Pushing a campaign beyond the five goals is one of the most challenging asks of a Fairtrade steering group. It’s all about exceeding expectations and bringing together the crucial elements of campaigning to make a lasting impact.

Fairtrade Yorkshire zoom beyond the five goals

A collaborative effort between Fairtrade Yorkshire and Bradford Fairtrade Zone did just that in July 2014 when they shot their cycling Fairtrade bananas film Fairtrade Yorkshire: on the road to a fairer future. It tapped into the cycling fever that swept both the county and the UK during the hugely popular Yorkshire stages, which opened the 101st Tour de France.

With that in mind, here are some top tips to make your next campaign a success:

  • Plan ahead, if possible
  • Involve the whole community
  • Share out tasks
  • Use technology to bridge geographical divides
  • Build off the excitement surrounding other events
  • Think big!

This entertaining film features amateur volunteer cyclists dressed in Fairtrade banana suits, scaling the Haworth to Oxenhope ascent of the Grand Départ 2nd stage, which looks hugely challenging! On reaching the peak, the cyclists are greeted by Hollywood-style letters spelling out Fairtrade Yorkshire and, of course, cheering supporters. The film finishes with powerful images of campaigners from all over Yorkshire mixed with photographs of the farmers and their communities that benefit from Fairtrade.

To find out how they went beyond the five goals, we spoke to Mark Dawson, Fairtrade Yorkshire coordinator, who has been campaigning locally since 2001, and veteran campaigner Rita Verity of Fairtrade Bradford.

They felt that the Tour de France’s Grand Départ was an opportunity not to be missed, an exciting way to link Fairtrade to the publicity and fanfare surrounding the race’s Yorkshire debut. Bradford Fairtrade Zone proposed the brilliant idea for the film.

Production was a collaborative effort – and it had to be. Mark warns that a big project ‘is not something that one or two people can do’. Geography and personal commitments can limit the amount of time available to dedicate to the Fairtrade cause, and in Fairtrade Yorkshire’s experience campaigners weren’t able to meet face to face. With no formal meetings, nearly all of the organisation for the film was done through emails and telephone calls.

This process helped bring together campaigners who don’t normally interact and strengthened existing relationships. Mark advises to cast the net widely when looking for help: ‘Some people won’t be interested but you can find people in the most unlikely places who can help you. These days it isn’t hard to ask for help from a wide group of people’.

The film drew on three main sources of funding, Rita revealed – the annual budget provided to Fairtrade Bradford by their council, contributions from other Yorkshire Fairtrade groups, and a special budget for Bradford Council to promote the Tour de France in Yorkshire.

The team worked in partnership with local filmmaker and Fairtrade supporter Danny Hardaker and the film’s soundtrack was also composed by a local musician. The event was publicised mostly through social media with the help of volunteers, councillors, MPs and MEPs sharing the film with their large audiences.

If they were to do the film again, Mark says they would have prepared more in advance. Most of the planning concentrated on funding and production, and more thought could have been given to promoting the film and distribution afterwards.

An ambitious project from the outset, the film was received positively and involved a whole host of campaigners from across Yorkshire. Fairtrade Yorkshire continues to use the film – it was screened in Bradford’s city centre to mark the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire. It has also been shown as far away as Japan and Korea.

The production process worked to bring people together, providing a sense of unity for Fairtrade Yorkshire and really motivated volunteers locally.

Useful Links

Fairtrade Yorkshire’s film: on the road to a fairer future