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Campaigner Toolkit

Campaigner Toolkit

You’ve realised that something needs to change, but what do you do now? If you’re supporting one of Beat’s campaigns, we’ll have done lots of this planning. But if you want to campaign on something else, then our comprehensive campaigner toolkit will give you everything you need to have maximum impact.


Getting started

Outline the issue

Start by answering some key questions:

  • What is the problem you want to address? Why is it a problem?
  • What needs to happen to solve the problem? What would you want a decision-maker to do? What do you want to achieve?
Do your research

It is important to back up what you are saying with evidence that proves it is a problem. You could:

  • See if there are local statistics available.
  • Complete a Freedom of Information request to gather relevant evidence.
  • Conduct a survey – great if you know that the issue affects many people. This can also help you build support for your campaign.

Showing that your issue affects many people and ensuring that a decision maker hears their voices and personal stories can persuade them that they need to act. This is why at Beat we regularly ask our supporters to add their name to our petitions and raise awareness of our campaigns with their local decision makers.

But don’t be put off campaigning if you can’t find statistics to back you up. Sharing your own story and how this has affected you is extremely powerful on its own. This page contains some useful statistics that can be quoted.

Break it down into small achievable goals

Campaigning on such complex issues can be a pretty big task, so it’s important to be realistic with about this and break things down to make them more manageable. Every project is different so there is no list of goals that will work for everything, but just as an example, an achievable goal might be to make a plan, to write to your MP or to do a radio interview.

Pin-point who the decision makers are

Identifying where change needs to happen and who can make the change you want can be a challenge. The political and health systems can be complex, but you don’t need to be an expert in how they work before you can get started. The worst that can happen is the person you contact can’t help you, but they might know who can.

A good place to start might be our page on Engaging with decision makers.

Get ready to take action

Now it is time to decide what the best way is to reach your goal. Some ideas you could consider are:

  • Write a letter: Sharing your story directly with someone who can make the change you want to see is very effective. It might be hard to reach the person you need at first, so tell others about your campaign. Your local politician or health commissioners are easy to contact, and are a great starting point. Read more about writing to decision makers.
  • Arrange a meeting: Sharing your story in person will have even more of an impact, and help bring the issue to life. It can sometimes be tougher to arrange a meeting, particularly with key decision makers. You may need to be patient, persistent and meet with others along the way, to help build support. Read more about meeting with decision makers here.
  • Patient Participation Groups (PPGs): PPGs are set up by GP practices to give patients an opportunity to be involved with the healthcare provided by the practice. The groups meet regularly to discuss the services on offer, and how improvements can be made. This can be a great space to share what you have learnt from your experiences, and how this can be used to make changes. The names of the groups vary from place to place, and will sometimes be called Patient Engagement Groups (PEGs).
  • Feedback and consultations: There are often ongoing chances to feed back your experiences, and there are sometimes consultations that will be related to what you are campaigning for. These are great opportunities to comment and share your knowledge and experience. They represent a time when the decision makers are actively listening to what you have to say, so your channel to their ears is wide open!
  • Start a petition: Before starting a petition, it's good to try to get in touch with the people who can help make your change, as they may agree to help you right away without the need for a petition. It's also a good idea to check if there is already a current petition on the issue, if there is, rather than duplicating you can sign that and help to promote it. When starting a petition, or 38 Degrees are good options, as they allow you to keep in touch with the people who have signed. Keep what you’re saying clear, evidence based and engaging to encourage people to join your cause – follow the elevator pitch points above.
  • Using local media: If you’re comfortable to do so, sharing your story with the local media can be a really powerful way of getting your message out there. Others with similar experiences may hear about your campaign and want to join in too. We have a set of media guidelines to help get you started.

If you’ve been public about your campaign, people may contact you seeking support. It’s important to take care of yourself and direct them to appropriate support, such as the Beat Helpline.

The Changes We Are Campaigning For

We want to see a society where people with eating disorders experience care and understanding, and health systems where they can quickly access effective treatment.

Engaging with decision makers

Want to start making a difference? This page will help you work out who the most relevant person to contact is. Find out how this differs across the UK, and get specific advice about contacting politicians and local NHS leaders.

Current Campaigns

With all of our campaigns, we hope we can move a step closer to getting everyone with an eating disorder the early treatment they need and deserve.

Staying well whilst making change

It's really important to plan how you’ll protect your wellbeing when campaigning.

Understanding the system

Decisions over health funding and policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taken by their respective Governments. As a result, the structure of the NHS varies between the different countries of the UK.

Jargon Buster

The mental health system is full of acronyms and jargon that can make it difficult to understand, whether you want to raise awareness, take part in a consultation or contact your local politician.