Photo of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise sailing through ice

Ted Fickes

Editor, writer and strategist

A few weeks back we shared some experiences with radical listening at Greenpeace Argentina.

Great! But what’s the shift in thinking that made this possible?Staff asked for feedback on a campaign before launching, received some frank assessments that the message needed work, and changed up their approach and plans as a result.

In this case, a people-centered step in campaign planning is part of an integrated organizational approach to campaigning that puts enormous value on campaign innovation and success.

There is no campaign checklist that says “radically listen to people prior to launch.” This step is not one that happens with every campaign but doing it reflects the priority organizational leaders place on campaigns and messages that strongly resonate with people.

Martin Prieto at Greenpeace Argentina spoke recently about the organization’s approach to integrated campaigns that places the campaign at the center of everything:

Traditionally, the campaigner is the king or queen of the campaign and everything else is in service to the campaigner. This is not the best approach for us. The campaign is at the center. The campaigner is in service to the campaign just as comms, fundraising and other people.

Additionally, individuals and teams are not given guaranteed budgets. Campaigns are developed by integrated teams. Resources are granted to campaigns after a competitive review process and final decisions by a senior management team that represents all departments.

In other words, fundraising, mobilisation, and communications are all working together early on in planning. Fundraising doesn’t say “hey, we need to raise money, what are campaigning on these days?” Mobilisation and fundraising opportunities are woven together from the start.

Here are three key components of integrated campaigning at Greenpeace Argentina:

  • Public mobilisation is a critical component to any campaign because of the added benefits it brings to campaigns and the organization. The only prerequisite for campaigns is that they include public mobilisation.This helps ensure that messaging engages the public and not just hard-core activists, bureaucrats or politicians.
  • Competition for resources. The best campaigns get approved because there are no budgets are guaranteed for campaigns in advance. This also drives up creativity and innovation. A campaign needs to be solid.
  • Campaigns happen only after the okay by cross-department leaders. The SMT (senior management team) represents the entire organization and approves campaigns and related funding. Campaigns are not run in isolation by any one team or campaigner.

People-focused mobilisation campaigns are the goal. Powerful mobilisation helps communications and fundraising fall into place.

Take three minutes to hear Martin speak about integrated campaigning and decision making in Argentina. How does this resonate with your organization’s campaign development, resources and structures? Are there elements of this model that you’re using? Tell us how integrated campaigning is working in your organization.