5 tips for business membership groups on climate action campaigns

Advocating for policy outcomes is a core duty of associations. But how do you mount an effective campaign and navigate member politics? (Produced for and first published by Climate Action For Associations)

River and rainforest

Campaigns galvanise memberships like few other things can. They become focal points for collective action and recruitment. They communicate values and authority. Associations can harness this convening power in the fight for climate action. And many do put the environment at the heart of their campaigns. But this is a big agenda. Success requires focus…

  1. Choose a topic that gets personal with the costs of inaction. The best membership group campaigns are rooted in common, shared experiences. That’s where you’ll find the unifying themes and passionate case studies. It’s where you can speak with most authority.

  2. Set a campaign goal with a finish line. Objectives that are unclear or too broad in scope undermine campaigns. They make it impossible to communicate well and grow support. If you can't describe the goal in one sentence and prove it’s been met, it's no good.

  3. Base your campaign strategy on a plausible ‘theory of change’. A theory of change describes how a campaign builds pressure on decision-makers to act on your goal. What are the staging points to a shareholder revolt? A vote in parliament to change a law? Behaviour change in citizens?

  4. Set and review metrics for each campaign tactic, then refine. Campaign tactics can be visible - like protests, petitions, the use of social and traditional media. They can be ‘below the line’ as with private meetings. Performance data help you identify what works best for your campaign.

  5. Empower your supporters with common resources. Effective campaigns develop momentum outside the association project team. Encourage this with shareable content, toolkits and template materials. Social media hashtags further help to ‘franchise’ the campaign.

Download full briefing here:

PolicyDepartment-CAFA tip sheet for associations on climate action campaigns