Independent Living Institute


Disability Awareness in Action
Resource Kit No. 3

Published by © Disability Awareness in Action, All rights reserved

Download the "Campaigns Kit" as a PDF file (120 KB)

Stage Four Looking at Resources - Money and People


7. Financial Resources



Fund-raising is always difficult, but it's made easier if clearly associated with a particular project and if you can give some evidence of your organisation's efficiency.

One member of the committee should have responsibility for fund-raising, though a small group of people can be involved. Make sure everyone knows exactly who is approaching which funders. Two or more people approaching one funder will get a rejection because they are showing that the group is not a competent organisation with effective means of internal communication.

Many organisations make grants - individual companies, organisations of business people, charities, development agencies, government departments. Remember that most are cautious and busy. The number of applications for funds is so large that many good proposals, even if they fit the priorities of the funder, are refused.

Two Examples of Fund-Raising Sources


Companies don't just give cash; they also give gifts "in kind" - for example, they can provide staff "on secondment" to share their skills with voluntary sector organisations or donate outdated computer equipment that they no longer need.

Grant-Making Trusts

These organisations have been set up privately to distribute money for charitable purposes. Usually, income from the investment of a capital sum from the founders is distributed in the form of grants. Trusts usually make grants on a regular basis, perhaps annually.

Many trusts have particular areas of interest - such as women's projects, children's welfare, disability organisations. Ask staff at a large reference library how to find out about them.

As a grant-seeker, you must make your application fit what you know about the grant-giver. It must also be very easy to understand. Contact the grant-giver, find out who to write to and how to make an approach. Is there an application form? Ask in writing or on the phone.

Grant Proposals

In drawing up proposals for funding, it helps to try to find someone who has experience in preparing budgets, even if this experience isn't related to disability organisations.

Always include information on:
Try to include:
Your application should be:
Words used to describe the best fund-raisers:

For most campaigns, you need to work out a very clear budget, including salaries for any paid staff, postage, travel, office accommodation, printing and photocopying costs, etc. You need this for planning the campaign and for fund-raising and sponsorship bids.

Follow Up

Keep a record of all applications, with dates of each one and notes on any phone calls or meetings.

If there are requests for further information, respond quickly.

If you are successful, it's very important to thank the organisation concerned for their help. You may be re-applying to them for something else in the near future.

It's also worth keeping in touch, telling your contact with the funding organisation about the progress and success of the campaign they are funding. This may well be a requirement. A satisfied trustee or administrator is more likely to consider further support favourably.

If you are unsuccessful, it may be worth speaking to an administrator - though this is likely to be a slightly awkward conversation for both of you. You can politely ask for advice on what was wrong with your application. Funding bodies receive an enormous number of requests and are not able to fulfil them all. Advice from someone on the inside might help you in the future.

Our fifth resource kit will be about fundraising. In it, you'll find more detailed material on how to male a successful application.


8. Local Low or No Cost Campaigns

What if you haven't got a telephone or fax machine, the resources for lots of photocopying, or trained and salaried staff? These things are very useful but they aren't essential. Campaigning can be effective even with very limited funds (or no funds) and just a few people - if it is done in the right way. It doesn't take money but it does take a lot of talking and a lot of time.

Often, a campaign run by a small, motivated local group can be extremely effective. You can get coverage in the media - even if there are only four or five of you - if you focus on one issue and use innovative methods to get your message across.

Basic Campaign Planning
Below is an outline of a local campaign to improve physical access to buildings. You could adapt it to almost any campaign.

1. Get Together
2. Focus on One Issue

Identify the issue and the problems it raises. For example, you may want to concentrate on public and private buildings - including the town hall, schools, shops, polling booths, places of worship, houses and factories - that are inaccessible to people with physical impairments.

Know the solutions to local access problems. Public and private buildings are inaccessible not because of people's impairments but because they are built in a way that prevents access. The barriers can all be removed. It won't take a lot of money but it will need commitment and time. Ramps can make schools, polling booths and shops accessible. New houses can be built to be accessible at little or no extra cost. When roads and pavements are improved or repaired, dropped kerbs and smoother surfaces will make life easier for people who aren't walkers.

