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Social Policy & Campaigning

What is Social Policy?

Social policy is about people and the issues that affect their lives. Advice agencies  deal with these issues on a day to day basis, whether they’re about private tenancies, welfare benefit decisions and sanctions or problems with debt. Often these issues stem from  policy that fails to protect people, poor decision-making or breaches of standards that negatively impact on people’s lives. Organisations like NAN exist to redress the balance of injustice and seek to give people a voice, to empower and support those who most need help.


NAN believe that campaigning is critical to a healthy civil and democratic society. We have plenty of experience and expertise in campaigning and influencing policy across civil society and we can provide support, knowledge, tools and resources in this area. To learn more about the services we offer click here. We’re compiled a list of campaigning resources below for those wanting to start a campaign or improve the effectiveness of their campaigning.

  • Tips on Good Practice in Campaigning
    The Campaigning Effectiveness team at NCVO have produced this guide, with lots of tips about campaigning
  • Campaigning Is OK
  • A guide for campaigners, community groups, voluntary organisations and support providers.
  • Inspiring Supporter Action
    Considers the why, when and how to mobilise supporters into action looking in detail at recruiting supporters, sustaining activism, empowering the grass roots and addressing some of the challenges and risks.
  • Beneficiary Voice in campaigning
    How to fully involve beneficiaries in all stages of a campaign from: selecting the issue, deciding how the campaign should be implemented, involved in the delivery and have the power to hold the campaign to account.
  • Involving People That Matter
    Explores why participation is important in campaigning and policy work, what it involves, and some of the key principles for good participation. A list of further reading is also included.
  • Campaigning In Collaboration
    Campaigning is about making an impact. For many campaigns the most effective way to achieve this impact is by campaigning in collaboration. Through sharing practical lessons drawn from the real experiences of voluntary organisations campaigning together, Campaigning in Collaboration aims to promote effective ways of working collaboratively to achieve lasting change.
  • Voicing Your Right To Know
    This new guide illustrates how the Freedom of Information Act has been used as a powerful and versatile campaigning tool from the local to the national level. Its findings show how campaigners are at the forefront of developing our ‘right to know’, making government more transparent.
  • Using Freedom of Information (and EIR) powers in campaigning
    Presentation at the NCVO Campaigns Conference by Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air London. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a very important campaigning tool for his organization.
  • Freedom of Information Guide
    NCVO have developed a new guide to using Freedom of Information (FOI) in campaigning. Through several in-depth case studies and a survey of the voluntary sector, the guide illustrates how FOI can be used as a powerful and versatile campaigning tool – to transform a campaign in its content and reach. It shows how campaigners are at the forefront of campaigning with our ‘right to know’.
  • Theory of change
    This new guide follows the step by step process outlining the approach in different stages and draws out the key implications for UK campaigners. It challenges campaigners to develop clear aims and strategies, to question how change occurs, the relationship between campaign stages and activities, as well as to make explicit the assumptions often implicit within campaigning.
  • Meaningful and Manageable Campaign Evaluation
    Workshop presentation on campaign evaluation by Susie Rabin, Campaigning Effectiveness Manager at NCVO.
  • New Opportunities for Influencing Legislation: Consultations, Petitions, referendums
    Workshop presentation on influencing legislation by Edward Andersson, Deputy Director at Involve.
  • Trustee guide to campaigning and influencing; what you need to know!
    Are you a trustee and want to know more about effective campaigning and influencing? Are you working to influencing change and want a resource to explain effective campaigning to your board?
  • Working in Collaboration
    Change cannot happen without the active support and cooperation of others. Collaboration of some form therefore lies at the heart of successful campaigning and influencing. This free guide covers the principles of effective collaboration such as deciding on your approach, agreeing a share vision and processes for communication and coordination and indicators to evaluate if you are collaborating effectively.
  • Persuasion or pressure? Campaigning and the private sector
    It looks at the common power structures and the best routes of influence, and will help you get your mix of tactics right. It’s full of real life examples including the Living Wage campaign (right), Sexism and the City, Tar Sands counting the cost campaign and Trafigura”
  • How to protest without violence
    A short video describing some basic steps to take when planning a protest demonstration or march.


  • How to integrate social media into your campaigning and influencing work
    This guide sets out some steps you can take to successfully incorporate social media into your strategy by focusing on the different stages of a campaign; analysing the issue, gathering an evidence base, developing and planning your strategy, delivering and monitoring progress and evaluation.
  • Online Tactics and Success: An examination of the Obama for America new media campaign
    The report’s goal was to attempt to understand which strategies and tactics drove a true return on investment for the campaign and which did not, and how the winning strategies can be replicated by non-profit advocacy organizations Wilberforce Foundation and Brainerd Foundation, 2009
  • Guide to e-campaigning
    The ‘e-campaigning ideas guide’ will hopefully provide some inspiration through the case studies presented. We also hope that the tips from our clients will help you to avoid big mistakes (we all have to make a few small ones!).
  • Understanding e-Campaigning
    Presentation on e-campaigning by Liam Barrington-Bush (Concrete Solutions) for the social media workshop at the NCVO Campaigns Conference.

Communication and Media

  • Planning Media Strategy & Punching above your weight
    Presentation by Rob Dyson, Public Relations Manager at Whizz Kidz, for the Media master class on planning media strategy workshop at the NCVO Campaigns Conference 2011.
  • Using films to inspire change
    Workshop presentation on using films to inspire change by Sarah Mosses, Producer at the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation.
  • Local Media
    Presentation on local media by Jonathan Moore, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Association of Voluntary Organisations at the NCVO Campaigns Conference 2011.


  • Policy Development
    This guide takes you through the process from identifying an issue to policy analysis to developing your positions, then communicating your position.
  • Writing policy briefs
    Policy briefs are short documents that communicate your research and policy findings and recommendations to specific audiences.
  • Building your evidence base
    This guide explores why building your evidence base is important and what it involves. It guides you through the various stages of embedding an evidence-based approach to your campaigning and policy work and also provides a list of further reading and online resources.
  • Making Sense of the External Environment
    Explores why analysing the external environment is important, guiding you through some of the key tools and approaches you can use to help make sense of the external policy environment and the implications for your policy and campaigning work. It also points you towards useful further reading and resources.


  • Working with Whitehall
    Building relationships with civil servants is often a key component of influencing public policy and achieving legislative change. This guide looks into the how and who to make initial contact with, how to develop and maintain relationships, and a troubleshooting guide including tried and tested ways of working with civil servants. It’s full of real life tips. It’s illustrated throughout with helpful tips from Forum members.
  • Influencing Devolved Governments
    Engaging with and influencing devolved governments form a critical part of any UK-wide campaign influencing strategy. This guide looks at how to develop separate engagement strategies for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.