Five Good Ideas ®

Campaigning for Social Change

Published on 17/01/2012

Nonprofit organizations facilitate social change through education, outreach, advocacy and mobilizing. How do we engage more people in this process? How do we create effective messages that help shift public opinion and policy? What obstacles lie in our way? And what role does our aging democratic structure play? This session will address these and other questions as Dave Meslin shares his views and ideas about successful campaigning.

Five Good Ideas

  1. Reach beyond the usual suspects
  2. Empower your membership
  3. Give the media what they want
  4. Embrace Deep Democracy
  5. Advocate for democratic renewal

Five Good Resources

  1. Commercial Advertisements:  The best way to learn about design and marketing is to study the ads that surround us.  On the bus, in the newspaper, online.  How are companies using images, words, fonts, shapes and colours to convey their message?
  2. Right-wing radio: Get out of your bubble. Expose yourself to different views to understand how and why other people are looking at the same issue through a different lens.
  3. Mailchimp: Having a long list of supporters, endorsements or volunteers is great.  But using a database that allows you to send customised targeted messages, based on various personal criteria – that”s really powerful. MailChimp is one affordable online tool.
  4. FairVote Canada: Learn about FairVote Canada, and join the ranks of those who are fighting for proportional representation.
  5. Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT): Proportional Representation doesn”t work well in our municipal context, but a small simple change to runoff voting could transform our political culture, making it more inclusive, friendly and fair. Hop to it!

Dave Meslin

Dave Meslin (“Mez”) is a Toronto-based artist and organizer, with a focus on public space issues, cycling infrastructure, voting reform, transpartisan advocacy and democratic renewal. Dave is active on many issues, some of which include: organizing Reclaim the Streets, coordinating Toronto’s Car Free Day programming, founding the Toronto Public Space Committee, co-founding Spacing Magazine, creating the WhoRunsThisTown project, producing City Idol, founding the Toronto Cyclists Union, starting Dandyhorse Magazine, launching Better Ballots, organizing WindFest, creating the Ranked Ballot Initiative and recently curating the Fourth Wall exhibit about transforming local politics in Toronto.
In November 2010, Dave co-edited Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto (Coach House Books). Some of his favorite projects to date include the Downtown De-fence Project, the Professional Guest and the Pee-Wee Herman Picture Show, which featured members of Toronto’s indie rock community coming together to raise funds and awareness about bicycle advocacy in the city. When he’s not deeply immersed in urban politics or electoral reform, Dave tours with The Hidden Cameras (a “gay folk church music” band). Future projects he’s considering include a transit riders’ union, a bike store, a reality TV show, and maybe another book.