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Key elements of an effective campaign strategy

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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  • What needs to change? To answer that question, it takes:
    • a purpose that drives the campaign strategy.
    • an analysis of the situation and the specific problem the campaign will address(identified in the Campaign planning stage)
    • a vision for the future the campaign is intended to contribute to.
  • How will the campaign contribute to change?  The strategy needs: 
    • a theory of change that explains how the campaign will contribute to the desired change. (See Theories of Change in Campaigning)
    • the solutions or pathways of change promoted by the campaign, i.e. the changes in policy, institutional practice or people’s behaviour that the campaign will aim to achieve (goals, specific outcomes).
    • the approach or types of actions to be carried out, by whom, how and when.
  • Who are the stakeholders? The strategy must define:
    • The target audiences, i.e. the persons or institutions the campaign needs to influence to attain its goal, and how these audiences will be reached. (See also Stakeholder Analysis)
    • Prospective allies and participating groups likely to join the campaign, and their potential roles in the campaign.
  • What strategic elements of the campaign are needed to reach its goal? An effective campaign strategy requires sub-strategies for specific aspects of campaign implementation:
    • The communications strategy, which outlines key messages, and the channels and tools by which the campaign will communicate with the target audiences.
    • The resource mobilization strategy, which maps available and required resources (financial, institutional, networks, etc), and outlines the campaign fundraising plan. (See Resource Mapping and Financing and Fundraising Strategies)
    • A scaling-up strategy, if it is intended to bring the campaign to a larger scale.
    • An exit strategy, which determines when and how the campaign will be ended.
    • In longer-term campaigns, it may be useful to include different scenarios for the future.


Example: The South Asia We Can Campaign to End All Violence against Women provides a 20-page campaign strategy for its first phase on the campaign site. The paper summarizes the campaign rationale, the goal and objectives, the orientation for the first two years, information on the target audience and campaign alliance building, visibility guidelines, main activities at national and regional levels, and the planned impact assessment and documentation. In addition, rich audio-visual documentation of campaign events and activists’ (“change makers”) testimonies provide vivid examples. 

See the external campaign evaluation.