2D NEED TO KNOW Strategy

Here are some points to consider when planning the awareness campaign:

  • Establish the need for this campaign– why is this important, and why now?
  • Ask the school community what they think. Video it or write it down to show in the PFC campaign.
  • What ideas did the school community have about ways to build support for reducing plastic waste in the school community?  
Defining your aim
  • What issue is the focus?  For example: the harms of plastic pollution, or the amount of plastic being used at school? (e.g. focus on a specific item, like plastic water bottles)
  • What is the realistic goal for the campaign?
  • When is it possible to know the goal has been achieved?
  • What is the objective, or slogan? Can this fit on a t-shirt/poster?    
  • Work towards a specific date (or week) in the school calendar might give incentive and pressure.
  • TOP TIP: Look for World Day events – Example: World Water day.
  • Find dates that suit the PFC project and mark in the calendar as a plastic-free event.
  • What are the milestones to be set along the way?
  • For example, launch an event or host an awareness day.    
Defining your audience
  • Who is the audience?  Is it parents, staff and/or students?
  • If the campaign focuses mostly on students, make sure the language is written for them and by them
  • Ensure there are materials targeted to the wider school community:  parents – either via a letter/email home or a brief mention at student-teacher meetings    
Defining your allies
  • Identify allies and supporters.
  • What resistance do you anticipate from the school community and why?
  • If there is a plan to launch at a specific event, who is in charge of running that event, and how can they be of support to PFC? (This is why it’s a good idea to get people with different skill sets to be a part of the EcoCrew).
  • If there is an awareness campaign that addresses a local issue. Who is already working on that issue?
  • Can they provide support, guidance or materials?    

 This section is adapted from the Know How Non-Profit’s campaign strategy template


Campaign strategy template

A campaign strategy is a headline document. It sets out the headlines of your campaign. Most campaigns are likely to also need more detailed plans too.

This strategy template includes the main questions your campaign strategy should answer. This template is a tool to help you make essential decisions about your campaign.

However, much of the detail within each section of this document can be set out later when you come to plan your campaign.

A) WHY run the campaign?

The campaign context

Your rationale for mounting the campaign

The external context. The situation that you’re seeking to change and why; your analysis of the current situation (the power dynamics, the key actors eg politicians, civil society, business etc); what’s needed to influence the key actors and achieve change; your organisation’s approach to change (eg insider / outsider); etc.

The internal context. How exactly the campaign will deliver on your organisation’s strategy (including likely organisational support / buy-in to it); your organisation’s ability to achieve the changes / win the campaign (assessment of risk, strengths and weaknesses, contribution of campaign to longer-term development goals); etc.

B) WHAT will the campaign achieve?

Campaign aim

Your impact and outcomes

Campaign impact/aim. The significant change(s) in the world that the campaign is designed to achieve. Specific enough to know when you’ve won.

Campaign outcomes: smaller or shorter-term outcomes. Also real-world changes, these are designed to pave the way to achieving your campaign aim – the optimum journey of change to campaign success. These need to be as ‘SMART’ as possible, in order to make detailed plans and review progress.

Your theory of change. Explain the thinking behind your desired impact/aim and outcomes, and notably why the outcomes are the most effective way to achieve the overall change that you are campaigning for.

Also comment on how best the outcomes could be achieved, as a link to the ‘How’ sections below.

Optional – Milestones: key steps towards achieving your Outcomes. Where campaign Outcomes are complex to achieve and/or will take a long time, you can break them down into smaller, measurable steps.

NB: you’re still looking at the ‘what’, not the ‘how’ – these are probably a few bullets per Outcome.

Delete this row if it’s not relevant.

C) HOW will you run the campaign?

Key tactics, external support, comms and resources

Your main campaign outputs

NB: avoid going into operational detail in these sections – just address the big, strategic issues.

Key tactics. The overall style of your campaign (eg mobilisation or lobbying or communications, insider/ outsider etc); the main tactics that you will need to deploy, and how they will win the campaign. Avoid making assumptions about tactics – what worked before (or what you like doing) may not be the optimum tactics for this campaign.

External support. The people and/or organisations that you need to get onside in order to win the campaign – supporters, partners, allies, etc; those that you need to engage in order to succeed, and how you’ll engage them.

Communications. Your key campaign messages; the target audience(s) that you need to influence with those messages. How you intend to reach your target audience(s) with your messages, and in a way that’ll persuade them.

Resources. What you need in order to win the campaign, including:

·      The funding, and how you will agree or find it if it isn’t already in place.

·      The people (staff, volunteers, groups, activists etc), and how you will gain their commitment if it isn’t agreed.

·      Any equipment, facilities or other resources, and how you will secure them if they are not in place.

D) HOW will you build capacity?

Internal development

Optional – only if you want the campaign to help build your future campaigning effectiveness

Organisational Aim(s): internal impact – if there are any. Significant, specific change(s) in your organisation’s ability to campaign that are needed to ensure success and/or that can benefit future campaigning.

Delete this row if it’s not relevant.

Organisational Outcomes: internal outcomes – if there are any. The smaller changes that can best deliver your organisational aim, cast as ‘SMART’ as possible.

Delete this row if it’s not relevant.

Optional: Other issues to consider when developing your strategy

How does this strategy link with your activity planning and evaluation work?

Operational planning & review

A campaign strategy is a headline document – it sets out the headlines of your campaign, and ideally it is short. For most campaigns there are likely to be more detailed plans required. Explain here which other planning documents (if any) the strategy links with, and how they link.

Ongoing review is a vital component of all campaigns, and scheduling in a suitable ‘plan-do-review’ cycle is recommended. Explain here how you plan to monitor and evaluate the campaign.

Also, do be prepared to review the strategy at short notice – you may well need to respond rapidly to changes in the external environment.

How does this strategy link with other resources?

Additional context


Your campaign strategy is likely to draw upon additional information – for example research findings, statistics or other evidence about the current situation, expert or academic papers, other organisational plans or policies, etc etc.

As some people may need or want to see this supporting evidence, do reference the sources and signpost them to where that information is available.

The words used in campaign strategy and evaluation can be confusing. NCVO uses the following definitions in our publications and training in campaigning:

· Problem or Issue: what is the problem or issue you are trying to address in your strategy?

· Impact: the ultimate effect on the lives of those you seeking change for.

· Strategies: the overall grouping of types of activities/ key strategic decisions that you judge will lead to the change you are seeking.

· Outcomes: significant changes that lead to the final impact.

· Outputs: the specific results of work programmes designed to achieve your outcomes.

· Activities/process: the work you do to achieve those outputs.

· Inputs: the resources you deploy to be able to undertake the activities to achieve the outputs.

· Assumptions: what are you assuming in your analysis about the world around you that could affect your strategy?

SMART OBJECTIVES: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.


It’s a good idea to link the awareness campaign to figures pulled from the waste audit to make the campaign more relevant to the school.