Campaigning to win

Unite on the marchCampaigning is a key part of what we do. Together we will fight the cuts to services and our people and build a better future for all, not just the few.

Many of our activists are experienced campaigners, but every one of us can get involved and organise campaigns. Here are some basic tips and two downloadable guides to help you along.

Downloads: Unite campaign guide and a guide to web campaigning


What do you hope to achieve? It is no good rushing out to organise demonstrations, public meetings or printing flyers if you haven’t set an aim. Objectives are the building blocks that give your campaign structure and keep you on track. They make it possible to review how successful or not a campaign has been and whether the aim has been achieved. Consider this definition:

“A campaign is an organised and coherent series of actions and objectives that together work towards the achievement of a big overarching aim.”


Create a ‘flexible’ campaign plan, with a timetable and identified responsibilities. This will help everyone involved know what is expected and when, and you’ll be far less likely to get side tracked.  Define your purpose or aim – what do you want to achieve? When? Set a timetable. Who? Choose a team and set your tasks. How? Consider your tactics and actions. 


Getting people involved in the campaign increases the chances of success. If there are too few people they run the risk of burning out - too many and it can become difficult to get things done. Speak to people early on, identify their skills and interests. Consider setting up a sub-committee to draft the campaign plan. Sharing the workload and using people’s skills effectively will only make the campaign stronger. After all collective action is the best model for social change.



Actions are what you do to achieve your aim. These can be big or small from letter writing and handing out flyers to big marchers or workplace protests. Choose your tactics carefully; make sure that they are the best and most effective way of bringing about the change you want. Don’t forget your target audience. Who are they? And what do you want to tell them? Many campaigns will have multiple audiences ranging from employees in a workplace and the general public to local councillors and MPs.

There are many ways to spread your message and raise awareness, including press releases, letters to your local paper, flyers, public meetings, facebook and Twitter, email, demonstrations and letter writing. Check out Unite’s campaign guides (see below) for a full list of campaign actions and how to implement them.


We learn by reviewing our actions. The best way to do this is to look back at whether we achieved the aim that was set. In addition here are a few other questions to consider: Did you build a broad-based grassroots campaign? Did you raise the union’s reputation in the media and among members? Did you recruit new members? Did you raise awareness of the issue?  Have you made a difference? If not, why not? Sit down with your campaign team and make a note of worked and what didn’t, and what you would do differently next time. And well done.

“If we fight we may not always win, but if we don’t fight we will surely lose.

Good luck with your campaign 

Contact Unite’s campaign team, we’re happy to help

campaigning toolkit web campaigning toolkit