The Secret of Campaigning: insights from charity leaders
Charities in the 21st century have to be laser-focused on their mission, whilst grappling with new and complex demands.
An often unsustainable paradox.
And many third sector teams find themselves walking the tightrope between direct frontline service provision and broader advocacy for systemic change.
How does it all work?
The Possibility Club podcast from always possible has been asking these questions for years.
Drawing on insights from prominent charity leaders in recent episodes, we have delved into the complex interplay between delivering at scale and the barriers faced in modern-day campaigning.
The Dual Role: campaigning and frontline service
CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed, Joeli Brearly, says her experiences underscore the complexities of this duality. As an advocate against the motherhood penalty, she’s been on the frontline, directly assisting affected women disadvantaged by becoming pregnant, while simultaneously pushing for broader societal change on maternity rights.
Similarly, Jamie Klingler, with her involvement in the Reclaim These Streets campaign, highlights the tension between immediate support for affected individuals and long-term advocacy for safer streets. The question arises: can charities truly balance these roles without one overshadowing the other?
Barriers to modern-day campaigning
Dr. Julia Grace Patterson from EveryDoctor sheds light on the intricate challenges in today’s advocacy landscape. The balance between upholding core values while navigating the political spectrum is precarious. In a world saturated with information and competing narratives, genuine engagement becomes a potent tool. But, as Jamie Klingler points out, even with active engagement, campaigns can face resistance, making it imperative for charities to be strategic and adaptive.
Ideology vs. neutral advocacy
The debate about the role of ideology in charity campaigning is a potent one. Can charities ever truly campaign for change without being ideological? Dr. Patterson’s experiences with EveryDoctor reveal a challenge between voicing concerns assertively and maintaining essential relationships. The critical priority lies in ensuring campaigns resonate with genuine concerns while avoiding overt ideological biases.
The future of charitable campaigning
Richard Freeman, CEO of strategic consultancy always possible, always emphasises the importance of “practical bravery and radical collaboration” in navigating the complexities of modern advocacy. Forward-thinking and adaptability become crucial.
As the landscape evolves, charities must not only address current challenges but also anticipate future shifts, ensuring their campaigns remain relevant and focused on the problem they are trying to solve.
Does your organisation feel clear and confident on its position?