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Creating a communications strategy for your campaign

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A communications strategy is part of your overall campaign strategy and summarises all of the communications within your campaign.

A good communications strategy will include:

  • your campaign aims and objectives
  • the target audiences you have identified
  • the messages you develop and your overall tone.

It should capture all of the strategic decisions you make about communications in your campaign.

What to include in your communications plan

The communications plan will set out in detail:

  • who your different audiences are
  • how you will reach those audiences and details of your messaging
  • your logistics, budgets and timeframes, including a campaign launch date
  • details of who needs to sign off the plan
  • ways to monitor and capture data so you can evaluate your campaign’s success.

It is essential that any digital campaigning is fully integrated within your overall campaign and communications strategies, and that it brings your offline and online campaigning together.

NCVO runs training in digital skills for campaigners, and digital campaigning is also a part of NCVO’s Certificate in Campaigning. You can also take a look at Fairsay for further information on digital and e-campaigning.

Identifying different audiences and targets

Your stakeholder analysis and influence mapping will have identified priority target audiences. These could be allies, neutrals and opponents, and you will need tailored communications for each of them. To make best use of your resources, you could build a profile of each target audience that you need to reach.

You may want to consider the following:

  • How could the audience react to your views?
  • How are they likely to be relating to your campaign issue, and how could you tap into that or disrupt it?
  • What are your audience’s values and how are you going to relate to them?
  • Do you have the capacity and resources to relate to your audience effectively?
  • What sort of information would be most persuasive for your different audiences?
  • What type of communications do your various audiences use most?
  • Which newspapers and magazines do they read?
  • Do they listen more to local or national news?
  • Which social media channels do they use?

Developing effective campaign messages

Once you have identified your different audiences and which channels you are likely to reach them through, you can create tailored messages.

Here are some tips for developing your campaign messages:

  • Keep it simple. Jargon will put people off.
  • Have a clear ask: spell out what you want people to do and what could happen as a result of their actions.
  • Make it compelling by explaining why action is needed now.
  • Be consistent – in both your overall campaign concept and in the wider organisational style.
  • Keep repeating the same message.

Consider how you will bring your story to life and capture your target’s interest. Personal stories are often very compelling, but considering the following will help you avoid common pitfalls:

  • Are you stereotyping?
  • Are you presenting people as victims or positively?
  • How are you presenting the relationship between staff and beneficiaries?
  • Who has sign off?

Further information

NCVO’s Good Guide to Campaigning and Influencing

NCVO Certificate in Campaigning

Framing your campaign and connecting with your audience

Page last edited May 15, 2017

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