Module 2 - Life Changers

2.3 Lesson plan

2.3 - Campaigns & making a change

Guide Dogs campaign to make the world as accessible to blind or visually impaired people as it is for everyone else, making life easier and fairer for people with visual impairment. The processes we go through to make changes are outlined below.

  • 1. Hear the views of concerned guide dog owners

    • Emails - Blind and partially sighted people often email us about their concerns, such as aggressive dogs
    • Local news - we check the news every day to make sure we aren't missing any important stories
    • Phone calls - we have a Freephone campaigns hotline that people can call up
    • Guide Dogs staff - we hear from other members of staff about problems their clients are encountering

  • 2. Is it a significant problem?

    We need to make sure we have the necessary evidence.

    • Surveys - we ask people who are blind and partially sighted about whether they have suffered from similar problems, such as aggressive dogs, or problems accessing buses.

  • 3. Decide on how best to help solve the problem

    • Look at the law - our legal team helps us to look at the laws to see what the government needs to do to solve a problem, such as making an attack on a guide dog count as an attack on a person
    • Brainstorm the message - our campaigns team will organise various ways in which we can spread this message to the public and, in particular, make MPs aware of the problem
    • Are other charities already doing work in this area that we can support?

  • 4. Spreading the message

    Emails and social media - volunteers are very important and we often ask members and volunteers to email their local MP to support us in changing the law and helping blind people. We also sometimes spread our message through carefully targeted advertising (such as in the magazines we know politicians read).

  • 5. Talking to the politicians

    • Meeting with politicians - as well as social media, face to face meetings are very important, as this is an effective way of getting our messages across.
    • Receptions - we hold receptions in Parliament and invite important politicians. MPs can get a photo with a guide dog to show their constituents what work they are doing and listen to guide dog owners tell them about the problems they face first hand
    • Conferences - all large political parties hold conferences every year. We attend as many as we can to spread our campaign message. We often have a challenge that MP's can do for fun. This year it is about street clutter where we will challenge MPs to play a game of crazy golf with obstacles in the way

  • 6. Amending our message as required

    Over the course of a campaign it is likely that we will need to adapt our messaging according to what we learn along the way. By addressing the objections of those who disagree with us, it makes it harder for them to continue to say no!

  • 7. Change the law

    Decision makers in government have the power to make things happen, and we have the power to influence them! Guide Dogs will always try and make sure that the opinion of people who are blind and partially sighted is heard.

  • 8. Don't forget...

    • Campaigning is really useful! All of the areas we campaign on are not only good for people who are blind and partially sighted people, but also for everyone else! For example, wouldn't it be great if all the buses in your area were "Talking Buses" that announced the next stop?
    • How easy it is for volunteers to help? If you have thirty seconds you can write to your MP. If you have a little longer you could arrange a meeting with your local councillor to talk about the problems of street clutter.
    • What a big difference it makes: we changed the law in relation to attacks on guide dogs this year.
    • How you can get involved: sign up for our Campaigns Newsletters