How do I generate wider interest in our issues?

Getting support

Whenever we're campaigning we need to be sure that we have the support of our members. This means making our issue appeal to as many people as possible.

The same applies to winning wider support. There are lots of potential allies out there but who we approach will depend on what the issue is.

Other campus unions and students' unions are a good source of local support. Find out who the other unions' officers are and try to meet them. If you can get their support, get them to sign up to a joint statement. This helps to convey that you and not your managers speak for the college or university community as a whole.

Some local trades councils are active campaigning bodies and can offer excellent support to help widen your campaign.

The press and local politicians can be powerful allies. Many local papers have very large circulations while MPs and councillors depend on your votes. Try to establish relationships with the local press and your local MP or local councillors. Keep sending them information about local campaigns to ensure that they know what is happening and how they can help. You can be sure the other side will probably do the same so at the very least this will give you the opportunity to put your side of the story. At best, it's a great way to increase the pressure on your employers and increase their sense of isolation.

Whoever it is you approach, think about how you will articulate your message to win their help. In your messages, try to answer the following questions: Why would your issue affect students at the college or university? If you are approaching an MP, why should they care? Why would the local paper run a story on job cuts at a college or university? How will it affect the local community or local economy?

If this is an area of interest to you, think about offering to help the committee with campaigning work.

Last updated: 25 September 2007