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Campaigning in a crisis: 4 ways to make a socially-distanced difference!

Covid-19, lockdown and social distancing have certainly turned life upside down at the moment. For many of us, this has meant being unable to engage in activism and campaigning in the traditional sense of street protests, conferences, prayer vigils, meet-ups and many more public activities.

I for one am definitely missing taking to the streets and being a part of a mass moment in person. However, the spirit of campaigning continues to strive, albeit in the virtual realm!

In fact at Islamic Relief, much like many other organisations, we’ve had to adapt quickly and move our efforts online. This pandemic has certainly taught us a thing or two about how to mobilise and campaign at a distance.

So, if you’re keen to get in on the action and help build positive change, here are our top four tips on how to campaign during a lockdown!

1. Engage via social media

Social media is the ultimate trump card when it comes to online movements. It allows you to connect with millions of people all over the world from a click of a mouse. A tweet a, Facebook post, an Instagram story or even a TikTok video allow you to pass on a message to a larger audience with an even greater reward.

You only have to look at the #blacklivesmatter and #metoo movements, as well as our very own #cakes4syria campaigns, to see the impact of social media when it comes to raising awareness, building networks and harnessing support.

So, if you’re passionate about a movement and want to share your thoughts, join the conversation by connecting online with like-minded people and organisations. With every share, retweet and ‘like’ the message grows.

Take a look at our latest blog by Head of Advocacy Shahin Ashraf following the death of our brother George Floyd and share the message of equality for everyone!

2. Attend online events

Whilst you can’t meet people in person, webinars and online events are a great way to get organised and involved. Organisers and attendees can share key messaging and opinions, update each other on the latest plans and goings on, and allow for people to engage and contribute towards key moments.

Although the concept of a virtual mass moment/ lobby may seem a little odd to some, the key concept is the same. People = power! In fact, only last month Islamic Relief took park in the Climate Coalition’s The Time is Now mass lobby, which saw hundreds of people meet with their MPs online to discuss their concerns for the climate.

This event not only brought much-needed attention to the issue of climate change but also helped demonstrate the need for MPs to do more when it comes to climate action.

There are many more organisations working on mass lobby moments and lots of ways to get involved. Remember: MPs have also become more tech-savvy so don’t feel afraid to contact your MP and organise an online meeting!

3. Start/sign online petitions

Another effective way to build a movement and put pressure on decision-makers is through the use of petitions. Their power, speed and efficiency are incredible!

Not only are online petitions a great way to demonstrate a united front with solid numbers of people, they’re also so-far reaching that you can gain supporters from all over the world!

Setting up a petition is simple, quick and super easy. Anyone can do it via an online platform such as You’ll need over 100k signatures for the UK government to consider your petition for a debate in the parliament, so do make sure you share, share and share a plenty.

The more signatures, the better! To really grab people’s attention, include personal stories, key figures and statistics and try to gain the support of organisations and high-profile individuals to endorse and hopefully promote your petition as much as possible.

4. Get creative

Whether it’s a viral trend on TikTok or an impactful stunt on Twitter, a little creativity goes a long way online and can bring attention to an issue in a unique and innovative way.

One great example of this is Dabirul Islam Choudhury – a 100-year-old pensioner who walked 100 laps around his garden whilst fasting, raising more than £150,000 for charity to support communities affected by the coronavirus.

His efforts gained great press coverage and showed that we can all make a difference! So, don’t be afraid to be experimental and think outside the box when it comes to your campaign ideas.

Campaign action ultimately comes in all shapes and sizes and there is no correct way to campaign. In fact, you can do anything from organising an online panel event, creating a new podcast or even engaging in a viral trend. Ultimately, the aim is to draw attention to your cause and there are hundreds of ways to do that.

The only limit is your own imagination and if you can project your work online with enough impact!


Whilst we may be feeling frustrated at the current pandemic and be worried about how we can effectively campaign for change, remember: there’s always a way to make a difference!

We simply have to adapt, run with current trends and be where the people are – even if that means online!

It’s also worth remembering that whilst this way of campaigning may indeed be a temporary measure for us, for many people across the globe it’s actually the norm. Campaigning on critical issues such as the climate and gender inequality is not only illegal but dangerous in many countries across the world.

So, whilst we continue our efforts here in the UK, let’s keep making du’a for the many people whose voices are frustrations are effectively silenced. Let’s be their voice.

Happy campaigning!


Find out more about IRUK’s current campaigns and get involved!



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