I well remember how it was when I got my first job as a campaigner for a charity.
I was hugely excited at the prospect of having a campaigning job, but we were more or less thrown into the deep end and expected to pick it up as we went along. It was just the way it was! My key way of learning was just to try things, dust myself down when they failed, learn from the experience and try again.
With this memory behind me, I spent a weekend recently helping to run a residential weekend for the winners of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation campaign awards. I found it inspiring to be in the company of these award winners.
In the past I have written about campaigning being all about having a burning passion to achieve change – and these award winners had this passion in abundance. What really struck me about the weekend was that all the participants wanted to be there and they were hungry to learn anything that might help them to drive their campaign forward. I was envious that they had a peer group of fellow campaigners and they had access to support to help them to develop their campaigning – I would have loved to have had such an opportunity!
If you are a campaigner and you don’t know about this Foundation, (I know that I am biased) but they are well worth a look – http://www.sheilamckechnie.org.uk/
They are particularly focussed on the next generation of campaigners and provide support through training, web resources and their campaign awards. The ’09 awards should be launched soon so watch out for that.
It does feel quite an exciting time to be a campaigner with this level of support available. When I started out, not that I’m bitter of course, there was nothing like the Foundation or indeed the NCVO’s campaigning effectiveness programme – see http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/campaigningeffectiveness/ – again well worth a look.
So if you are a campaigner with that burning desire to achieve change, do make sure that you make maximum use of these excellent resources and support.