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Influencing non-government organisations

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Influencing the private sector

Private sector companies are often sophisticated at managing their public profiles, and can use their huge marketing and PR budgets to sustain their campaigns. This can often make it difficult for campaigners to directly take on large companies in the public arena, outside of the more obvious disaster scenarios like oil rigs that fail, breaks that malfunction on cars, and product defects that cause serious injuries.

All campaigns involve a mixture of persuasion and pressure, and the approaches and tactics that you take will depend on your issue and how receptive your targets are to your proposed changes.

Your campaign activity could range from:

  • boycotts of a particular company’s products or services
  • holding companies to account, to industry-wide or regulatory standards
  • targeting specific stakeholders or shareholders of a company or turning public support into action.

Brian Lamb talks in more detail about influencing the private sector in NCVO’s Good Guide to Campaigning and Influencing.

Influencing people’s behavior

Behaviour change campaigns can involve tackling long-held views and values that inform and are linked to the way we act, or they can try to change behaviour directly. They can also tackle the underlying perception of particular issues, which can make people more likely to accept certain laws, policies and practices.

In campaigning, the right combination of legislation and attitude-changing campaigns can make a big difference to longstanding and difficult issues. Brian Lamb summarises the main concepts from social marketing theory that you can use when running this type of campaign, including tips on how to influence people’s behaviour.

Legal advocacy

Legal advocacy is based on the idea that laws are not always enough unless they allow individuals to exercise their legal rights and obtain redress when those rights are not upheld or are violated. Cases where this does not happen allow the law to be tested and refined.

Using the courts can be a complex and sometimes expensive means of campaigning if you have to commission legal advice, but winning a case will lead to change and brings significant publicity.

If you have a case that is testing a legal boundary or seems to be a gross miscarriage of justice, it may interest legal firms and they could offer free legal advice.

Page last edited May 18, 2017

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