The force behind Finland’s most powerful citizen's initiative, Tahdon2013, Public Affairs winner, COMM PRIX Awards 2013
Finland is falling behind when it comes to human rights development. It is still the only Nordic country where same-sex marriage is not recognized by the law. Over a year and a half ago a group of young people started to think what they could do about it. Today that group of people is us. We believe that every human being has the right to get married regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
The Citizen’s Initiative Campaign Tahdon2013 (I Do2013) was launched on 19th March 2013. We found social media a very powerful way to get people know about the campaign and advice also you to use it as a campaign tool. A thing to remember with it is to be as open as possible, answer all the questions audience has and provide all the info they ever need.
Another thing that have helped us along the way is to get connected. In the beginning we contacted many other volunteer organizations and met hundreds of experts and specialists from different sectors in society (politics, fundraising, media eg.) who helped us by sharing their good practices and gave us further useful connections.
A third tip we would like to share is to think of the different ways to get financially started. We for example applied for the European Union's Youth in Action program, collected donations and founded own association Tasa-arvoinen Suomi ry (Equal Finland) to get membership fees. We also sold pins, candies, bags and t-shirts. Money was for example needed for a charity concert arranged by us.
The main challenge we faced while implementing the campaign was the lack of resources
Our campaign organization consists of a national steering group based in Helsinki, about a dozen regional action teams and the board of the association. We do not employ any members of staff and our campaign was completely reliant on volunteer input.
The main challenges we faced were the lack of resources. We started with zero budget. During the campaign we managed to gather money by organizing a concert to be able to pay the initial costs. In order to function without resources we had to use our imagination. In the end our main challenge turned out to be the force that kept us motivated and pushed us trough the hard times.
According to the latest research majority of Finns support equal marriage law. At the moment, initiative is processed by the law committee of Finnish Parliament.
Chair of the board of the campaign and the representative of the initiative
The Citizen’s Initiative Campaign Tahdon2013 (I Do2013) was launched on 19th March 2013, Finland’s national day for equal rights. By September 19th the initiative was signed by 166 851 citizens. A large number of organizations, companies and celebrities have now openly started supporting the Initiative.