Best advocacy videos

This is lazy summer blog posting, but I’ve been meaning for ages (about 6 months) to share a link to this blog post by my friend Nick, who had a go at listing some of the best advocacy campaign ads. In the end he settled on;

Robin Hood Tax – The Banker
TH!NK campaign – kill your speed or live with it
Plane Stupid – Polar Bears

At the time I commented that I thought that the Make Poverty History ‘Click Ad’ should get an honourable mention in dispatches –

In some ways it was one of the first ‘big’ advocacy campaign videos that was trying to reach and engage new audiences by bringing together big name celebs. The concept was simple but powerful, and it was repeated around the world.

If it’d come along a few years later, when more people we’re creating films rather than simply viewing things online (you’d never need to post a link to a 56K dial up video today) it would have spawn lots of imitations. Amazing how much digital media has changed the way we campaign in just 5 years.

I’d also include ‘Time to Collect’ which was produced by Christian Aid, during the Jubilee 2000 campaign. It was banned from being shown at the time for ‘being too political’. At the time of course, the row meant more people heard about it than would have seen it, a nice tactic for a cash-strapped NGO.

And now I’d also add in a mention of the Nestle KitKat Palm Oil ad (which didn’t exist back when the original post was written.

What do you think?

Summer Reading

If you’re heading off to the beach or on a long journey in the coming weeks the following resources might be of interest. I’ll be ploughing through them (on the train to work alas!) and put up a summary when I can.

Kumi Naidoo – Boiling Point: Can citizen action save the world ?
NCVO – Understanding power to achieve social change
Sheila McKechnie Foundation – People Power Conference Report

What’s your summer reading? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

NCVO consultation on Freedom of Information

I’ve been meaning to blog for some time about  the usefulness of Freedom of Information as a campaign tool. Having used it to some limited extent I can see the value of it. NCVO are running a consultation on how it’s been used by campaigning organisations at the moment. They hope the results will lead to a guide on using it effectively as a campaign tool.

I’d encourage you to get involved and share your experiences –

Progress reports – letting campaigners know how it’s going!

I’ve just (belatedly) come across Oxfam’s excellent ‘Climate Change Campaign Progress Report’ it’s a simple idea, but I think that this the first time I’ve seen it used by a big campaigning organisation.

For much of the last year, Oxfam have been writing a monthly progress report on their climate change campaigning, giving themselves a score out of 5 for how they’ve been doing against their change objectives. Their isn’t much about the criteria they use for reaching the score on the site (if anyone from Oxfam is reading this I’d be great if you could share it), but its an excellent way of giving a snapshot of campaign progress.

Campaigning can be a mysterious process, with decisions made by the ‘professionals’ and requests made of supporters to take action, so I really like the way that they’ve unpacked this in such a user-friendly way. Each month Oxfam takes the time to explains to their supporters about what’s happened, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, as well as providing more about the context about the direction they see the campaign going in.

Doing this isn’t without its risks. You’ve got to be prepared to publicly admit when you get things wrong (and explain why), you run the risk of going for months getting the same score for impact through no fault of your own (the campaign has scored above a 3 since November 200) and your targets can identify the approach you plan to take but despite that it’s a neat innovation.

Some might argue that it’s a bit too simplistic, that it’s not possible to rank the impact of
campaigning simply out of 5, but in an era where transparency and accountability are rightly becoming important things to be considered I think that view is short-sighted and Oxfam should be applauded for trying to let their campaigners know how it’s going. I hope others will follow, I know I’ll be encouraging the campaigns I’m a part of to do so.