Campaign Strategy

The content of this workshop is very much influenced by the work of the United States Students Association, the Midwest Academy, and the Grassroots Organizing Weekend (GROW) training that these organizations developed together.

As a group, figure out the following for your campaign:

» Goals: What concrete things do you want to win? Are there smaller concrete victories you need to win along the way? Make sure your goals are specific things a certain decision-maker can choose to make happen, but isn't going to do so unless you put the pressure on!

» Your organization: What specifically does you group have that might be useful in the campaign? (A megaphone? $200 in the bank? Access to a copier?) What specific things do you want your organization to gain in the process of this campaign? (5 new core members? Better relationships with workers?) What internal problems might affect the campaign? (Is half the group about to graduate? Are two people making all the decisions without others' input? Be honest!)

» Who's involved? Who are the "constituents," or people actively organizing to win this campaign? (How many are there? Are they campus workers, who are directly affected by the issue, or students acting in solidarity?) Who are your allies, and who do you want to become an ally? (Other student groups? Local labor community? Religious leaders?) Is anyone actively organizing against your campaign? (Irritating and apathetic passers-by don't count!)

» Targets: Who is the individual decision-maker with the power to actually give you what you want (your goal)? Are there any "secondary targets," individuals who have power over the primary target, but who you have more leverage with?

» Tactics: How are you going to educate your community to build your organization and support for the campaign? (Film screenings? Educational events? Going door-to-door in dorms?) How are you going to show your power and get your target(s) to do what you want? (Occupying offices? Taking over public events?) Click here for more on tactics.

» Timeline: When will you put these plans into action? Are there specific dates you need to work towards? (The expiration of a union contract? An important Board of Trustees meeting?) How will you deal with summer, exam times, and other common lulls in student activists' schedules? Are you planning to take the time to build strong relationships with campus workers? If you're planning on a major direct action in the forseeable future, how will you gradually escalate to that point?

Coming soon... Find out how students in the successful campaign at Washington University conceived of their strategy!


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