A campaign can be thought of as an organized and focused effort to accomplish a specific goal using multiple strategies simultaneously. Typically campaigns utilize the press and other techniques for motivating a specific mass public action such as calls to political representatives. Campaigns generally require planning, lots of help, money and resources, partners, and careful orchestration. When done right, they can be very successful at swaying public opinion and motivating changes that any single strategy or haphazard combination of strategies could never accomplish.
An example of a successful campaign that AW has orchestrated is our work on the Upper Ocoee River. In order to secure recreational releases on the Upper Ocoee AW carried out the following measures simultaneously.
- Filed comments on a traditional NEPA process that was considering the issue.
- Participated on a steering committee guiding the NEPA process
- Encouraged public comment on the NEPA process through our website and journal.
- Used the Ocoee Freestyle event as a media platform and press conference to get our story on 4 TV stations and the front page of virtually every regional paper.
- Had over 1,000 letters to the TVA board signed at the event, and then delivered to each of the commissioners.
- Worked with outfitters as coalition members to apply pressure.
- Met with regional business owners to share our interests with them and to have over 35 letters signed to TVA
- Contacted congressional offices throughout the region urging action.
None of these actions alone would have swayed a massive goliath like the TVA but the combination of all of these tactics led to a positive reaction. Ultimately it was the public and congressional scrutiny that motivated TVA to come to the table to talk openly. While we never settled the philosophical issues that fueled the debate (i.e. public payment for water), out most basic interests were ultimately met. There is water in the river, where before there was none, and at a fraction of the cost. More information on our Ocoee River Project can be found http://www.americanwhitewater.org/archive/article/964/