Phase II: Getting the campaign off the ground

At this point your team has done the initial research and compiled important details in your strategy brief. You know who your potential targets are, what the general conditions are in the slaughterhouses in your region, what the biggest issues are with these slaughterhouses and the public officials charged with regulating them, and what you are demanding from them. You’re ready to create a few more key documents to help you create a campaign and go public!

Create a point-by-point case for closing slaughterhouses that takes into account the specific issues and impacts slaughterhouses have in your city or region. For an example, check out the Chicago 12-point case. We also off a more general case against slaughterhouses, as a place to start.

Create a campaign brief. We recommend focusing on one campaign at a time, but if you feel that you have the resources to run more than one at a time, that’s great! In the strategy brief you will have identified at least a few different possible targets and campaigns. Now it’s time to decide which one is the most likely to achieve your goal of cracking down on the slaughterhouse industry. There are a lot of factors to consider in developing this “blueprint” for your campaign which is why we recommend consulting with your SFC advisor in the process of developing it.

Establish social media accounts. The preferred handle names are “slaughterfree” followed by the city name. For example, slaughterfreenyc, slaughterfreechicago as twitter, facebook and instagram names. Keep the focus on your posts on the campaign! This will minimize fatigue from your members who want to see campaign-related content.

Develop a Social Media Plan
Create and post memes for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (for examples, see SFC page).
Post on neighborhood apps such as NextDoor.
Join local Facebook groups, post in them and create conversation (remember that all engagement is good for the visibility of your posts. Do not allow negative comments to change your social media strategy since even negative comments count as engagement that makes the post more visible)

Recruit volunteers, activists and allies. Natural allies will be members of vegan groups and people who live or work near the slaughterhouses. Connect with local and state legislators who have been supportive of animal or health issues in the past. Develop a relationship with them in the hope that, down the road, they might sponsor legislation to shut down the slaughterhouses. Ally with other social justice groups and community leaders, showing them how your cause is aligned with theirs.

Develop actions to support the campaign. SFC uses a variety of nonviolent actions and tactics. Often times, 80% of the action is in the planning itself. Make sure you have plenty of time to prepare and think through any action. Use our Action Development Tool to plan your actions and use our template to create an action brief to summarize all of the important details that activists need to know all in one place. Here’s an example. Actions should reflect the goal of getting the attention of and applying pressure on your targets. Check out videos of some of our past actions. Use our action development tool and see the following section for links to help you generate more action ideas. Use Gene Sharp’s list of 198 nonviolent actions as a brainstorming tool.

Develop a media and communications strategy. This can be one of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of a campaign and will be as strong as the communication skills of team members. Recruit media-savvy members to help promote media coverage. Identify the local reporters and journalists covering city officials and animal and environmental issues. Use Google Alerts to find relevant stories and journalists reporting on stories about animals, public health, lower-income communities and environmental issues. Connect with these reporters and build a rapport with them on Twitter (a favored platform for journalists) and other social media channels. Build and maintain a list of them. Reach out to them by email, Twitter, or wherever they seem to be active, with important news on the campaign. Remember that traditional media efforts need to be synchronized with social media.

Media plan steps:
Develop press releases and pitches as needed
Develop local media contacts, target journalists who have already covered the story or similar stories, use Google Alerts to get headlines in your inbox
Pitch story to media contacts
Write Op-Eds in local outlets online and print

City teams use all major communication platforms to promote the campaign to the public, including:

  • email and text message blasts
  • social media posts and ads
  • direct print mailings (using brochures, letters, flyers)
  • phone banking
  • canvassing (using brochures, letters, flyers)
  • environmental ads (billboards, bus stop signs, etc.)

Our SFC Brand Book provides specific design and branding guidelines.

Build public support. Connect with residents and business owners in the communities where slaughterhouses are operating (or are being proposed) with an eye for people who may later serve as allies or even plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a slaughterhouse. Build a contact list of supporters that are graded by their level of engagement. Some contacts will be willing to send an email or sign a petition but others may be willing to organize a protest or make great spokespeople for the campaign. Be sure you determine each contact’s special skills and level of engagement. Recognize that their interest and engagement may evolve over time and change.

Advanced public support level: develop a community outreach plan
Organize a mailing
Obtain a mailing list of residents and business owners within a close radius of the proposed slaughterhouse property (SFC can help source this)
Send out the mailing a second time after 4 to 7 days
Create and distribute a petition
Consider a targeted Facebook ad campaign (consult with SFC)
Send email and text message blasts
Develop a phone banking and canvassing team that can follow up on mailings
At every connection, always ask people to sign up to your email list (SFC can create a custom sign up form and store your contacts in its Mailchimp account upon request)
Identify those who are willing to do protests and other disruptive actions

Organize a group of residents and business owners for more advanced activism
One example of advanced actions is to organize a group of residents and business owners to meet with decision makers at their office. If they refuse to meet at their office, home visits should also be considered. This section needs more development.