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.

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