The Four Campaign Types

Even the most powerful person in the world can’t solve the Climate Crisis alone. We need a lot of people to pitch in to help us make our future green, bright, and equitable. That goes for your project, too. You’ll be leading an “advocacy campaign” to convince people in your community to support your climate solution. That’s why we named this program a “campaign” after all! There are four different types of advocacy campaigns.

🔊 – Public Education & Action Campaign
🏢 – Institutional Change Campaign
📅 – Event Promotion Campaign
👍 – Program Adoption & Participation

Remember these symbols? They’re beside each project idea on the list in your topic deep dive, so you will know which campaign type makes the most sense for your project.

Please read the overview of each campaign type below.

🔊 – Public Education & Action Campaign


Convince members of the public to change their habits by informing them of what is at stake. Sometimes you want the public to do something or stop doing something.

  • We want people to eat less meat.
  • We want people to buy more electric vehicles.
  • We want people to stop littering.
  • We want people to stop buying plastic water bottles.


A group of people. It can be very broad or very specific. The more specific your audience is, the better. Why? Because different people will be more or less receptive to information depending on how it is presented. You can use all this to your advantage when crafting your message.

  • Very Broad: People in the US
  • Broad: Everyone in my town
  • Specific: Teachers in my town
  • Very Specific: The parents of the students at my school

The Message

  1. Grab their attention
  2. Tell them what’s at stake
  3. Use a “Call to Action” to describe the action you want them to take (this is the most important part)

Message Example:
Did you know that Americans waste 25% of the food they buy? Wasting food means more methane in our atmosphere, a Greenhouse Gas that is 25 times worse than CO2! Be a part of the solution: plan your week’s meals before going to the grocery store!


In-Person Advocacy: Sometimes you’ll be able to talk to your audience in person directly at events they’re attending or the places they frequent. During the coronavirus pandemic, there could be virtual versions of these events. You may be able to reach people indirectly by putting up signage in places they go.

  • Presentations
  • Tabling or Booths at an Event
  • Posters, signs, billboards
  • Incentives

Digital Advocacy: More often than not, you’ll need to get your message in front of your audience during their daily life. The best way to do that is to reach them online when they’re spending time looking at:

  • Social Media
  • Emails
  • Websites
  • Press and Media

🏢 – Institutional Change Campaign


Convince the decision makers in an institution to change what that institution does. By “institution” we mean any organization, large or small, that is run by some form of leadership. This could be your school, your school district, your city, your county or state, a government organization, a hospital, a business, a church or a community organization.

  • We want the city to ban plastic take-out bags.
  • We want our school to stop serving plastic sporks.
  • We want our public library to install bike racks.
  • We want our energy company to use more renewable energy.
  • We want a restaurant to compost its food waste.


There are two audiences for an Institutional Change Campaign: the institution’s decision makers and stakeholders.

Decision Makers: Your most important audience is the decision maker (or makers) for the institution. These are the people in charge of setting the policies that the institution follows. Sometimes an institution has multiple types of decision makers that share responsibility, like a school district’s superintendent and school board.

  • City: Mayor and/or City Council
  • School District: Superintendent, School Board members, and/or the PTA.
  • Business: Owner, CEO, and/or regional manager.

Stakeholders: The second audience, the “Stakeholders,” are made up of the people that matter the most to the decision makers you’re trying to influence and can be the people that the institution depends on to exist. If you can show that the majority of stakeholders support your project, then the decision makers are much more likely to agree with you.  

  • For schools and school districts: Parents and students. The government agencies that provide funding for the school.
  • For governments: The voters and businesses that pay taxes.
  • For Businesses: Customers.

The Message

  1. Describe the problem and highlight how the institution is related to the problem.
  2. Clearly describe the change you want to see made.
  3. Show the decision makers that their stakeholders support you. Use a petition or survey results.
  4. Provide solutions to any problems that may arise if the institution were to make your change. There will be people do not agree with you, so you want to have an answer for all their critiques.

Message Example:
Did you know that the average plastic bag is used for less than 15 minutes before being thrown away? More than 300 cities across the United states have banned or are charging fees for single-use plastic bags in grocery stores, but takeout bags from restaurants are not included. We don’t want to grow up in a world where there is more plastic than fish in our ocean. We need action by the City Council of Hermosa Beach to ban plastic bags from restaurants and support the transition to reusable options.


