Global labour’s challenge to climate change

I originally published this on The Guardian and am republishing it here. At the end November 2013, Philip Jennings, the general secretary for the global union federation UNI Global Union spoke at a climate conference in Toronto. His message was simple: “there is nothing more important facing humanity than the dangers of a warming planet. We […]

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Activism or “Slacktivism”? Are we a nation of online slackers?

Sunday Style had a feature article by freelance journalist Sarah Ayoub, looking at online activism, an article for which I was interviewed a few months ago. Last month it was Facebook friends urging me to sign a petition to save Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death for alleged apostasy in Sudan, at the same […]

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Does your union leadership “get” digital?

Research undertaken in 2012 by pro-union academic Panos Panagiotopoulos found that globally, unions are increasingly viewing digital tools as essential to improving communications and member engagement. Over 61% of unions said that digital was considered a “priority” given budget and time constraints. Since then, it’s clear that the capabilities and benefits of digital tools (including web, email, […]

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What is best practice online campaigning (and why is it so difficult)?

A week ago, The Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network held a live-chat with a panel of global digital campaigners to talk about “best practice”. On the panel included campaigners from highly regarded outfits like Avaaz, Change.org and Kony 2012 creators Invisible Children. The entire article is worth reading, as it covers from pretty essential “dos […]

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Using evidence-based science for effective communications

Many people in unions and progressive politics talk about “framing” — made famous by George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant — but it’s difficult to see what that means in practice. Effective communication is made even more challenging by the broad left’s obsession with “rationality” and fact-based arguments. I’ve previously written that progressives should give […]

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Myths and misperceptions about marketing for unions

Marketing is still widely disparaged as a term in the union movement, and progressive organisations generally. Partly this is a skepticism born from shows like Mad Men and The Pitch, and partly it is a misunderstanding drawn from the popular perception that marketing is just opinion polling, focus groups and TV advertising. Despite this, every […]

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Science alone won’t change climate opinions, but it matters

I’ve often highlighted useful articles about cognitive and behavioural insights that I believe are useful for unions and progressive campaigners. This time, I’ve decided to republish an entire article by Ben Newell from The Conversation, because I want to draw it to the attention of my readers. It ties strongly to my earlier article, asking […]

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Why unions should understand member lifetime-value

All unions want to grow and increase their membership. Significant efforts and resources are devoted by unions to recruitment and the effort of signing up new workers to be members. The cost of signing up new members however can be substantial. These can include hiring and training new staff, resourcing them (e.g. cars, phones, computers, […]

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Defining your union’s promise and standing for something

If the conversations that I’m having at the moment are any judge, many unions and progressive organisations are looking closely at their communications and narrative. In countries or states with hostile conservative governments, like Australia or Canada, this is especially pressing. The key to nailing your narrative and developing a strategic communications plan is simple: […]

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