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22 June 2009

Campaigning Research Programme
Stakeholder update June 2009

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Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009


Capacitybuilders is launching a Campaigning Research Programme “to enable the voice of vulnerable people to be heard through campaigning and advocacy, empowering them to act as agents of change”. 1 The programme is funded by the Office of the Third Sector (OTS), which is providing £750,000 over a period of two years (April 2009 to March 2011).

The approach to the programme will result in wider benefits for the sector and make an important contribution to the evidence base for third sector campaigning.

We are committed to working closely with stakeholders to ensure the programme is as effective and useful as possible for the third sector. Indeed, a range of stakeholders have already provided valuable insight in developing and refining the proposals for the programme.

2. Approach
The Campaigning Research Programme will focus on third sector organisations that represent and support marginalised groups. We are not seeking to tightly define what might be included in this, but expect to support campaigns beyond the seven recognised equalities strands. These would include, for example, people living in or under the threat of poverty or unemployment, refugees and asylum seekers, ex-offenders and/or people dependent on drugs or alcohol.

There are two outcomes for the programme:

Outcome one will enable public debate to be informed by a wider variety of voices. We want to reach beyond the current major campaigning bodies to support new voices, and therefore the programme will target smaller, local organisations. We will, however, seek to incorporate and build on the expertise of experienced campaigning organisations to support the smaller, less-experienced grant recipients.


This follows the Government’s commitment to ‘provide support to organisations wishing to promote innovative approaches to campaigning activities’ in the Joint HM Treasury & Cabinet Office Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on the Future Role of the Third Sector in Social and Economic Regeneration, Final Report (July 2007). Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector. Page 2 of 7

Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009

Outcome two will develop a wider understanding in the sector of the new types of effective approaches to campaigning. This will require robust evaluation of the programme and the projects it funds, and an active learning stream to disseminate useful findings.

Capacitybuilders and OTS have engaged with a range of third sector stakeholders to assist with the programme design and we are committed to maintaining a high level of advice and involvement from sector experts as the programme rolls out.

3. Grant package
The programme will support smaller, local organisations or groups to run a campaign which may not be linked with current networks of expertise on campaigning, and in some cases may require assistance to implement their ideas.

We do not want to exclude organisations from the programme because they are inexperienced in campaigning or managing grants. We will fund up to 30 participants on the programme up to the sum of £20,000 each.

To provide participants with the best opportunity to run an effective campaign, we will provide a package of support that is designed to meet their own particular requirements, including a combination of:  monetary grant  paid support and advisory services  evaluation (though not all participants will necessarily be developed as detailed case studies).

We are currently developing the support element of the programme and we anticipate that the package of support will be identified in cooperation with the participating organisation or group and provided by a range of organisations, including national, local, and peer support.

Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector.

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Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009

Participants will be expected to join an action learning set to enable comparisons between projects and consideration of processes, as well as outcomes, and thus gather valuable evidence. Commitment to the action learning sets will be part of the terms and conditions of the grant.

The grant packages will run for 18 months; from October 2009 to March 2011. As with other Capacitybuilders’ programmes, we will develop a monitoring framework that is based on outcomes and learning, and proportionate to the funding. Participants will be expected to report on progress every six months.


Criteria for selection of participants
Essential criteria for participant groups or organisations.

All participant organisations and groups will:  be third sector organisations2  have an income below £150,000 per annum (we expect many of the participant groups to be entirely volunteer run with no dedicated campaigning staff)  be prepared to be involved in action learning (up to 10 days from October 2009 to March 2011)  accept support from an approved support provider (to be jointly identified with Capacitybuilders) to help plan and run the campaign where necessary and/or support the group or organisation to develop capacity during the life of the grant (where this will enable a step-change in their capacity to campaign). The campaign must:  represent, support, or champion the voice of a marginalised group or seek change on their behalf  comply with Charity Commission’s guidance on campaigning and political activity


to include registered charities, Community Interest Companies, constituted associations, unconstituted community or neighbourhood groups. (Un-constituted groups will be required to nominate a constituted third sector organisation with a bank account to receive funds on its behalf)
Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector. Page 4 of 7

Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009

 use campaigning methods which can help the sector to learn more about effective campaigning. This may be a campaign which is already running but needs to be stepped up by introducing new or different campaigning methods. By campaign, we mean a project which aims to: raise awareness, change behaviour, shape or overturn decisions, influence service delivery, or change or protect existing policy. The final selection of participants for the programme will reflect a range of variables to enable sound evidence of good practice and successful campaigning methods to be gathered for use by a range of third sector organisations.