  1. Gaining support from the institution’s stakeholders. You may want to increase your support among the institution’s stakeholders by using the strategies of a Public Information Campaign.
  2. Meet with people in the institution who agree with you and can help you prepare and improve your message for when you make your case to the decision makers themselves.
  3. Present your argument to the decision makers themselves. This could be in a private meeting or at a public meeting like a school board meeting or city council meeting. Often, presenting in public can make it harder for decision makers to ignore you!

📅 – Event Promotion Campaign


Whether it’s an event that you are planning or one held by others, events are a great way to get a large group of people to take action. To promote an event, you’ll be using the same tactics as the Public Education Campaign, but there are two parts of the campaign: First, you want to promote the event to bring in attendees. Second, when you’re crafting messages to share at the event, you’ll have a different Call to Action.

  • We want people to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day
  • We want people to attend our Kitchen Composting Event
  • We want people to attend our Environmental Justice Webinar
  • We want people to attend our School’s Clothing Upcycling Event
  • We want the public to participate in South Bay Care’s Tree Planting Day

The Audience

As in a Public Education Campaign, you’ll want to target specific audiences. One way to target different audiences is to think about the types of people who will enjoy the event the most or get the most out of it. You can also target different audiences based on the groups of people who are most likely to attend the event and the groups of people who may need more convincing.

  • Classmates and friends
  • Teachers and School Administrators
  • Family members
  • Grocery store owners

The Message

While you’re at the event, you’ll be conducting a Public Education Campaign.

For the messages that you’ll be using to promote the event, tell people what they’ll get out of attending the event. Your Call to Action is to attend and may include a registration website link or a link to find more information. Always include the event details:

  1. What’s is the date, time, and location?
  2. How do people register?
  3. Where can they find more information?

Message Example:

Are you looking for ways to save money and precious time from taking out all of that dirty trash every day? Join our FREE webinar this Saturday, October 17, on Every Day Kitchen Composting! We will share with you easy tricks and tips to help you make the most out of your weekly grocery haul. Click here to RSVP and learn more about the event.


You’ll use the same Strategies as in the Public Education Campaign. One additional strategy you may want to use is an incentive to bring more people in. Hint: If your event includes an incentive, you’ll want to lead with that! Your advisor can help you figure out what that incentive will be.

👍 – Program Adoption & Participation Campaign


Asking people to join a program shares many of the same goals and strategies of a Public Education Campaign, with the key difference being that the Call to Action is geared towards signing up or taking advantage of the program.

  • We want the public to participate in Heal the Bay’s Beach Clean-Up Program
  • We want the public to sign up for the city’s Bike-to-Work Program
  • We want the public to participate in Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program

The Audience

Again, you want to target specific audiences. As with an Event Promotion Campaign, you can divide your audience into the types of people who are most likely to enjoy and benefit from the program. Also you can split them into those who are most likely to sign up and those who are not. Sometimes the people who could benefit the most from a program are not the same as the people who are most likely to do so. Think about the reasons why it may not be easy for this group to join the program.

  • General public
  • Local working professionals
  • Small business owners
  • High school students

The Message

Similar to an Event Promotions Campaign, you want to start by telling people what they’ll get out of joining the program. Your Call to Action is to attend, but may also include a link to sign up or to learn more about the program.

Message Examples:

Did you know that a mature tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year? Green spaces not only help clean our air, but are known to reduce anxiety, encourage exercise, and reduce urban heat islands that disproportionately impact low income and minority communities. Join the movement to grow our community’s green spaces by participating in Arbor Day’s Tree Planting Program. Click here to get a free tree and learn more about how you can get involved.


You’ll use the same Strategies as in the Public Education Campaign and the Institutional Change Campaign. Similar to the Event Promotions Campaign, you may want to use an incentive to bring more people in and your advisor can help you figure out what that incentive will be.

Campaign Types Recap

Now that you’ve learned all about the types of campaigns you can use, you’re one step closer to leading your community to make change for the greener.

It’s time to choose the campaign type you’ll use for your project!

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