The Greenpeace* Campaigning Model

Is there a perfect model for the political change? Probably not. Situations vary. Still – one of my hobbies is to look at great campaigns and identify success factors. I’ve been such a great fan of Greenpeace’s strategic approach to environmental campaigning that I introduced its model to a group of digital rights activists last weekend in Hamburg:

  1. Start with a Problem. Then find out who’s affected by it. Once you can start talking about a clear victim, you have all ingredients to raise awareness around your issue.
  2. Find a Culprit. No matter how complex the situation, there’s one person that isn’t doing what they ought to solve the problem. There’s your scandal. Start talking about what should happen to resolve these issues.
  3. Build a Coalition. If you did your work well, many people will agree with you now. Engaging them can strengthen your campaign and mobilize resources you didn’t think you had. What can you do to build momentum?
  4. Identify the Right Moment. Wait for a window of opportunity when your campaign target is particularly weak or public opinion on your side. Now use your network to powerfully call your campaign target to action.

Rinse and repeat.

* The actual model used by Greenpeace will be a lot more complex. This post is based on page 7 of Chris Rose‘s “How to Win Campaigns” (2005) – I wholeheartedly recommend reading the 320 pages of his new edition (2010) in their entirety.

The Greenpeace* Campaigning Model
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