Selection process
Potential demand for the campaign development funding far exceeds the budget for this programme.

We are running the programme as an action research programme rather than an open grants programme. We will work with individuals in key positions within the third sector at a national and regional level and with credibility and excellent links to local organisations and networks - and beyond - to support us in identifying potential participants for the programme and nominating specific projects.

We do not want to favour groups who are already proficient at completing application forms and we believe that this approach will enable us to engage with some organisations and groups who would not normally apply for Government funding.

We will publish the list of people who have accepted our invitation to nominate participants on the Capacitybuilders’ website. We hope these individuals will continue to play a role in advising, supporting and championing the programme over the next two years.

Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector.

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Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009

From a long list of some 80 nominations, we will invite 50 projects to submit brief applications by the end of August, followed by interviews during September. There will be a selection panel, chaired by Capacitybuilders’ Board member Angela Sarkis and sector experts. The panel will shortlist and inform the selection of the final 30 participants and the final list of projects will be approved by Capacitybuilders’ Funding, Policy and Programmes Committee.


This is a small programme and the evaluation and learning aspects will be critical to maximising impact.

We intend to achieve two sets of findings from the innovative campaigning research programme to benefit the third sector: 1) Greater understanding of how small marginalised organisations and groups can achieve real impact through campaigning . 2) Effective approaches to building the capacity of small organisations to undertake campaigns.

Evaluators will be in place from the beginning of the grant packages to allow for the establishment of a baseline. However, the budget for evaluation will not be sufficient for a case study of each project. We are currently commissioning a project that will develop a method for evaluating the support services that are provided to campaigning projects which will be ready for use when the programme’s evaluator is appointed.


Dissemination and legacy
The programme is funded until March 2011, but we want to plan for a strong legacy from the start.

We want to learn about campaigning by marginalised groups from the funded projects, and the evaluation element will therefore be crucial.

Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector.

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Campaigning Research Programme_Stakeholder Update.

June 2009

We expect to learn about new effective campaigning techniques, effective support for campaigning, and what it takes to improve a group’s capacity to campaign, particularly for small, marginalised groups. We will establish strategies to reach the four key audiences for this material, frontline groups, Government agencies, other funders and support providers. We hope to do this in collaboration with stakeholders to ensure the learning is as relevant and as widely circulated as possible.

Space will be devoted on the Improving Support website to the Campaigning Research Programme, and will provide the opportunity for online discussions and for participants to share their own information. We will hold two events during the programme to bring together participants, support providers and other interested organisations, including Government agencies. These will provide an opportunity for participants to present their work, for support providers to explain their services, and for the evaluators to share headline lessons from the programme. We expect the first event to be held in spring 2010 and the second at the end of the programme in March 2011.

Some of the campaigns will have run their course by March 2011 and will be ready to wind up. Others, however, may be just starting to see success and we will work with participants to ensure their achievements are not lost. Part of the programme’s legacy will include the provision of opportunities to pursue further funding and resources; whether this is by providing an evaluation report that participants can take to alternative funders, by publicly highlighting achievements, or by more directly connecting participants to prospective funders. There are no plans for further investment through this programme after March 2011.

For further information on the programme contact: Jessica Ellis, Head of Policy Email: Capacitybuilders, 77 Paradise Circus, Birmingham B1 2DT Switchboard: 0121 237 5100
Capacitybuilders, Improving support for a stronger third sector.

Direct line: 0121 237 5103

Fax: 0121 237 5138
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