Campaigning consists of actions that aim for broad changes in policies, populations, communities, institutions, or systems. Rather than helping people directly, campaigning seeks to create change in the external environment surrounding an issue. It is an opportunity to have a greater and longer-lasting impact than you could by working with those who are directly affected by an issue.
A theory of change describes how we think our activities will create the change we want to achieve. Traditional approaches to theory of change can be difficult to apply to campaigning—because the route to change is convoluted and difficult to predict, the external environment is complex and changeable, and there is no exact precedent for what you are trying to achieve.
This resource builds on our Theory of change in ten steps guidance. It explores the challenges that campaigning situations pose and how you can overcome them and develop a theory of change for campaigning.
Campaigns usually have a clear sense of what they deliver and what they want to achieve but the connections between the two are often tacit or ill-defined. However, our experience is that because there is less certainty and the issues involved are complex, it is essential to use theory of change to bring structure, clarity and focus to your work. Theory of change encourages people to think about the intermediate steps as well as the underlying thinking for a campaign. This leads to clearer goals and better plans for achieving them.
To dig deeper, join our upcoming theory of change for campaigning training session on 22 November, where we will outline a step-by-step approach for developing theories of change that are meaningful and useful for your work.