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How to develop your campaigner networks

Developing a larger campaigner network requires a clear drive on recruiting supporters. In order to get more people to campaign for you, it is essential to mobilise your "core" activists. You must get them to go out and encourage people to engage with your organisation and eventually recruit, on their own.

It is good to have a clear set of guidelines when you are recruiting from a "grassroots" level. Here is some advice to make the process a little easier and more effective.

Things you'll need

  • Motivated people
  • Guidelines

Who to recruit

Extending your campaigner network and support base can be a very tough ask, for a small, relatively unknown organisation. In order to further your reach; you must first of all decide who you will target. The obvious groups will be people already active in the community e.g. faith groups, political parties, trade unions and youth centres. Another good place to start looking is, in the areas where your charity does its work. Anyone affected by your work will be far more receptive and likely to participate.


However, this will only extend your network so far. You must, also, look to the groups of people who aren't connected in any immediate way to your organisation's work. This demographic is not active in the community, either. They are the passive bunch. But just because they don't actively pursue your cause, doesn't mean that they don't agree with it - they just need a bit more encouragement than the other two groups.


Inspiring people to join

When recruiting people, it is imperative to make them feel part of the cause before they even are. The key to doing so, will come from the message that you pedal and the literature that informs the people. The message must be well thought out, simple and clear. If you don't have a clear and comprehensive message, it will easily get muddied when people on the street are using it. Remember: the message should be good enough so that, people higher up the organisation don't have to constantly check if everyone is on the same page.


Make sure to include lots of questions as opposed to affirmative messages i.e. "You must inspire change.", instead try using more reflective, self-examining questions, such as: "Can you inspire change?". Research shows, people are far more motivated to do something when asked the question rather than the pre-emptive answer. 



Getting people to join up and become active campaigners, is not exactly simple. Spreading yourself over a whole plethora of platforms is the easiest way to connect to the "would-be" activists.


  • Taking to the streets and collecting e-mail addresses and phone numbers is a good way of coaxing support from the "passive" demographic. These can all be put onto a database where you can do some targeted direct mailings. 
  • Getting in contact with community leaders and asking them to promote, or even let you, come to their groups' and let you extend your message on slightly more receptive ears, will really galvanise it.
  • Social Media is now a very obvious and low cost way of reaching a far larger audience without over-extending your resources. Make sure these are well linked up to your other websites and media outlets.

Possible barriers to recruitment

People may like your rhetoric, but lack the confidence to take the bull by the horns. To ensure they firmly clutch those horns with a grasp stronger than that geezer with all the hair - heed this advice:


  • People are busy. They may feel they can't spare enough time to adequately affect change. Reassure them that even the smallest of contributions is greatly welcomed. Inform them that it all goes towards the bigger picture.
  • People may lack the confidence in their own skills. If this comes up, ask them to focus on what they can do, instead of, what they can't.
  • Some people will think their contribution is futile. Make sure to inform them that campaigns are slow, but do eventually yield change. Show them examples of past campaigns that have been successful.


Page last edited Jul 24, 2013 History

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