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When to adjust a campaign

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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There are numerous scenarios that can mean that a campaign may not be able to continue as planned. For example, a few months into the campaign, it may become clear that the campaign is not likely to achieve its goal even though the strategy is implemented as planned. Perhaps a crisis has made it impossible to continue as planned. In another situation, unanticipated and relatively quick success might render some campaign activities no longer necessary. Sudden shifts in public policy may occur, or unexpected information may become available, shedding new light on the campaign issue, its causes and possible solutions, and calling for different or additional tactics and activities.

Campaigns, by their very nature, are never static. They will always require continuous modification and adjustment because no environment is unchanging, and the campaign team or alliance is likely to undergo change as well. Campaigns also mature and deepen as the campaign audience’s understanding of the campaign issue matures and deepens.

To ensure strategic alignment, when planning adjustments to the campaign, it is important to review all steps of earlier campaign planning and strategy. This helps ensure the new elements of the campaign are well integrated into the overall plan and serve the campaign purpose.

How to determine if a campaign needs adjusting

  • Monitor campaign activities and their outcomes frequently and regularly, especially in the early phases of the campaign. This helps to detect problems so that they can be dealt with before they become unmanageable. Monitoring activities and outcomes is also a good way to assess which activities the campaign team or alliance is most successful at – if these are very different from the original strategy, an adjustment should be considered.
  • Monitor changes in the environment in close contact with relevant stakeholders. This makes it possible to anticipate new challenges and opportunities, and to gain time to devise an appropriate reaction. The context analysis should be updated at regular intervals, e.g. at quarterly team meetings. See also Situation Analysis in the Campaign Planning section.
  • Monitor the use and availability of resources to check whether campaign resources are used efficiently, and whether the plans regarding the campaign budget, staff or volunteer time and use of other resources are realistic. It may also be necessary to regularly scan the environment for prospective donors and their calls for proposals.

For more information on monitoring to determine campaign adjustments, see Monitoring and evaluation in this module.