UPLIFT Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a member of Uplift?
The most common way to become a member is by participating in an Uplift action, such as signing a petition, sending an email, making a donation, or attending an event. Once you sign up you will automatically receive updates and information on campaigns that are relevant to you.
It does not cost you anything to join Uplift.If you no longer want to be a member, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of every communication we send. You can also click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the homepage.Membership is open to anyone living on the island of Ireland and Irish people living abroad. Until there is an established membership base in Northern Ireland, Uplift does not initially plan to pro-actively campaign on this part of the island. Uplift also seeks to be a voice for Irish emigrants on issues relevant to them and where there is an opportunity to make an impact.
Who started Uplift?
Uplift grew out of a series of conversations in 2013 involving a group of campaigners and social justice activists who saw the potential of digital technology as a tool to support people powered action in Ireland. The founding group were Siobhán O’Donoghue, Ruairí McKiernan, Cian O’Donovan and Edel McGinley. Supported by Ben Brandzel (former MoveOn head of Advocacy and now founding Executive Director of OPEN), this small group planned Uplift’s formation. In November 2013 the first Board meeting was held. Siobhan O’ Donoghue became Uplift’s Founding Director in the summer of 2014.Uplift is inspired by the impact of advocacy groups like MoveOn in the United States, 38 Degrees in the UK, GetUp! in Australia and Leadnow in Canada who have successfully used innovative digital campaigning tools with people powered action to great effect. Uplift is very privileged to be supported by these sister organisations through our involvement with the OPEN Network.
What does Uplift believe in?
Uplift is a nimble, independent, progressive multi-issue organisation. We believe that power should rest with the people and that democracy is too important to be left to politicians. We want to help build a vibrant prosperous Ireland in a world that values social justice, equality and sustainability. We stand up for freedom, democracy, community and the natural environment. We want to be a catalyst for change across communities, generations and social classes for people to believe in their own leadership and to focus on creating the Ireland we want.The values that guide the way we work are;
Participation: we promote the right of people to be involved in the decisions that affect our lives
Collective action: we get results by acting together for the common good
Solidarity: we build bridges and work with others to achieve our mutual goals
Independence and integrity: we are free from outside influence and agendas
Accountability and transparency: we are open and answerable to our members.
Our relationship with political parties and politicians?
Uplift is an independent campaigning organisation. We treasure this independence and do not advocate for any political party or grouping and have no political or corporate affiliations. One of our main goals is to hold all decision makers to account irrespective of their political ideology. Our members will engage with politicians and decision makers to ensure they know about our concerns. We will actively communicate with them so that they are persuaded to respond to our demands. Our priority is achieving positive impact and outcomes on the issues we have identified as important. In that context Uplift will welcome and encourage progressive policy and will criticise bad policy.
Where does Uplift get its funding from and how do we use it?
To start off we secured some small-scale grant support from The Community Foundation for Ireland, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Global Green Foundation. People have also generously provided their professional services for free or at a greatly reduced cost. A Founder Supporters Fund has also been formed to help Uplift become established. Please consider joining this Fund today by visiting our donation page
In the long term we intend to be 100% funded by small donations provided by our members. Funds raised go to resourcing a small team; developing and maintaining our online campaign platform and enhancing the tools members use to take action. Our main focus is on effective campaigning and our spending is prioritised accordingly.
Is Uplift just about online campaigning?
Uplift enables people who share progressive values to take powerful, coordinated action online and offline. The emphasis is on people taking action together on issues we have collectively decided are important to campaign on. Digital technology is a powerful resource to support people powered action but it is only a tool and will never replace or substitute for the direct participation of people. Actions and campaign tactics will include everything from petition delivery events, public meetings, vigils, rallies, radio show call-ins, company boycotts, letter/email writing, social media targeting, leafleting, street and image theatre, house meetings, distributed actions, legal action and much more.
How is Uplift different from other civil society organisations?
We are a non-profit campaign organisation set up as a company limited by guarantee. We are not a charity and do not function as a traditional NGO. Uplift does not represent any single issue or group in society and has no desire to duplicate the work of others who have expertise and a track record in a particular area. We do hope to become expert in how to mobilise large numbers of people to campaign on a wide range of issues spanning social, environmental, economic and political change. Uplift wants to play a unique and complementary role in Irish civil society. We can use technology and campaign strategies to help mobilise many people in a short period of time to amplify people’s voices. This will help sustain attention on key issues until they are resolved and channel energy from moments of crisis into a long-term movement for positive change. Uplift can form effective partnerships to make progress on key issues and challenges. We believe that it is important for organisations to work together to make a positive impact and support each other in manifesting our common visions.
How are campaigns selected?
Uplift campaigns are first and foremost decided on by assessing the interest and desire of members to take action on any particular issue. Campaigns may emerge very quickly in response to events taking place in the ‘here and now’. Members decide on what we campaign on through a variety of means including direct contact, social media discussion, polling, surveys, call outs, meetings.Factors considered in choosing a campaign include:
Time frame: what is the level of urgency and the time frame to make a difference?
Impact: is there a clear solution or target and what is the difference the Uplift community can make by campaigning on this issue?
Values: how does this issue and potential solution align with our core values and does it contribute to longer term change or co-create the conditions to address more challenging issues?
Added value: is there something we can bring to this issue and is anyone else already working in this area?
How does Uplift work?
Uplift’s power comes from its ability to mobilise people to take coordinated, strategic action to achieve agreed outcomes. Uplift’s small central team will be responsible for campaign coordination and strategic planning on a day to day basis. This includes making judgements about what campaigns to prioritise at any given time, based on members’ preferences, timing and potential impact. Often, we will actively engage member’s views and experiences when planning strategies and tactics. The actions taken in any campaign will be varied as so much depends on the particulars of the campaign and the most appropriate strategy required to get us where we want to be.Every campaign will have a clear plan of action that will be under constant review. Broadly though actions are likely to fall into the following areas:
Organising – building teams of supporters i.e. through house parties, events, online hangouts, teach-ins, film nights, and campaign sign-up drives.
Speaking Out – influencing the general public to build support i.e. letters to the editor, radio call-ins, protests, rallies, press conferences, door-to-door, leafleting at festivals, petitions, sign-ons, bill boards, etc.
Speaking Up – direct contact with decision makers and campaign targets i.e. calls, office visits, petition deliveries, asking questions at events, targeted meetings, legal challenges, etc.
The actions and strategies chosen will reflect where we can have the best strategic impact depending on what is needed in the course of the campaign. The spectrum of possible campaigns are wide-ranging but are likely to include areas such as political reform and accountability, challenging privatisation, debt, progressive tax reform, management of natural resources, climate change, education and health reform, mental health, housing, fracking, GM food and farming, income equality and other equality issues, worker justice, combating racism, public services, corporate power.
Who runs Uplift?
Staff and office volunteers coordinate the work day to day to let members know what Uplift is getting up to, as well as making sure that the technology we use is running smoothly. They do this with the support of the Board. Staff also draw on advice from sister campaigning groups, experts and others to make sure we are getting good information about the best way to make change happen.