I launched Plan to Win in August 2011 with big ideas, minimal resources, and not a lot of precedent. It’s been a big year of personal learning while I’ve established this new project and I really hope others have found it beneficial too!

I thought it would be good to look back over what’s been achieved and share a little more about the motivation for this project.

Phew, lucky I chose activist education over a career in cake decoration.

Why ‘social movement learning’?

Plan to Win is a project based on some assumptions:

  • Significant social change comes about through the sustained work of social movements.
  • To be effective, social movements need to build strength and power.
  • Learning is key to the strength and power of social movements.
  • There is much to be learnt across social movements, from social movement history, from the collective wisdom of past and present campaigners and theorists, and through action and reflection.
  • Supporting individuals, groups and campaigns to be more effective and powerful benefits the broader social movements they are part of.
  • To maximise social movement learning it helps to have individuals and groups who play a movement support role.

Plan to Win puts resources, time and effort into supporting social movements – to assist individuals, groups and campaigns to develop the skills and clarity required to win change in the world.

Why ‘Plan to Win’?

Noun: A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something
Verb: Decide on and arrange in advance

Verb: Be successful or victorious in a conflict or contest
Noun: A successful result in a conflict or contest, a victory

Here’s a few more assumptions guiding Plan to Win:

  • For the sake of people and the planet, campaigns for social and ecological justice need to win.
  • The likelihood of winning is greatly enhanced by a plan that describes the path from the present situation to the ideal future. That is, having a strategy with a vision and goals makes it more likely you’ll get there.
  • It also helps if you act on the basis of an expectation of winning, that you actually plan to win. This doesn’t mean being naïve or compulsively positive, but it does mean taking the project of social change seriously and acting like your actions count for something.

I knew when I came up with the title ‘Plan to Win’ that some activists might find it challenging.

Many activists have a philosophical or ideological resistance to conflict, competition, identifying opponents and ‘beating’ them. Some people see social change as a long process of multiple activities that eventually add up to changes that can’t be measured. Some place value on actions in and of themselves, regardless of the impact. Some people feel hopeless about the future but act out of a moral imperative. Maybe ‘winning’ has a corporate feel for some people, or reminds them of Charlie Sheen, and they’d rather avoid that.

It is not my intention to dismiss or ridicule these perspectives, but it is true that Plan to Win’s work is informed by a different one.

At this point in human history it is crucially important that we shift the balance in the direction of the interests of the majority of people and the environment, away from corporate, oppressive and exploitative interests. The conflict between these interests is real. We shift the balance by winning. Small wins, big wins, multiples wins – more winning by us, more losing by them.

What would it take to win? What kind of social movements will build enough power to shift the balance?

Plan to Win is one small part of supporting the development of those movements.

All the big questions, all of the time.

What’s happened in the first year?

This first year has been a lot about getting established and building relationships.

It’s included:

  • Launching the Melbourne Campaigners’ Network and running 8 sessions involving between 15 and 50 participants at a time, and hundreds in total.
  • Around 15 training workshops on getting started in activism; consensus decision making; story-based strategy; introduction to campaigning; approaches to social change; community organising; campaign conversation skills; sustaining activism; and more.
  • Around 15 facilitated sessions to plan campaigns and projects; debrief and evaluate campaigns; open up discussion; make decisions; strengthen teamwork and group effectiveness; and more.
  • Around 30 one-to-one mentoring sessions with campaigners and others engaged in social change.
  • Over 40 blog posts on a range of topics relevant to campaigning.
  • 700 tweets spreading useful resources and engaging in discussion.

Some of the groups Plan to Win has worked with in the first year:

Some of the events Plan to Win has been part of:

To find out more read the workshop reports and reflections on facilitation on the blog.

PTW couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you to

  • all of the groups who have worked with Plan to Win so far;
  • all of the presenters and collaborators at Melbourne Campaigners’ Network events: Naomi Blackburn, Jessie Boylan, Tim Norton, Erin Farley, Andrew Bray, Tom Civil, Arlene TextaQueen, Van Thanh Rudd, Cindy O’Connor, Adrian Dodd and Stephen Drill;
  • all of the participants in workshops and Melbourne Campaigners’ Network events;
  • all of the guest bloggers, reviewers and interviewees on the Plan to Win blog: Adrian Dodd, Marco Cuevas-Hewitt, Naomi Blackburn, Simon Copland, Anne O’Brien, Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Alicia Liley, Louise Matthiesson and Tim Norton;
  • all the friends, fans and fellow travellers who have championed the project, ‘Liked’, re-tweeted, promoted and recommended Plan to Win – it’s made a big difference;
  • all the movement support projects and activist educators past and present (many listed here) who have paved the way for this project; and
  • all those who have trained me, employed me, worked with me, inspired me and encouraged my learning over many years (some of whom are listed here).

It’s PTW’s birthday – but you get the present!

To celebrate Plan to Win’s successful first year I’m offering initial one-to-one mentoring sessions for $25.

Mentoring provides a confidential space to reflect on challenges you face, build on your strengths, and consolidate learning. You have someone with over twenty years experience in social movements on your side, supporting your thinking and contributing additional ideas and resources to replenish and equip you.

To book with this offer get in contact and wish PTW happy birthday! Of course, you can also book an initial meeting to explore how PTW can assist your group or campaign, free of charge.

Do you have a birthday message for Plan to Win?

Messages of support, feedback, or suggestions for future direction are all welcome!

Thanks again for an excellent first year – watch this space for updates on what’s next.

Holly Hammond
Founder and Director of Plan to Win