Success in Policy Campaigns
5 phases to victory
If you understand the five phases of a campaign and vigorously pursue the objectives in each phase, you will develop a powerful campaign. The early phases will lay the foundation for a victory in Phase 4. The phases describe distinct periods in the campaign process and are generally to be completed in order. However, these phases are guidelines, not unbendable rules, and essential activities like recruitment, assessing the environment and refining your strategy should continue throughout the campaign. For tools you can use in your campaign during each phase, click here.
Phase 1—Preliminary investigation and assessment (4-8 weeks)
The purpose in Phase 1 is to solidify your policy goal and the specific city or county which will be the target of your efforts. You will need to assess the political environment, to identify local problems, issues and resources which might impact your campaign, gather public health data, and understand other factors which could influence decision makers.
Phase 2—Strategy and planning (8-16 weeks)
The public health and political environment information collected during Phase 1 informs the development of your campaign strategy during this phase. The primary activity of this phase is to develop a preliminary strategy using the Midwest Academy Strategy Chart. Along with the Strategy chart you will establish a rough timeline for the campaign. Involve people in developing the strategy chart who you think will be core members of your campaign coalition, but don’t forget to include others who may have critically needed knowledge and experience such as political consultants, former elected officials, and key community leaders. This phase also includes the development of the ordinance with the Technical Assistance Legal Center (TALC)
Phase 3—Recruitment (8-12 weeks)
Before contacting elected officials or the media, it is time to reach out beyond your core supporters and involve more people in your effort both as core supporters, and as allies or endorsing organizations. In this phase, you and your coalition will need to: conduct activities aimed specifically at recruiting new supporters, train your core group to conduct one-on-one recruiting meetings with key opinion leaders, make presentations to organizations, have one-on-one meetings with prospective new coalition activists, and attend community social events. At the end of this phase the campaign team will plan and facilitate a campaign “kick-off” event to begin the more high profile part of the campaign.
Phase 4—The campaign (4-8 months)
This phase takes the plan developed in the strategy chart and implements it. But before moving forward, revisit the strategy chart and timeline with the newly recruited campaign team members. In particular, review campaign tactics, since they need to be compatible with the coalition, including the new members. Now you are in full campaign mode. We recommend creating four action teams to efficiently implement the strategy chart: 1. Drafting the ordinance (to work with TALC); 2. Media (to write letters or articles); 3. Action (to collect surveys of youth or adults); and 4. Speakers bureau (to give many presentations to community groups to get their support).
Phase 5—Evaluation (4 weeks)
The evaluations conducted throughout all of the phases should seek to determine the effectiveness of campaign activities and tactics. The Tobacco Control Evaluation Center can help determine how best to use baseline questionnaires, surveys or interviews to evaluate your effort.