I’m a campaigner.

Michaela Hodges, Director of Fancy Guppy

I’m a campaigner.

So, I’ve written a few blogs about campaigning recently, and I thought it might be helpful to give some background on my own experience in campaigning. Ok, so this is going to make me look a bit sad, but, ever since I can remember I’ve felt really angry about all the injustice in the world – poverty, inequality, bigotry, domestic abuse, homelessness – and I knew I wanted to do something about it.

I loved learning about social justice, human rights, and campaigning generally, so much so that my mum bought me a subscription to New Internationalist one year and a magazine called BULB about politics and social justice stuff for young people (sadly the magazine closed. RIP Bulb you were great and very important in my political awakening!). So, then I became a member of Amnesty International and Liberty at the age of about 15/16, and I started putting up posters about issues like Darfur at my school, and arranging small events like letter writing sessions, and tried to set up a campaigning group in my school.

Then when it came to deciding what I wanted to do at university, and more broadly what I wanted to do with my life, I thought there could be no better career choice for me than to work in the charity sector.

When I got to university I took every opportunity to volunteer, get involved with campaigning societies, and chaired the Amnesty International society. And the first time I ever formally went on campaigning training was while I was at university, I took part in the Oxfam Change programme – 4 days of training on campaigning, event planning, responding to the media, and so much more. It was fantastic, a whole group of young people like me, who cared about social issues!

After I finished university I carried on volunteering for a number of local charities, most significantly Birmingham Friends of the Earth, I was part of a core team that helped develop their fantastic air pollution campaign. In 2013 I got my first paid job in the charity sector and I’ve been working in the sector ever since, and I love it. I am hopelessly devoted to the sector, I’m constantly inspired and moved by the people who work in the third sector, they’re doing amazing work.

Since that first lot of campaign training from Oxfam, I’ve been on four different types of campaigning training. And, in fact, I’ve now switched from learning to teaching others. Just this year I ran a session as part of Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s ‘Influencing Change’ five-day campaign training.

It’s pretty amazing for me, thinking about that young girl putting up posters at school, now teaching others about campaigning – it’s been a journey! I suppose the things is, I’m a campaigner, always have been! I think people who know me would tell you that I’m passionate and determined. Yes, sometimes it slightly slides into downright stubbornness, but I still think overall they’d say it’s a positive, I know that they love that I care about stuff, and wake up the passion in them and remind them they care about stuff too. I love seeing the passion in people when they talk about things they care about. And I believe that anyone with passion and a cause can be a campaigner.

Which is why we’ve just launched our new training Kickstart Your Online Campaign, a four-week online training course full of practical insights and advice to help you learn the best ways to campaign online, and ultimately launch your online campaign. Whether you work for a large organisation, or you’re just one person with a passion, everyone can campaign online, and the guidance we’ll be sharing in this training will take you step by step from idea to action. You can find more information about Kickstart Your Online Campaign here.

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