The word “campaign” is intimidating to a lot of people. It can sound big, complicated, and like it requires a lot of expertise. That’s why in a recent Community Hub session we hosted eXXpedition Ambassador Nikkey Dawn to break down the basics of building a campaign for us with the view of focusing on a framework for creating a campaign that inspires environmental action.

Nikkey is a writer and photographer who has a background in digital marketing and communications. She has worked on everything from big-budget, flashy tourism campaigns to modest, volunteer-driven non-profit campaigns. What she wants everyone to know is that no matter the scale, campaigns are all built on the same fundamentals and anyone can learn these fundamentals!

Nikkey defines a campaign as a goal-oriented series of actions built to engage people. Most often we think of campaigns as engaging the public but they can also be built to engage people internally at your organization.

 Here is Nikkey’s step-by-step guide:

Set Your Campaign Goal

Deciding what you want to achieve with your goal is the first step, here are a few questions to help:

What is the problem you are trying to solve?

Why does the problem exist?

What solution to the problem are you going to focus on?

Define Your Audience

Now that you know your goal, it’s important to figure out who you’re going to engage. Asking the questions, “Who?”, “What?” and “Where?” will help.


Who are the stakeholders in this environmental issue and how can you involve them? Simply put, a stakeholder is anyone who has something to lose or gain from the issue or solution. There are often multiple stakeholders such as the public, local businesses, and local government.


Now that you have your “who,” it’s important to understand what they care about. The “what” will help you figure out how are you going to get them to participate in the solution.


Next, to design your campaign you’ll need to know where to find these people in order to reach them. It can be online like specific on social media platforms, in the magazines they read, in what community they live in, and so on.

Make the Call to Action

Keep it Simple

People need to be able to easily understand what you’re asking them to do in a short amount of time.

Build Trust

Establishing trust is essential, this can look like anything from a professional-looking website to privacy statements if you’re collecting email addresses.

Make it easy

Consider how much time the audience you’re asking to take action has and make your call to action fit it. 

Multi-step theory

There is a theory that if you start with a small ask first and build up to a bigger ask, you will see higher engagement because you’re building a relationship along the way.


Understanding where you could lose people along the way to your “ask” will help you troubleshoot. Once you’ve set up your campaign, ask a few family and friends to go through the process and give you feedback.

Set a Budget

No budget is too big or too small but it will determine how you can execute your campaign so this is an important step. If you have a zero to low budget, think about what network or partners you can leverage to help spread your campaign.

Create Your Materials

Decided on what types of media you are going to use – film, TV or print ads, social media content, posters?

For successful visuals, think about what is memorable and/or thought-provoking. You can engage people’s emotions through methods like wit and humour, or shock and awe. It’s important to understand what will be effective for your audience and what method represents your organization’s values best. 

For example, a direction-action activist organization might use shocking or disturbing imagery, whereas an organization rooted in advocacy that wants to reach a wide range of people will choose to invoke awe and inspiration. It’s important to be mindful of the imagery you are using and the impact it can have on people. 

How to Implement Your Campaign

  • Decide on your timeline and set dates from launch to completion. 
  • Plan and schedule the actions you need to take, you can use apps like TRELLO to help you stay on track. 
  • Be prepared to adapt in the face of challenges. 

Don’t Forget to Measure Success

How will you know if you’ve met your goal? Getting specific at the start about what a successful campaign will look like to you helps guide the process. It will also help you reflect afterward on any learnings so that your next campaign can be even stronger!