Campaigns Manager, Living Streets
Apart from your current organisation which other organisations that campaign do you admire?
There are many but Shelter often stand out for me. Their approach is extremely focused and strategic. They’ve done a fantastic job at getting housing the political prominence it needs.
Who is the campaigner you most admire?
Mark Thomas. He has a great mix of humour, tenacity, fantastic ideas and a novel way of sharing news of his campaigns beyond a traditional audience.
Generally are organisations getting better at campaigning since you began your career? If so, what’s changed?
I don’t know if they’re better, but I think they’re adapting well to a changing landscape. If I think about the history of campaigning organisations I’ve been involved with, they have always successfully fought for things that matter.
What is exciting is the speed at which some campaigns can take off, and the ease that digital platforms can offer for engagement. I think organisations are getting better at using these. Rethink’s Find Mike campaign was a great example of a compelling story, a simple message and an easy action.
What three attributes make a good campaigner?
Probably similar to those that Mark Thomas has; Tenacity, a sense of humour and an ability to target and focus well.
What’s the most rewarding or exciting campaign you’ve worked on and why?
There are so many! Just before I left Parkinson’s UK I worked with local campaigners to successfully campaign for a Parkinson’s nurse. They had been trying for over two years and there was no specialist care in place when they asked me to help.
I came in to help them think a bit differently, but made sure that the local campaigners were still at the forefront. Within three months they had an agreement to get a new Parkinson’s nurse in place. I love knowing that the people I worked with will see things improve for them and the ones they love.
How do you feel campaigns will change over the next five years?
I think we’ll see a lot more high profile individual campaigns because of social media and platforms like Change.org. The personal stories will be the ones that get attention and are widely shared.
What advice would you give someone starting their career in campaigning today?
Get involved and make mistakes. Don’t worry about trying things out, sometimes the things you’re sure are going to work well don’t – and vice versa. Find other people and organisations that you admire and talk to them to find out what they do and how they do it.
I think that’s the same advice for people at any stage of their campaigning career.
If you weren’t a campaigner, what would you be?
Probably working in Corporate Social Responsibility for businesses helping them to change from the inside.