Campaign Bootcamp’s Board share answers to questions about the charity’s closure

In December 2021, we announced the heartbreaking news that, after 8 years, Campaign Bootcamp will be closing. We’re in the process of winding down our work, with most staff leaving next month.

Last month, a public Q&A form was shared, giving people the opportunity to ask questions directly to the Campaign Bootcamp Board about their decision.

Submissions to the form covered questions around the legacy of our work and resources, what conversations had been had with merging with other organisations, and the proposals brought to the Board to avoid the shutdown of the charity.

The answers to the public form have now been shared by the Board, which you can read below.

Will there be archiving of your resources so they can be accessed into the future?

Yes – as part of our work to bring Campaign Bootcamp to a close, we are currently exploring how we can make the existing resources and material available in the future, either hosted by another organisation or shared under creative commons licence for those who would benefit from them. We will have more to update on this in the coming weeks.

What will happen to the Bootcamp Facebook Community Group?

We know the group is important to many, and as part of our work to bring Campaign Bootcamp to a close, we are exploring how we can continue the group, recognising it’s currently moderated and curated by the staff team. We’re open to ideas about how that resource could be used.

What are you going to do to ensure that people who otherwise can’t afford to pay for the training that you deliver still get that training elsewhere?

We want to explore how the legacy and work of Bootcamp can continue in some form – for example by making training resources available, but the decision to close the charity does mean an end to our training. There are other organisations that provide excellent free and low-cost campaign training and we’ll be creating a resource to signpost people to organisations that do similar training that are either free, low-cost, or operate on a sliding scale.

How can we maintain our relationships as a community without you? Is there something you can do to facilitate our community survival after you cease to exist?

We know how important the Bootcamp community is to so many of those who have been involved in our training over the last 8 years. We’re keen to support initiatives that will allow the community to continue – and are open to ideas from anyone on this. We’ll be hosting Communities of Resistance – A Celebration of the Campaign Bootcamp Community on Thursday 3rd February, where we can invite community members to look back and celebrate what has been achieved, and discuss how, collectively, that might move forward.

What will happen to any charitable funds that are left?

We are currently exploring ways of releasing surplus funds that are left after we close, in a way that will continue to meet our charitable aims. We hope to distribute our surplus, and a number of ways of doing this are being considered, for example, through a Campaign Bootcamp community legacy fund.

In keeping with our charitable objects, we aim to prioritise support for:

  • organisations and projects which continue to train and support activists and campaigns, as we have strived to do for the last 8 years
  • proposals that continue work previously undertaken by Campaign Bootcamp
  • our community, who often have barriers to accessing funding

To keep the process as equitable as possible and aligned to Campaign Bootcamp’s values we are not rushing the process. Details of the fund will be available in due course.

Would you support a feasibility study to explore if a Community Interest Company could be set up to continue the legacy of Bootcamp?

As we’ve set out in a number of our answers, the Board is really keen to look at how the legacy of Campaign Bootcamp can be maintained. So would be open to supporting that, should a suitable group made up of members of the Bootcamp community come forward with a proposal about how that could be undertaken in line with our values.

It wouldn’t be appropriate for the current Board of Trustees to lead that work, but we would recommend that anyone interested in this either attends Communities of Resistance where we can explore making space for that conversation, or reaches out via the Campaign Bootcamp Facebook community pages to see if others would be interested in exploring that work.

What alternatives have been explored to stop the closure of Campaign Bootcamp? And how involved have staff been in this decision?

We involved all staff through a Collective Consultation process about other alternatives to prevent closure. Some proposals were put forward by staff, and we are grateful for the time and effort that staff put into those. As a board we deliberated for hours, over the course of several months, on the decision to close. There were however some key constraints around ensuring leadership capacity to support a transition that we couldn’t, in our role as trustees, find a workable way forward, and no plan we saw had a sustainable solution to this, so with regret we had to close this chapter of Bootcamp. The decision to bring Campaign Bootcamp to a close was made by the charity’s trustees alone. We hope that we can work with others to ensure the legacy and work of Campaign Bootcamp and the contribution of so many will be maintained in some new way.

Did you consider a merger with another organisation or charity?

During the consultation process, we explored several options about how we could maintain the work of Campaign Bootcamp, including talking with the leadership of other similar organisations. In the wake of those conversations, the Board did not feel a merger was viable, but we remain keen to work with others to explore how the legacy of the work of Bootcamp could be continued.

Many organisations face internal development issues when what it tries to do outwardly doesn’t match its internal processes. Did you do enough to work through the issues before deciding to close?

The decision to close was not an easy one to make – it has been an 18 month long journey to this point, as we have shared earlier this year (here and here). Regrettably, we have not been able to ensure that the values that we’ve put at the centre of our training have been experienced by our staff – too many of the decisions that we have made did not fully embody our values of equity and justice.

As an organisation we have worked hard to understand those concerns through formal investigations and informal culture reviews, and found that culture to be pervasive, and the pain staff have felt to be serious. However, there was not a path to addressing those challenges that didn’t continue to exacerbate experiences of hurt and marginalisation or risk a very hasty closure, especially within the confines of a charity limited by requirements of how we address issues and use our funding so we reached the difficult to close Campaign Bootcamp.

Will you be sharing more about the lessons you have learnt that have led to the decision to close Bootcamp?

We hope to – at the moment as a Board our focus is on supporting staff as we bring the work of Bootcamp to an end, but our intention is to try to share reflections and lessons that may be useful for others in due course.

How will you deal with concerns raised after Campaign Bootcamp has closed and in the period before its closure? How will the staff members who have been hurt by your actions and work environment be compensated?

We welcome concerns to be shared with us before closure, however, please know that part of the reason we are closing is that the number of concerns raised about our organisation is well beyond what we can address, and thus we need to close. It is helpful to hear for learning reasons, but we may not reply back to each person.

We take the concerns raised by staff seriously, as outlined in our earlier statements. Over the last 18 months, and now as we move towards closing this chapter of our work, we have been ensuring we have not only improved direct communication with staff but ensured we are supporting staff where we can, within the confines of what is allowable by charity law.

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