Interview: Victoria Shooter

The director of communications at the National Deaf Children's Society talks to John Plummer about how the Freedom of Information Act can be used as a campaign weapon

Victoria Shooter
Victoria Shooter

- What is the difference between public and voluntary sector campaigning?

In the voluntary sector, you have one cause and a clearly defined set of stakeholders with whom you are trying to engage. The causes and stakeholders in the public sector can be much more diverse. Consequently, charity campaigning tends to be a lot clearer: you have a continuous dialogue with the same people, and that can be rewarding.

- Is it difficult to run campaigns about deaf children?

It can be tricky because there is a fairly low incidence of deafness in young people across the population as a whole. So we have to find ways to put across our message.

- How do you deal with that?

We try to make everything we do evidence-based. For our latest campaign, Save Services for Deaf People, we issued Freedom of Information requests to 45 councils in England to find out about cuts to educational support for deaf children.

- What advice would you give to charities about using the Freedom of Information Act as a campaign weapon?

You need to be clear about what information you want, otherwise an organisation can give you reams of information you are not looking for. You have to look carefully for that key piece of information.

- Which recent charity campaigns have impressed you?

Beatbullying's Big March, the online campaign last November that crossed into other websites. I admired the way it got so many people on board with such a simple tactic. It gave people an easy way to get involved and had a clear goal.

- What will be the next big thing in social media?

We are trying to consolidate our digital strategy. I think something like the new Google+, which brings everything digital together and includes social media, will be popular because you will no longer need multiple channels.

Victoria Shooter is director of communications at the National Deaf Children's Society. She previously worked in public and voluntary sector campaigning


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