Welcome to Phase 3! Way to go – you picked your project! During this phase you will create a plan to take your Campaign from a project idea to a climate solution reality. To create your plan you will: pick your target audience, set greenhouse gas goals, develop your advocacy strategies and set your advocacy goals, develop your key messages, and then last but not least, you will outline a strong task list to guide your team forward!  

The Campaign Path: Phase 3

An Overview of Phase 3

Phase 3 – Create a Plan | Task List

  • ✅ Pick your target audiences. Complete “Phase 3.1 – Pick Your Target Audiences” questions.
  • Meet with your Advisor to develop processes for setting effective goals. Complete “Phase 3.2 – Facts and Goal Setting Processes” questions.
  • ✅ Set your effective greenhouse gas goals. Complete the “Phase 3.3 – Greenhouse Gas Goals” questions.
  • ✅ Develop your key messages. Complete the “Phase 3.4 – Key Messaging” questions. 
  • ✅ Learn about campaign strategies and advocacy goals. Complete the “Phase 3.5 – Campaign Strategies and Advocacy Goals” questions.
  • ✅ Finalize your task list. Complete the “Phase 3.6 – Task List” questions.
  • Check in with Advisor .

Why Pick a Target Audience?

The first step in building your message is to identify your target audience(s).

Everyone is unique, so it should be no surprise that everyone has different opinions about what is and isn’t important. Even people who agree that we need to take action to fix the climate crisis have vastly different ideas of what to prioritize and what those fixes should be.

When we are asking someone to take action, we can highlight those things that are important to them by phrasing our message so that we can be more convincing. We do this by identifying a group of people called a “target audience.” Based on what this group has in common with one another, we’re able to figure out what is most appealing to that group.

Target Audience Definition:
A group of individuals who have something in common. Used by communicators when crafting a message.

What Does Your Target Audiences Have in Common?

For your project, you’re going to be identifying a target audience based on their interests and the things that matter to them. The important part is that you’re able to understand what the members of your target audience have in common. Here are some examples:

  • Stage of life. Examples: parents, teens, college students, high schoolers, or seniors
  • Profession. Examples: school administrators, government workers, elected officials, or restaurant workers
  • Hobbies, behaviors, and the things they enjoy. Examples: health and wellness, outdoor activities, pet owners, or video games
  • Where the person lives. Examples: neighborhood-specific, region, city or state
  • Institutions they interact with regularly. Examples: the specific schools, government, or business
  • External issues that affect their daily lives. Examples: poor air quality, heavy traffic, urban heating, food deserts, or flooding

Picking Your Target Audiences

So you’ve learned what a target audience is and why it’s important. Now it’s time to figure out your target audiences.

As always, its best to keep things simple. You should only have one to three target audiences for your campaign. Having just one target audience is perfectly fine! The objective here is to better understand your audience, not make your project more complicated.

Your first step: Click on the campaign type you have chosen to learn more!

🔊 – Public Education & Action Campaign

The key to picking a target audience for a Public Education Campaign is to get specific. This campaign type in particular is really where choosing target audience(s) will be a big help because it will help you narrow down what to say when you’re developing your key messages.

Think through the following list with your team to help you pick your target audience(s). Feel free to contact your Advisor for help!

  • Start with your project’s call to action.
    • It may seem obvious, but your primary target audience could just be the people who have the habit you want to change! For instance, if you want people who drive gas-powered vehicles to switch to electric, your target audience is probably “gas-powered car drivers.”
    • Are there people who have an outsized impact if they make the change you want? For instance, the people who make purchases for their families.
  • Narrow your audience by the location that they’re in.
    • Using the example above, it would be great if you could get your message in front of every gas-powered car driver in the world, but it would be more effective to focus on the ones in your city or neighborhood.
    • Example: Maybe you know that your town has higher gas prices than the next town over, named “Nexttown,” and people drive there to get the better gas prices. Your poster could lead with “Stop Driving to Nexttown for Gas – Buy an Electric Car!”
  • Pick a target audience that is easy for you to reach, then figure out what they have in common.
    • If you have an email list or social media account that you know you’ll be using, this is a great place to start.
    • This has to do with the communications strategies you’ll be using, which we will explore later in Phase 3. For a quick review of these strategies to get your wheels turning, check out our introduction to campaign types in Phase 2.2.

