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Communications work just keeps on going. So you need to evaluate your efforts regularly so you can shift gears, fixing your strategy and action plan as you go. Once a campaign is over, take the time to see what lessons youve learned and what you could have done differently.

Be realistic in your assessment. Look at both your short-term and the longer-term objectives. If you failed to move the employer but succeeded in strengthening the membership, a campaign could still have been a great success. Despite your best efforts, you may get poor media coverage. But if you informed one more person or created a new activist, theres been some benefit.

You want to look at your strategy and action plan, reviewing what worked and what didnt. The goal isnt to criticize or assess blame. Its to identify mistakes that were made and ways to avoid them in future. Its important to value everyones contribution. Building a union takes a lot of work.

A campaign post mortem a meeting after the fact to make positive recommendations that get acted on is a good step. The post mortem will tell you whether you chose achievable goals and what you accomplished.

Here are some ideas on how to measure what works:

  1. Ask campaign co-ordinators to file a written report on the campaign.

  2. Review media clippings and analyze whether the message got out clearly.

  3. Survey members to see if they benefited from the campaign.

  4. Listen to what members say in the lunchroom or at break. If theyre talking about the things you mentioned or start showing up at more meetings, youve done well.

  5. Catalog feedback you got from your web site. How many positive? How many negative? Review your web site statistics. How many visitors? From where? How many returned?

  6. For larger campaigns, do an informal survey of the public and see if theyre aware of the campaign and your main message.

  7. Keep a file with samples of all the materials you produced.

  8. Make sure the results of what you learn get used in the next strategy/action plan session.

The best follow-up to a campaign is to launch another one. That takes us back to the strategic planning stage. But this time weve got a lot more experience and a tested network to build on.

Keep communicating CUPE!