offline campaign. In response, another panel member pointed out that Page 3 is still there, and so logically the campaign should not be claimed as a success. How long Page 3 will still be there is a moot question. It seems a fair bet that its days are numbered. But for the purposes of this post, I’m more interested in how we think about what constitutes success. Especially in the light of the recent critique by NPC, that charities are defending...

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Syria & Shelley

A few people in my twitter timeline last night were suggesting that the vote in parliament rejecting military intervention in Syria showed a delayed influence of the march and protests against the launch of the Iraq war ten years ago. It’s not straightforward to see a direct connection, but clearly the shadow of Iraq fell over parliament – and that included not just what has happened and is happening still in Iraq but also the levels of public opposition expressed to it in this country. This idea that campaigning delivers sometimes-deferred outcomes reminded me of the anti-roads...

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Capitalism: my part in its downfall

To celebrate the launch of the IF campaign, I got a copy of Nicolas Sireau’s ‘Make Poverty History’ (after several years of being put off by the absurd price). One interesting thing in it is the anatomy of the different reactions to the G8’s post-Gleneagles communique: ‘an insult to … campaigners … a disaster for the world’s poor’ World Development Movement ‘the beginning, not the end … welcome progress … but the outcome … has fallen short of the hopes of millions’ Oxfam ‘the greatest G8 summit there has ever been for Africa’ Bob Geldof These different...

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Glories and triumphs shrunk

The ‘results agenda’ – in its various manifestations – continues to gain momentum. ‘Results agenda’ is an umbrella term that means different things in different contexts but I think it’s fair to say there’s a common basic idea. It’s about gathering robust evidence about results and then focusing on ‘what works’. So far, so good you might say. In theory at least, it’s hard to see why anyone could object to that. But this deceptively simple concept gets a bit more problematic when applied to real situations. And that’s why critiques are burgeoning –...

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