3. Publicise the Issue

As individuals, each member of the campaign group can have an influence on everyone they meet. Start with your family and friends, then talk to teachers, employers, bus drivers, community and religious leaders, doctors, nurses, shopkeepers. Build support for your cause informally. Use whatever you've got - your voice, pictures, songs, music - to tell everyone you meet about yourself: what you can already do; what you need to enable you to do things you can't do now.

Make cheap posters announcing that a building is inaccessible. Put them up on the walls. Wait outside a shop or a polling booth and explain to passers-by that ramps could make it accessible.

If improvements are made, by a shopkeeper or the local authority for example, ask whoever has paid for them to organise a launch - good publicity for them. Invite the local newspaper or radio station along. A local community leader could make a short speech. You could present a certificate (make this yourself) to "the most accessible building/bank/shop/school" in your village.

4. Work with Decision-Makers

Try to influence local programmes and policies by speaking to the people who make decisions. Go to see important people. If they live or work in inaccessible places, you can still go and point out that you can't get in to talk to them. (You may have to shout!)

Ask your village elder to use his influence with other villagers to solve specific local problems. The support of members of your organisation and their family and friends is important to political representatives and public officials. Write a petition to the local authority, with signatures from as many people as possible.

5. Involve the Whole Community

There are few people who aren't affected directly or indirectly by disability. Improving disabled people's lives means improving things for everyone. Make sure you point this out to people.

Work with other groups in society for mutual benefit. Improvements to access and public transport will benefit older people and those carrying small children or large bundles.


9. People



Even in an age of technology, with computers, robots and other electronic systems, people are still the central resource for any organisation.

By allowing as many members as possible to play some part in a campaign, you are actively developing the skills, knowledge and confidence of those people: your most basic resource is becoming more valuable - like money making interest in a bank.

Involve members in every stage - by asking for opinions, running workshops to generate ideas and debate, seeking their help to carry through the campaign activities, informing them of results.

There are likely to be lots of different skills within your group. Some people will be good at organising and chairing meetings, others may be able to type or draw. Some might be good at meeting people and explaining things, which is useful for talking to officials or funding bodies. You may need people to deliver leaflets or run a stall. In big campaigns, there should be a place for anyone who wants to take part.


Do you need extra people on a particular day - for an event or to run a stall? If so, how many people do you need and how will you recruit them? At a large conference, for example, you might want ten to fifteen non-disabled people (or people with impairments other than physical ones) to help with carrying things, pushing wheelchairs and acting as personal assistants. You might look to friends and family of members who have some indirect experience of disability.

One member of the planning committee should have responsibility for volunteers.

If you are that person, you must find ways to make sure that volunteers who are actively involved for just one day feel as committed as people who have a long-term role. If they are shown the importance of their contribution, they are less likely to let you down on the day.

Give everyone a clear list of specific duties and a timetable (including rest times for an event that lasts all day). That way, you won't find everyone doing the same thing at the same time.

Managing People

It is the campaign coordinator's job to keep an overview of the campaign, to encourage everyone to carry out their duties responsibly and on time and to sort out any problems or disagreements. The coordinator needs to be tactful, assertive and friendly.

If anyone is experiencing difficulties fulfilling the tasks set them, don't wait for them to come to you. They are quite likely to be aware of this and not too happy about it. Approach them on their own to discuss the situation. Try to make helpful suggestions. If you must criticise, put the emphasis on the work not the person. Don't say, "You can't do that, can you?" Try "Perhaps this job needs to be shared between two people?" or "Is there something else that you would rather do?" Try to provide an alternative job which they can do well. Give encouragement.


Be realistic about how much time you and other members of the team can provide. If people have full or part-time jobs, the time they can give to the campaign may be limited. Some people get tired quickly because of their impairment. They still have much to give, though. It's probably best to let people decide on their own level of commitment: they will know best how much they can take on and at what rate they can work.

Our fourth resource kit will be about developing organisations. In it, you'll find more detailed material on training and motivating members.


