Tools & Resources

PICO Training: Campaign

Training & Strategy

February 10, 2009 | Download Document



Campaign =  series of steps
Image: mountain streams feeding into river


People act out of self-interest
(Tip O'Neill: "All politics is local")
Small is beautiful

Complex issues tempt organizers & leaders to move immediately to the federated level. This can lead to missed opportunities, both for organizational development & issue development.

More complex issues can be broken down into a series of local or cluster (several congregations together) actions that prepare the way for federated action.  The advantages include:

  • Linking the issue concretely to its impact at local/n'hood level
  • Creating leadership opportunities at local level (through local actions) that expand local & federated leadership base
  • Wining changes that address local symptoms of issue & help point way to more systemic response at city, regional or state level
  • Creating public sensitivity to the issue & moving it onto policy agenda at city, or regional, or state level
  • Priming the pump for larger, federated mobilization


Campaign = shaping public debate (through enactment, or acting on the organizing/policy environment that produces ultimate policy response - shaping how voters, politicians & other stakeholders look at the issue & what possible solutions should be considered)

Principles: Define the situation, control the outcome

For example, a year-long Housing Campaign geared at eliminating blighted properties might develop in stages:

1)      A series of local (or cluster) research actions that point up how blighted properties are affecting a particular neighborhood & what resources are available to combat the problem.

2)      A series of local (or cluster) actions that exercise local mobilization networks, lift up the impact of blighted properties on families in a particular community, and target lower to mid-level officials/power players to target available resources on a specific area or alter policies.

3)      Ongoing research, evaluation and planning among leaders at the federated level to develop strategy & recommendations for federated housing action.

4)      A concerted effort to generate editorials, op-ed pieces or other media coverage highlighting the housing problem and offering an analysis of causes & possible policy responses.

5)      One or more federated actions to project larger power-base & move higher-level officials/power players to deliver more systemic or comprehensive response to the problem.   

6)      Following-up to make sure that new resources/policies result in removal of blighted properties at the local/n'hood level that gave rise to the campaign