A well-known physicist, philosopher and humanist once made an important distinction regarding political campaigns. There are campaigns that work like an avalanche of snow – all you have to do is remove a little snow from the top of the mountain and off it goes. But in most campaigns, you have to carry the snow on to the mountain first.
With this analogy, Elisa Lironi, ECAS’ Senior Manager European Democracy, and Daniel Schily, co-founder of Democracy International, opened up the webinar on Campaigning and Fundraising for a European Citizen Initiative (ECI). Taking place on February 26th, the one hour online workshop gave people from all over Europe the chance to tune in to practical guidance, tips and tricks to two of the most important steps of a successful ECI.
A ECI is a unique way for citizens to influence European policy by calling on the European Commission (EC) to make legislative proposals on chosen issues. But with this opportunity comes a responsibility of strategic thinking and planning in order to collect the necessary 1 million signatures. As stressed during the webinar, building alliances is of utmost importance in helping achieve this goal.
Strategic partners, along with a citizens committee and volunteers, are at the heart of the entire ECI process. Their networks, databases, skills and communication efforts is what amplifies any and all progress made. A good amount of time should be spent in identifying alliances that are diverse, relevant and an asset to your campaign. Preparation time does not represent lost time and joining allies will also bring in important new corrections and suggestions to this step of the process. Specifically to volunteers, Daniel Schily advises to have a large number of them who “concentrate on constant and direct communication in so-called collective camps. It also makes sense for them to meet in real life for this work and to motivate each other. People react positively when they come across real people on the Internet and not just automated advertising. Then they willingly share an action in their private mailing lists.”
Furthermore, a carefully constructed Alliance directly effects the financial aspect. For one, the more signatures that are collected through the alliance partners, the cheaper the overall campaign is. However, the transnational nature of the ECI, together with unavoidable expenses (salaries, travel expenses, website and communication materials), require having an own budget, usually made through fundraising.
This webinar is part of a series that is organised in the framework of the European Citizens Initiative Forum. The next webinar will take place on April 8th from 1:30-2:30 and will explain the changes brought by the new revision of the ECI regulation (yet to be approved).
Registration is now open and you can do so by following this link!
Learn more about the revision here.