With lots more time being spent at home, many of us have turned to online learning as a way to not only fill time and entertain us, but also broaden our horizons when the world can feel so small. Our Education Officer, Gemma, has been trying out some Fair Trade focused courses, previously recommending the Who Made My Clothes? course on our blog.
This month, Gemma has been learning from a more general course, hosted by the Open University on their free platform Open Learn. The course, Campaigns and Organisations, covers how to effectively manage a campaign as part of a charity or voluntary organisation – something that many Rainbow Turtle supporters may find interesting in the run up to Fairtrade Fortnight! It’s a short course – said to take around 2 hours of online study – that gives lots of useful information in a straightforward way.
It begins with a short case study about a parent teacher association which is campaigning for the lowering of the speed limit on roads within the vicinity of its school and uses their example to emphasise the importance of focusing efforts on one issue at a time and knowing who the issue will benefit and who to target to get it done.
Particularly interesting is a recorded interview between Terry O’Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in Management at the Open University Business School, and Chris Stalker, Head of Campaigning Effectiveness at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. They discuss many important factors to consider when campaigning, with the most salient advice being to be absolutely clear from the beginning about what you are trying to achieve. They also cover how to decide who to target with your campaign (e.g. political figures or the general public), how to manage problems (such as focusing too much on either fundraising or campaigning activities), how to approach the media, how to use technology in your campaign, and how to assess your impact as you progress. Most interesting for Rainbow Turtle was their advice on how to “punch above your weight” in campaigning as a small organisation by considering carefully how to use your finite resources of time and money.
The Open University pack in a great deal of useful information into this very short – and free! – course and it will be a huge help to many campaigners, particularly if they are just starting out.