PODCAST: Craft of Campaigns | Training For Change

Craft of Campaigns

a PODCAST of the Organizing Skills Institute

The Craft of Campaigns podcast highlights stories and lessons from issue-based action campaigns, beyond one-off mobilizations and single election cycles. Campaigns channel grassroots energy to win concrete victories, build winning coalitions, and topple pillars of power standing in the way of justice.  In each episode, we interview organizers about how a campaign unfolded, strategy decisions, and lessons for our current moment. Each episode includes a transcript and writeup of key take-aways.


Craft of Campaigns Season 2
S2E6 Ingrid Lakey

S2 E6: Ingrid Lakey on taking on the country’s 6th-largest bank and changing the activist culture on climate change

In our Season 2 Finale, we’ll hear about a group of Quakers who wanted to experiment with campaign strategy to tackle climate change. Their experiment forced one of the country’s largest banks to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining after a multi-year campaign and hundreds of direct actions around the country. 

CoC Nico Amador S2E5

S2 E5: Nico Amador on fighting transgender discrimination on public transit and pivoting gracefully when the campaign got stuck

In this episode, we’ll hear about how a few Philly activists came together in 2009 to take on a policy that was causing harassment and discrimination against transgender public transit riders. This all-volunteer collective used creative tactics, including a drag show and a larger-than-life riders bill of rights to take on one of the largest public transit systems in the country and win. 

S2E4 Byron Hobbs Jonathan Hogstad

S2 E4: Byron Hobbs and Jonathan Hogstad on taking on the corporations funding voter suppression in Michigan

In this episode, we’ll hear about how one organization, Community Change, responded to the January 6th 2021 revolt and ongoing attacks on voting rights in Black communities by going after the corporations funding election-denying politicians and raising the consequences of voter suppression for the corporations that bankrolled it.

S2E3 Devan Spear Philly JwJ (2)

S2 E3: Devan Spear on forcing universities to pay their fair share

In this episode, we’ll hear about a fight to get some of Philadelphia’s largest property-owners – nonprofit universities and hospitals – to make voluntary payments in lieu of taxes to fund local public schools. Devan Spear describes how the campaign gained momentum by investing in basebuilding, created distributed action teams, and used the momentum of the 2020 uprisings to push their campaign over the finish line. 

Stephen Lerner Craft of Campaigns Episode 2

S2 E2: Stephen Lerner on Justice for Janitors: A comeback story that continues today

In this episode, we’ll hear about how tens of thousands of workers lost nearly all of their workplace protections, and then spent two decades campaigning against some of the most powerful Fortune 500 companies to win them back. Janitors in cities around the country used advanced power analysis and creative tactics to jeopardize these CEOs’ political and community ties, their public images, big tax breaks, and most importantly, their profits, and today over 150,000 are protected by strong union contracts. 

Craft of Campaigns Season 2 Episode 1 graphic

S2 E1: Karina Mireya and Benji Hart on #NoCopAcademy: A Campaign Against Chicago’s ‘Cop City’

In this episode, we’ll hear about a campaign to stop Chicago’s “cop city” that recruited dozens of organizations to support an abolitionist effort for the first time. This campaign also helped pave the way for a shift in the city’s organizing landscape that propelled now-Mayor Brandon Johnson to victory in 2023. His administration’s first municipal budget, passed at the end of 2023, includes historic investments in alternatives to policing.

Craft of Campaigns Season 2 logo with release date, February 27

S2 E0: Season Two Trailer (2/13/24)


Welcome back to the Craft of Campaigns, a podcast from Training for Change. In Season 2, we’ll hear about campaigns #NoCopAcademy in Chicago, Justice for Janitors in D.C., Defend Black Voters in Michigan, and more. Subscribe today so you don’t miss upcoming episodes.

S1 E13: Danielle Purifoy & AJ Williams on winning alternatives to policing in Durham NC

In our Season One finale, we hear from Durham Beyond Policing organizers AJ Williams and Danielle Purifoy about how a rapid response campaign against a new police headquarters led to a strategic focus on the municipal budget process to fund community alternatives to police, ultimately diverting more municipal funding to noncarceral approaches to community safety than any other Southern city.

S1 E12: Hannah Sassaman on making Comcast pay, ensuring your victories stick & planning the next campaign before your current one ends

In this episode, Hannah Sassaman talks about the campaign to force Comcast to make historic concessions to working class Philadelphians, and change the city’s relationship to its largest company, which had been working behind the scenes to oppose paid sick days and other progressive proposals. She also describes many of the lessons campaigners learned, which are now being incorporated into new fights for a just Philadelphia.

S1 E11: Heather Cronk on disrupting the movement ecosystem to jumpstart a campaign to win federal LGBTQ protections

In this episode, Heather Cronk describes the 2010 campaign to force President Obama to move faster to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell”, the prohibition on LGBTQ military service members serving openly, as a pathway to winning a federal ban on employment discrimination, and how organizers created a new vehicle, GetEqual, to shake up the movement ecosystem.  

S1 E10: Katey Lauer on how to grieve when our campaigns get stuck & weathering transitions with grace

In this episode, Katey Lauer describes a series of campaign losses West Virginia’s climate movement ecosystem suffered, and how they tried to “force” a strategy pivot instead of accepting and grieving a significant setback. She offers some insights from a similar movement moment eight years later following a more intentional two-year “season” of campaign work in the Mountain State. 

S1 E9: Justin J. Pearson on campaigning to stop a pipeline headed for a Black neighborhood in Memphis

In this episode, Black organizers in Memphis team up with climate activists and legal strategists to stop a pipeline threatening a Black neighborhood, going door-to-door to identify homeowners willing to fight back and change the story being told at the City Council and County Commission about the pipeline and what local elected officials can do. 

