In pursuit of virtue: value-based campaigning

tree image1“Once upon a time there was a small girl who gazed at the last tree in the world . . . “ It’s a short-story exercise an inspirational primary school teacher set me back in the early 1970s. I remember seeing that beautiful tree in my mind’s eye, how we all needed it, how good it felt to be next to it. I was that kind of kid. I wanted the tree to live and then more .

 

What I didn’t know then is that the love of the tree connected with some of my deepest intrinsic values: protecting the environment and promoting well-being. There’s loads of other intrinsic values that people share such as caring for the community and each other and social justice. 20 years of public policy making and campaigning has taught me: you can bombard people with statistics and tactics; but what’s going to stick and create lasting change is appealing to the intrinsic values people hold dear.  Yes, money is tight. But here’s an idea: perhaps obsessing about money to sell solutions merely helped  create the lone tree in the first place.

 

If you want to know more about the empirical evidence in support of a value-based approach to campaigning please visit: WWF’s Strategies for Change project 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If it has touched you in any way then please do add a comment. If you want to know more about effective communication and creating social good then please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

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When maybe means no

maybe2“What do they mean?” How many times have you been asked this question by a friend who needs to get a handle on what someone’s trying to say to them? Part of what I do is helping people read in between the lines. People who have crossed continents or have a disability that impacts on their “inter-personal” communication skills and in turn their business.

Putting it in a nutshell, the bit of information they usually need when they ask me this question – even though they don’t know it yet (because you can’t possibly know what you don’t know) – is: the person you’re communicating with is an indirect communicator. The e-mails are confusing you because you’re a direct communicator. You take words at face value. To you maybe means maybe. To the indirect communicator maybe generally means no. Indirect communicators don’t want to say no directly because that can lead to embarrassment and conflict.  Honesty is important to them as is harmony. Like any skill communicating in a non-direct style can be learnt.

If you want to know more about

The impact of direct and indirect communication

Whether you’re a direct or indirect communicator?

A future post will follow shortly on how to become a better indirect communicator. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this, I’d love to hear from you. Please do add a comment and perhaps I’ll use it in a future post.

Effective e-mails: 6 useful tips

email meContacting influential people – whether they’re newspaper editors or MPs – can be a little like walking a tightrope. You know they’re busy people so you don’t want to hassle them unnecessarily; but you  really want to engage them with your latest news, ideas, campaign . . .

Here’s some strategies that have worked for me:

  • Do your research. Do you know someone who knows them? Perhaps they can give you an insight into the editor’s future scheduling; or an issue that’s keeping the MP awake at night.
  • Keep the e-mail short, simple and straight to the point. 
  • Have these three key sentences ready: an introduction proving that you know something about the person; why you’re contacting them; and what your idea, offer or question is.
  • Include your URL in signature. Make it easy for people to contact you.
  • Be realistic and generous. Thank them in advance for any help they can offer. If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Follow-up though.
  • Write short, descriptive subject lines that give the reader a reason to open up. So you really need to know your audience. What’s important to them at the moment?

If you want to know more:

How to email important people

Best practice in writing email subject lines

Perfect subject lines

Do you have an email tip to share? Please do add a comment; and why not follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

 

How to create good social policy: 10 tips

adopt a policy

1.  Be realistic. We’d all like to have a magic wand but only the fairy queen has one.

2.  Be clear about your outcomes. An outcome is not the activity itself (serving lunch to a group of older people who currently live at home) but the impact it has on their lives (it might increase their confidence eg ). 

3.  Be aware outcomes come in three shapes:

Individual: Frank feels much more confident.

Service level: 10 people are able to stay independent at home.

Strategic: More people can live the life they want.

4.  Be rigorous about how you’re going to measure success.

5.  Be careful to get buy-in from all relevant departments.

6.  Be open. You might have to change your mind.

7.  Be respectful of evidence. Experiment. Do a pilot.

8.  Be clear about who’s meant to be doing what.

9.  Be sure to encourage constructive feedback from all staff.

10.Be honest. Will this really make people’s lives better?

If you want to know more about outcomes-based policy development helpful reads are:

NCVO’s Measuring and Commissioning Outcomes and Social Value and The experience of the use of outcomes-based commissioning in Camden.

Hope this has been useful. Why not give me a shout if there’s a policy issue that’s keeping you awake at night. Please follow me on twitter @businesses4good. 

Blue heaven: 8 effective communication tips

tree image“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

 This quote speaks to me at the moment. Over the last month people who need communication help have been coming forward to get a bit of advice and support. Here’s 8 business4good tweets from last week all aimed at promoting effective communication:

If you’re interested in becoming a more effective communicator or perhaps you think your organisation could do with a quick communication audit why not give me a ring on 07966 369579. Always interested in good communication tips. Why not add one.

Please do follow me on twitter @businesses4good.

Some useful public affairs resources #1

japan

Political round-up of the week (wb 04.02.13)

Grow Your Charity Online provides free training+tools for smaller charities

Jargon buster: select committees

 14 campaign tips

Helpful advice on planning a charity event 

Business tips to improve your copy 

New young philanthropists want to be more involved in the creation of charity  projects 

Older people learn better reading comics thanks to creative visuals and storytelling

 

From this week’s top Businesses4good tweets.

If you want to know more about how I can help you communicate, campaign and lobby more effectively why not give me a call on 07966 369579. 

14 campaigning tips: to help you out

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProud to share 14 group learning outcomes from a recent successful Creative Public Affairs workshop Create Impact: Campaign Training aimed at community groups and smaller charities in Reading.

  • Make campaigning a key discussion in your organisation.
  • Understand the impact you want to have as a starting point.
  • Keep focused on that objective
  • Have a good, strong, clear, memorable strap-line (campaign objective).
  • Identify your key stakeholders: the high interest, high influence group.
  • Be effective. Always use strategies that are minimum effort, maximum impact.
  • Have a clear strategy.
  • Prioritise. Being over-ambitious means you spread yourself too thinly which leads to being ineffective.
  • Speak to and discuss ideas with lots of people.
  • Create coalitions: work with other groups who shared concerns and outcomes.
  • Don’t lose sight of direct action and ‘old’ off-line techniques. Don’t necessarily expect to rely on technology and social media for the entire campaign
  • Be flexible and willing to adapt where necessary.
  • There is no one magic solution.
  • Remember the key words: impact, outcomes, influence and effectiveness.

Thanks to @GetInvolvedRDG for funding the event and @RISC_Reading for the excellent venue.

Please do comment on your favourite campaign tip; and follow me @businesses4good to find out more about how to campaign effectively and with impact.