Setting goals, devising ‘asks’ – clear asks make goals clear to everyone.

Clear, measurable goals and objectives should emerge from the deep, participatory process of ‘cutting the diamond’. Without such a process organizations can waste time, effort and money on elegant plans and lofty aspirations that push campaigns into a dead-end. Once your goals are clearly defined e.g. ‘Save the Whales’ – a key question then arises: what is ‘the ask’? What precisely do we, must we demand – and of whom – to save the whales? Campaigners often confuse these two and make the goal the ‘ask’. Peace might be a goal, but: ‘We demand Peace, and we demand it Now’ is not the appropriate ‘ask’ to achieve the goal. An example of a great campaign that failed, in our view, to ‘cut the diamond’ correctly, even while it communicated brilliantly with its target audiences, was the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign of 2005. An advocacy campaign whose goal it was to make poverty history at the G8 Summit of world leaders in Gleneagles in 2005 was supremely ambitious but is widely perceived to have failed in its goal – even while it succeeded in communicating effectively with a range of audiences. So while measurable, quantifiable and achievable goals are vital, it is important also to formulate specific demands – the ‘asks’ – that if implemented, will help achieve the goals. Both goals and demands will emerge from an analysis that is deep, considered, logical and rigorous. Goals – principled goals – are particularly important in holding together a coalition or alliance, and reminding partners of the overarching ambition and potential scope of the campaign. Too often such ambition can be dissipated because goals are not clear, radical or inspiring enough to persuade campaigners to make sacrifices in support of the campaign. But ambition can also be dissipated in bureaucratic wrangling, and by a narrow focus on self-interest and self-promotion. Once you have your goals, your ‘ask’ and strategy – commit to them. Don’t be buffeted by internal or external pressures. That’s a tough challenge, as you and fellow campaigners may come under enormous pressure. But commitment to a well thought-out strategy is a great test of leadership – individual and collective, and vital to your success. Of course tactical flexibility is necessary – but only within the strict confines of your principles, goals and overall strategy.

2018-04-11T15:12:57+00:00 Uncategorized|