S1 E8: Daniel Hunter on never using the same tactic twice, undoing a “done deal” in Philadelphia

In this episode, organizers in Philadelphia launch a new organization to take on billionaire casino developers threatening two working class neighborhoods, and challenging a “done deal” backed by a Democratic governor and the city’s mayor. Casino-Free Philadelphia lost over fifteen times in the courts, and responded by not giving up, and challenged themselves to never hold a march or rally, but instead to come up with innovative tactics that would move more of the public in their direction each time. 

S1 E7: Caitlin Breedlove on taking on Amazon’s price-gouging, using campaigns as “political identity formation moments”

In this episode, Women’s March campaigners take on Amazon’s price-gouging, and how their focus on campaigns as “political identity formation moments” means emphasizing a particular part of the organizing campaign “funnel”.

S1 E6: Will Tanzman on ending cash bail in Illinois, how Chicago organizers built a statewide coalition & spent two years defending a legislative win

In this episode, we hear about how Chicago grassroots organizers scouted out a campaign to take on cash bail, and used electoral campaigns, direct actions and “inside game” work to figure out how to end wealth-based incarceration at the county level, then built a statewide coalition to win their ultimate, “North Star” victory. We’ll also hear about their last two years defending a state legislative win before it has even gone into effect (and now, as of January 2023, pending one last judicial review). 

S1 E5: Debt Collective organizers on crafting campaigns against an idea and generating “inside game” leverage by keeping up “outside” pressure

In this episode, we’ll hear about how the Debt Collective’s organizers went from being ridiculed by reporters at Occupy Wall Street, to eleven years later catalyzing what may be the most consequential executive action by President Biden thus far. Eleni and Ann discuss the campaign’s “scouting” phases, how they used crowdfunded medical, bail and student debt cancellation as an outreach tactic and how they kept up outside pressure even when they were at the bargaining table.  

S1 E4:Mary Hooks & Kate Shapiro on ending bail in ATL & the Black Mama’s Bail Outs


What does it mean to look at an issue like “bail” and “the criminalizaton of LGBTQ people” through the lens of a campaigner? That was the question for Southerners on New Ground in the lead-up to launching their Free From Fear campaign framework, which they used to pilot successful campaigns to end wealth-based incarceration in the City of Atlanta – which reduced the jail population by over 90% – and inspired the Black Mama’s Bail Outs tactic that has since been replicated all over the United States.  

S1 E3: Sasha Wijeyeratne on holding a ‘hard no’ & winning the narrative “on the doors” in the fight against Amazon’s “HQ2”


In this episode, we’ll hear about deciding not to negotiate, quickly mapping out their opponents and key leverage points, countering Amazon’s & Cuomo’s PR machine “on the doors” in Queens and being willing to struggle with their own members on the issue,  how AOC’s recent primary victory influenced their targets “flipping” on Amazon, the influence of this fight on their current campaign against Innovation Queens and learning more deeply the resonance of Bernice Johnson Reagon’s quote, “coalition isn’t home”. 

S1 E2: Tara Raghuveer on hijacking Kansas City’s elections by being “ruthless” about basebuilding


In this episode, we’ll hear how KC Tenants went from ten people in February 2019, to an organization of 4,300 dues-paying members who have won five citywide campaigns transforming conditions for hundreds of thousands of the city’s renters. We’ll hear how they reshaped the city’s municipal election without spending a dime on partisan electoral engagement; their internal debates that led to the disruption of 911 evictions in a single month; their culture of reflection during the pandemic; and how “ruthlessness about basebuilding” has helped them succeed. 

S1 E1: Neidi Dominguez on “not listening to DC” & embracing disagreement in the fight to win DACA (11/15/22)

In this episode, we’ll hear an inside account of the campaign to win Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which today protects nearly a million people from deportation. Neidi Dominguez discusses the decision to separate the campaign from a broader legislative campaign, using “inside” and “outside” strategies to force the Obama Administration’s hand, and how leaning into disagreement ultimately helped organizers stay focused and win their campaign.

S1 E0: Season One Trailer (10/27/22)


Welcome to the Craft of Campaigns, a new podcast from Training for Change. In this podcast, we go behind the headlines and hashtags, inviting movement storytellers to share lessons from social justice campaigns. In each episode, we’ll explore one campaign, through firsthand interviews, for key lessons, principles, and practices for organizers today. Subscribe today so you don’t miss upcoming episodes.

Hosted by Andrew Willis Garcés

Andrew, based in Greensboro, NC, is a lifelong Southerner shaped and inspired by the Southern grassroots organizing tradition and also by the communities of resistance from his maternal homeland of Colombia. He founded and led Siembra NC under the Trump Administration, and has worked with dozens of unions and grassroots community organizations over the last two decades as an organizer, strategist, communications consultant and trainer. He’s been a TFC Core Trainer since 2009. You can read some of his writing at The Forge, Truthout, Waging Nonviolence, Convergence, In These Times.

Produced by Ali Roseberry-Polier

Ali’s background is in community organizing and activist storytelling, connecting present-day movements to legacies of resistance. First politicized through the fossil fuel divestment movement and queer community education as a student, their recent work includes archival and oral history research, including with Black Liberation 1969 and the Philadelphia AIDS Oral History Project. Ali’s writing has appeared in Waging Nonviolence, Hidden City Philadelphia, among others. Ali first attended a TFC workshop in 2011 and joined staff in 2017.

Music by Trey Kams

The Craft of Campaigns is a project of the Organizing Skills Institute and made possible by TFC’s grassroots donors.
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