10. Motivation and Momentum


Group Spirit

It can't be emphasised enough that it is important to keep people interested in the progress of the campaign, and to keep as many people as possible involved in the work that has to be done.
First, because there can be quite a lot of different things to do over a period of time and this workload can be overwhelming if only a few people are involved.
Second, the more people in your organisation and in the wider community feel involved, the more relevant the issues you are highlighting will seem to them.
The way to keep people interested and involved is to let them know what is happening at all stages of the campaign - to communicate with all of the organisation's members regularly.

Hold regular meetings to remind people of the aims of the campaign. Everyone should be aware of and working for these aims - not to please any individual leader of the group or organisation.

Keep people up-to-date in other ways - such as through a special campaign newsletter.


It is very important to maintain the momentum created by the launch of a campaign. If the early impetus is lost for any reason, it will be hard to regain.

Even if the planning committee is active, the public and the organisation's members and supporters need to be kept aware of what's happening and plans for the future. It's the task of the chair of the organisation and the committee as a whole to maintain a sense of purpose, monitor the progress of the campaign and to watch for signs of apathy or lack of direction.

The tasks to be carried out after the first planning meeting should be carefully worked out by the committee, taking account of the views of members expressed at the time and later.

Building on Success

Don't try to do too much too quickly. In the early stages of a campaign, it's tempting to make the best use of all the new enthusiasm and energy of members. This can easily fade and lead to disappointment, even to loss of members: people get tired. A relatively modest success at an early stage, such as a successful public meeting or a mention on the radio, achieved by all the members acting together and made known to everyone, can boost morale and provide renewed confidence and energy for tackling more difficult tasks.

Delegation and Consensus

Every member of the committee should have one or more clearly defined task. It isn't enough to just attend meetings and give advice. If members don't or can't carry out their tasks and responsibilities, they should be politely asked to make way for those who can.

Once the committee has agreed a course of action, even if there has been disagreement early on, then all members of the committee should be prepared to forget their differences and work for the agreed aims of the group. It is the chair's role to point this out and to make the reasons clear: without consensus, confusion and chaos will characterise the campaign and it will fail.



Stage Five Working with Other Groups and Involving the Whole Community


11. Partnerships


Right at the start of a campaign, try to bring community representatives (business, local government, volunteer and consumer organisations) together, to develop solidarity and support and to identify people who might be able to make a substantial contribution.

Call a meeting of members and "brainstorm" to make a list of influential people in the community and important organisations that you could call upon to help your group with its campaign. The list might include people with specialist knowledge of the issues, such as transport consultants and well-known members of the community whose views will be respected. Make contact with these people and organisations and invite them to a special meeting.

Outside Help

Your organisation's representatives must have a controlling vote in any decisions, but it might also be very useful to bring in skilled outsiders with an understanding of the social model of disability who can make a significant contribution to a particular campaign - a lawyer, for example, a transport expert or a research consultant. Ideally, these should be disabled people. We do have non-disabled allies, however, and their skills can be useful.

The campaign for anti-discrimination legislation (ADL) in the United Kingdom, for example, received a huge boost from a report by the solicitors' organisation, the Law Society, which fully supports ADL and shows how it could work in practice.

External consultants can be very useful, either in a formal capacity (hired by you) or in an informal capacity (giving their advice and expertise for free). They must, of course, remain just consultants. They must not take over an activity or campaign. You can choose to take as much or as little of their advice as you want.

Remember, as disabled people, we are the real experts when it comes to disability.

Joint Action

The larger and more ambitious your campaign, the more planning, activity and regular reviewing it needs. You could join with other disability organisations to run a joint campaign. That way, you share the work. the responsibilities and the aims for each organisation.

In Russia, laws have been passed to exempt businesses with 50 per cent ownership by disabled people from income and pension taxes and social insurance. And, through the joint political and legislative activity of the three national disability associations (the All-Russian Society of Disabled People, the All-Russian Federation of the Deaf and the All-Russian Association of the Blind), a new law for disabled people has been drafted.