🏢 – Institutional Change Campaign

There are two main audiences for the Institutional Change Campaign: the decision maker(s) and their stakeholders. Depending on your project, you’ll either target one or both of these groups.

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.

Examples:

  • For Cities: Mayor and/or City Council
  • For School Districts: Superintendent, School Board Members, and/or the PTA.
  • For Businesses: 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 that 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.  

Examples:

  • For schools and school districts: Funders, parents and students.
  • For governments: The voters, community members, and businesses that pay taxes.
  • For Businesses: Customers.

To help you pick your target audiences, work through the following questions with your team. If you have any questions or feel stuck, please contact your Advisor for help!

  • Will you be targeting your institution’s decision makers AND its stakeholders, or just one of these groups?
    • If your project is to make a really big change to the institution, it probably makes sense to focus on the stakeholders first so that you can build support within the institution.
  • If you are targeting the institution’s decision makers, who will you be able to meet with or at the least correspond with?
    • Be optimistic as it can be hard for the people who lead institutions to say “no” to students! That said, be realistic with your expectations. Meeting with the President of the US or the CEO of a global corporation isn’t very likely – but that does NOT mean you shouldn’t try!
    • If you think it will be hard to speak to the top decision maker, are there other people in the institution who control some of the decisions made within the institution that you can target?
  • If you are targeting the stakeholders, use the steps we included in the Public Education Campaign section to pick your target audience(s). Please review that section above.

📅 – Event Promotion Campaign

These are the steps to define your target audiences for an Event Promotion Campaign. If you have any questions or feel stuck, please contact your Advisor for help!

  • First, you want to make sure your target audience isn’t too broad.
  • Second, think about the audiences who will enjoy the event or get the most value out of it.
  • You can also target different audiences based on the groups of people who are most likely to attend the event.
  • If it’s really important that you bring new people to your event, think about the people who you most want to be at the event. Perhaps these are the people who would have the biggest impact if they were convinced by the event to change their habits?
    • Example: If your event is about reducing the amount of single-use plastic in restaurants, you’ll want to target people who own and work in restaurants.
  • You definitely want to narrow your audience by location so that you’re targeting the people who are actually able to attend the event.
  • Another way to pick a target audience is to think of the biggest audiences that are easy for you to reach and figure out what the people in that audience have in common.
    • If you have an email list or social media account that you know you’ll be using, this is a great place to start.
    • This has to do with the communications strategies you’ll be using, which we will explore later in Phase 3. For a quick review of these strategies to get your wheels turning, check out our introduction to campaign types in Phase 2.2.

👍 – Program Adoption & Participation Campaign

Picking a target audience for this campaign type is a combination of the Public Education and Action Campaign and the Event Promotion Campaign. If you have any questions or feel stuck, please contact your Advisor for help!

  • First, you want to make sure your target audience isn’t too broad.
  • Second, think about the audiences who will get the most out of participating or adopting a program.
  • You can also target different audiences based on the groups of people who are most likely to participate.
  • If it’s really important that you bring new people to the program, think about the people who you want involved. Perhaps these are the people who would have the biggest impact if they changed their habits?
    • Example: If you want to start a “Plastic-Free Lunch Campaign” at your school, an important audience would be the parents and guardians of students because many of them are buying what is put into your classmates’ lunches.
  • If your program is only available in a certain area, you should narrow your audience to that location. Even if it’s a national program, you’ll want to narrow your audience to your town or neighborhood because that’s who you’ll be talking to.
  • Another way to pick a target audience is to think of the biggest audiences that are easy for you to reach and figure out what the people in that audience have in common.
    • If you have an email list or social media account that you know you’ll be using, this is a great place to start.
    • This has to do with the communications strategies you’ll be using, which we will explore later in Phase 3. For a quick review of these strategies to get your wheels turning, check out our introduction to campaign types in Phase 2.2.

Decide on Your Target Audience

Now that you’ve thought through your campaign’s target audiences, it’s time to tell us what you chose.

NEXT STEP: Facts and Goal Setting

Click Here: Move on to the next step: Phase 3.2 Facts and Goal Setting

Looking for Another Page? Head over to the Campaign’s Table of Contents.