This is part of a series of posts from the engine room’s collaboration with the Transparency International People Engagement Programme. It includes 1) the initiative’s strategic plan and 2) ways to get involved
An agreement on transparent party funding that was struck last year in Sweden has presented Transparency International’s local chapter with an opportunity to enlist citizens in transparency advocacy. To this end, TI-Sweden will soon be launching a project called Open Funds. Open Funds ranks political parties according to a “transparency scale” of 9 indicators. It will gather and publish income figures for Sweden’s parliamentary parties.
We recently met with Open Funds to discuss their strategy. Their goal is for thought leaders, with the support of the general public, to use the information that Open Funds presents to pressure parties into improving transparency practices. To that end, we primarily discussed their stakeholders – users, allies, targets – and activities for engaging these groups. Here’s some of what we found out.
The general public isn’t exactly clamoring for this data. To reach them, Open Funds will target Swedish opinion makers. They will be looking to collaborate with journalists in general and activists and advocates who have been outspoken about this issue.
We reached out to Swedish journalist Martin Gelin for advice on who could help Open Fund reach more Swedish people. Check out some of his recommended Swedish online influencers included on this Twitter list we put together.
To help them reach opinion influencers, TI Sweden can work with the think tanks and major NGOs that are likely to listen. The Green Party and the Pirate Party would be most likely to lead this fight in Sweden. There are also think tanks and NGOs which might have access to audiences that would be interested in getting involved. If your organization is an ally of Open Funds – get in touch.
The targets are Swedish political parties who are not sufficiently transparent about their finances. Open Funds will approach party leaders directly (beginning with parties whose stances make them more likely to be responsive).
Asking potential users for feedback: Right now Open Funds is hard at work researching income figures, developing its website and contacting stakeholders and journalists ahead of the launch. Bringing the right people into the conversation at the development stage is often smart, so we suggested that they work to identify more opinion leaders to ask for their input on the transparency scale and on the larger goals of Open Funds.
Interviewing Targets (and blogging about it): TI Sweden’s other plan to build awareness about Open Plans is to conduct interviews with party secretariats and legal experts to discuss transparency. This has the added value of surfacing allies within the target group and involving them in the campaign. A great example of this interviewing strategy is the Why Tuesday? campaign in the US which used video blogging to draw attention to their campaign.
#OpenFunds Hashtag Campaign: TI-Sweden will begin by creating a schedule of content to tweet with the hashtag #openfunds. The content will include “fun facts” from the transparency rankings. Things like: “Did you know in 2010 X politician received Y amount from his own company?” They will have to make the tweets really short – around 100 characters –to leave room for “copying” influencers and for others to Retweet. For inspiration, this is one hashtag campaign that recently took the Swedish Twittersphere by storm.
Note: Thanks to Swedish journalist Martin Gelin for providing this initiative with feedback on how best to engage people. If you would like to join Open Funds’ fight for more transparent party funding in Sweden get in touch direct? Share your ideas for their campaign or