The Plight of Backwater County

Jan 4, 2015 Features

Crafting the Winning Campaign

Sometimes we have to show up.  For whatever reasons, there we are facing the prospects of developing an advocacy campaign.  Where do we start?



In the three-part Advocacy Campaign workshop series, the Art of Advocacy starts with some ideas on what makes a successful campaign. Overview to Campaign Development  follows with basics of campaign development–including teaching tools for assessing the situation and the steps to building a campaign plan.


In the final workshop of the series, Crafting the Winning Campaign, participants get a hands on opportunity to go through the steps of developing a campaign, and learn along with other participants how the different tools and techniques work together,


And it all starts in a sleepy little backwater where not much ever happens.

Until it does:


The Plight of Backwater County


Backwater County is no longer the backwater it was.  Home to exurbanite refugees of varied demographics, Backwater struggles to balance haphazard rural development with changing land use demands and a growing population, currently about 35,000.  Recently BILGE, Inc. (a consortium of Big Oil) has proposed two fracking waste pits outside the sole municipality (Eddyville), adjacent to a popular public use area and the Backwater Creek Wildlife Refuge.


The three member county commission will vote in ten weeks to allow or deny this facility…



So begins the tale of Backwater County and the yet unresolved issue of waste water pits.


You have been asked to help lead a team of community members that wants to develop a campaign to stop the waste pits.  You soon learn more about the situation, and begin to consider how you might proceed.


Who are the commissioners?  Are they up for re-election?  Are there public meetings?  What media is in the county?  Are there other groups involved?



Participants in the Crafting the Winning Campaign workshop, the third in the Advocacy Campaign series, use the tools they have learned to assess the situation and build a campaign plan with goal, strategies and tactics. Using dynamic analysis that considers such things as opportunities and challenges, resources and deficits, and allies and antagonists, and strategic assessments like asset and power maps, workshop participants determine how to proceed to win the issue at hand, then develop the plan to do it.  All these tools, and the process to follow, are explained in detail in the Overview to Campaign Development workshop.


In a mixture of exercises in the whole group and in small teams, participants practice campaign assessment and then the fundamentals of building a campaign plan. Eventually with a campaign plan in hand, together the participants gauge whether the campaigns are a success or not.


Until then it seems the Plight of Backwater County remains unresolved.




Advocacy Campaign Workshops

This post is developed from background materials for a recently introduced series of workshops to teach theory, skills and techniques behind successful advocacy campaigns.


Current workshops being offered include:


For more information on workshops, contact Mountain West Strategies at 970-510-0678.