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
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their skills with voluntary sector organisations or donate outdated computer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.
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.
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:
- Always apply for a grant in writing, not by telephone or in person.
Try to include:
- Proposed time-scale.
- Aims of your organisation.
- Last annual report and audited accounts.
- Aims of this campaign, programme or event.
- Whether you are a registered charity (as this can bring tax benefits).
Your application should be:
- Proof of competence in administration and accounting.
- Details of other individuals or organisations involved in or supportive
of your work.
- Background to the campaign (the current situation and why change is
- Strategies for change (if possible, provide an idea of how much this
- Comparisons with other villages, towns, cities, countries.
- Benefits to the whole community.
- Estimated number of people who will be reached by the campaign.
- How you will monitor and evaluate activity.
Words used to describe the best fund-raisers:
- Attractive to look at.
- Short, clear and concise.
- On time - find out the final dates for this year's applications.
- Addressed to the right person, with the correct name and address.
- Appropriate to the particular funder; in terms of its declared policies
and size of grant
- Precise, persuasive, persistent, professional and polite.
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.
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
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
Our fifth resource kit will be about fundraising. In it, you'll find more
detailed material on how to male a successful application.
- Be specific in your approach.
- Be clear about why you need the money.
- Be persistent
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.
- Get together.
- Focus on one issue.
- Publicise the issue.
- Work with decision-makers.
- Involve the whole community.
1. Get Together
2. Focus on One Issue
- Advertise a meeting for interested disabled people - by word of mouth
- Meet at somebody's house. Remember, four or five people is enough.
- If you live in a very small village, you might want to join up with
people from surrounding villages.
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.
- Talk about disability to everyone you meet.
- Suggest local solutions to local problems.
- Get local media interested in what you do.
- Show the benefits to the whole community.
- Stick to the social model of disability.
- Rights not charity!
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
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.
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
- Everyone must feel they are involved and that their contribution is
- Everyone likes to be told when they have done something well. People
are more likely to continue with a task if they believe it is something
they are able to do and are good at. There may be times when you need to
criticise. There should be many opportunities for praise.
- Commitment has to be nurtured. It's useful to develop and encourage
an understanding of the philosophy of the disability movement and the particular
aims of your organisation and of the campaign. Organising workshops and
training days to explore these issues can be very helpful
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.
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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
Stage Five Working with Other Groups and Involving the Whole
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- The local community is aware of the issues. Local people have the
chance to discuss the issues and feel fully involved. Any decision about
what needs to be done takes into account the feelings of the community.
- Don't be surprised if at first people outside your organisations seem
unenthusiastic or unconvinced. It is human to want to disagree. Only when
people feel positively involved and can see the wider benefit will they
start to be truly helpful.
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
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
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