In this new law, any business with 20 or more employees must hire 5 per cent disabled employees, or pay a penalty equal to 4 minimum monthly salaries. The government must help in the creation of jobs for disabled people. Disabled people who want to work must be officially registered as unemployed and have access to a support fund.

A new law starts in a working group, goes to a subcommittee and then to the presidium. From the presidium. the law goes back to committee and is then read in the Parliament. After a reading, it is accepted or referred back to committee for changes. Organisations of disabled people take part in the sub-committee on disability and as a result can influence the attitudes of the deputies.

The organisations of disabled people in Russia have identified a national public education campaign, showing disabled people in a positive light, as their main campaigning priority. There has never been an awareness campaign in Russia and it is much needed.

Media Professionals

Be sure to make good use of any useful contacts with people who work for newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations.

Does anyone in your group know people who work in these professions? Have you met any journalists before, perhaps in connection with something unrelated to the group?

Remember: small things can have a tremendous awareness-raising impact. A change in everyday routine can bring an issue to public attention very clearly.

Persuade TV and radio producers to let some programmes, like the news or a chat show, be presented by a disabled person for a day.

The media is an essential part of any campaign. You must convince media professionals that your cause is important.


12. Involving Everyone

When it comes to negative social attitudes, it takes two people to form a discriminatory relationship and two to break it. Once we have come to respect and accept ourselves, we can help non-disabled people to understand us and to see that diversity enriches society.

From the very start, we need to help each other recognise our own potential and to involve the whole community, show the relevance of the issues and the benefits of change to everyone.

General Support

As soon as you have chosen an issue or a theme for your campaign, it's wise to spend some time getting the support of interested people in the local community for what needs to be done, particularly community leaders such as village elders, town councillors, local political representatives, religious and business leaders. These people shape the views of a great many others.

People are often quite suspicious of change, even when they agree that something needs changing. It can be a mistake to assume that, because a few active people have spotted the need to do something, everyone else will automatically and quickly agree.

Make sure that:
Encouraging the Right Sort of Participation

Further on you will find a copy of a leaflet distributed by National Access Awareness Week which encourages community groups (social clubs, business associations, unions), schools and local government to create their own projects. NAAW has found this approach very successful.

It's very important that the social model of disability underlines all your work, particularly when you involve non-disabled people. It is a noble impulse to want to help others but it is far better to help others help themselves - to empower them. Non-disabled people can be allies but they must be shown that it is not just our impairments that make things difficult for us. By helping us to achieve full human rights they are doing something far more noble than any amount of charity.


Remember to involve people with all kinds of impairments, including hidden ones. Perhaps you belong to a single impairment organisation? Build contacts with other groups through joint campaigns. Is there an even balance of women and men on the campaign committee? What about deaf and blind people and people with intellectual impairments?

Seek out disabled people who are not yet members of your organisation. By encouraging them to join your campaign, you will show them what can be achieved by working together and give them the confidence to become members of the group.

Shop-Keepers and Service-Providers

If disabled people can get around more easily, more of us will be able to work; fewer people will be dependent on family, friends or state benefits to pay for their daily needs.

If disabled people can get into shops, restaurants, cinemas and theatres, they can become consumers and take part in the local economy.

What about persuading local businesses to sponsor access improvements? This has been done very successfully in a number of places. For example, dropped kerbs have been paid for by local retailers, who publicise their community participation and advertise their goods and services in this way - allowing more disabled people to get around to buy them.

In the past, different towns and cities have made some roads accessible for a particular occasion. Examples include Independence '92 in Vancouver, Canada, in April 1992 and the Rehabilitation International Congress of September 1992 in Nairobi, Kenya. This sort of public gesture of good will by local authorities to mark a special day or event will be of lasting benefit to disabled people.

Make it Relevant

When running a local awareness campaign, use local examples. Show how local barriers to participation discriminate against local disabled people. Most people know someone with an impairment - a relative, friend or colleague.

Remember to show that removing these barriers will be of benefit to all. Disability is an issue that is relevant to everyone ant that concerns the whole community. Solutions must be found in the community which involve the whole community.

continue...Stage Six Publicising the Issues

Contents Campaigns