Campaign Planning

Concerned citizens attend a Fort Lauderdale Sustainability Advisory Board Committee meeting and ask them to recommend a plastic straw ordinance to the city commission.

What policy will you help pass? Decide on your goal, identify your targets, and plan how you will influence them.

  1. GOAL: What will you achieve and by when? Example: You will pass an ordinance in the city of Sunnyville banning single- use expanded polystyrene foam containers and cups on city property by the end of 2020.
  2. Who are your targets (decision makers)? (example: Mayor Smith and Councilmember Jones). 
  3. How will you influence them?
    1. Schedule meetings to educate and make a proposal with the Sustainability Board or city commissioner/mayor.
    2. Offer suggestions for alternatives to single-use plastics and show them ordinances passed in other municipalities.
  4. Additional pressure may be needed. Team up with other concerned citizens in your area. Organize residents, student clubs, organizations, neighborhood associations, and influential community leaders to write letters of support and make citizen comments at city meetings. There is power in numbers!
  5. You may need to start a petition and/or get some media attention through an opinion piece or a local news story.  (Petitions are useful if they are signed by constituents in that elected official’s district. They care about voters). Perhaps you can begin a facebook page or group to build support for your campaign. (Example: a Plastic Free Sunnyville facebook page)
  6. You may need to ask your city if they have a Climate Action Plan. Ask if plastic waste reduction could be added as a goal on that Climate Action Plan.

You will need a majority of councilmembers to state their support for an ordinance before bringing an ordinance for a vote.

Usually, an ordinance requires more than one reading before it becomes a law. Plan to attend both readings to make sure that the ordinance passes.

Materials and data you may need to influence your targets:

  1. Fact sheets and presentation presenting the problem and solution
  2. Testimonials from business owners, stating their support
  3. Examples of ordinances from other Florida cities/counties
  4. Florida’s plastics preemption language
  5. Guide for examples of plastic free alternatives

What’s the difference between a tactic and a campaign?

A campaign is when you work together in an organized and active way toward a particular goal. You have a specific objective you are trying to reach by a certain date.

Tactics are actions, programs, and strategies to achieve your goal.

Educating and creating awareness is not a campaign. There is no clear goal. It is an ongoing program. Education and awareness is a tactic that can be used to achieve your campaign goal. (For example, you will begin educating and raising awareness among faculty and students at Sunnyville University in order to help achieve a goal of getting the President of the University to sign a Campus Plastic Free Pledge by the end of 2021.)

Promoting a voluntary plastic free restaurant program is an ongoing program, not a campaign. Plastic free restaurants could be used to help achieve your campaign goal. (For example, you will successfully convince 50 local restaurant owners to join a plastic free restaurant program and then use that business support (and the community’s enthusiasm for that program) to convince the mayor of Sunnyville to pass a plastics ordinance by Earth Day 2021).

Straws found at a beach cleanup in Lauderdale by the Sea. Photos and data from your cleanups may be useful in influencing your targets.