For Young People

Get Started:

Starting a project or campaign

OK, you’ve identified an issue that you’re interested in and now you want to do something to make a difference. Starting a project or campaign involves planning clear goals, objectives and strategies – the why, what and how. You’ll want to think about your resources and create a timeline for action.
Decide your goals

A goal is why you are taking the action. Exactly what outcomes do you hope to achieve? Or what impact do you intend to make? Your goals should be clearly stated. Aim high, but keep them realistic and achievable.

  • How would you describe your issue to someone else?
  • Why exactly does it matter to you?
  • What is the change you want to see? By when?

Next, set some objectives for each goal. Your objectives outline what needs to happen – the steps you need to take – to achieve the goal.

Do some research
  • What do you know about the issue? What is your story – how does the issue affect you and why are you involved?
  • What is the story of others?
  • What do some experts say? (This is called an 'evidence base').
  • What else do you need to find out?
Draw up a plan of action
  • Who has the power to influence the change you want to see? Who will you target for support?
  • What is your key message to them?
  • What methods will you use? These are your strategies.
Work out your resources

What do you need to achieve your goals? Different types of resources are materials, space, time, skills, people, knowledge, money and connections or networks.

  • Who can you work with?

You’ll probably need to create a team – working together with other people is always easier than working alone!

  • Where will you meet?

How can you help people get to and from your meetings or events? Will the venue be accessible to everyone? Effective activists involve others by removing barriers.

Will you need money? If so, draw up a budget to know exactly how much you’ll need, and what for.  You can use the budget as part of an application for funding or other financial support.

What resources do you already have? Don’t forget to think about the skills of the people already involved. Can you borrow or hire anything instead of buying it? Speak with your local council youth service to see how they might be able to help.

Create a timeline

A timeline maps out various key points in a project and when they are expected to be achieved. It is a great way to estimate when you’ll start seeing some results and how much time will be needed to complete the project. Timelines also help a project to stay on track and can help people stay focused and engaged.

Be realistic – think about the resources you have available. Talk with people to find out when they have time to meet or take part in other activities. Think about how you’ll manage your energy and what you might do to stay stress free.

Decide how you'll know it's worked

How will you know what you're doing has been successful? Reflecting on your goals and actions and knowing and showing what you do will help you to evaluate your actions. 

What you can do now

AYAC (2013), Young People Creating Change Training Toolkit, Sydney: AYAC.

British Youth Council (BYC) (2011), Youth at the Table: What skills do I need to be great at governance?, BYC.

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