In 2021, we were asked to help develop a clear and authentic narrative around the merger of two much-loved community legal centres: Inner Melbourne Community Legal and Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre.

Joining forces would allow both centres to better serve their communities, and help ensure their good work continued well into the future. But the merger was far from a sure thing. To be successful, 75 per cent of members from both centres would have to vote in its favour. And these members held a diverse range of opinions about the best way forward.

To ensure a yes vote, we developed a campaign strategy to help members feel comfortable with the change. We started by building a narrative that highlighted the values both centres shared. We then used this narrative to create a range of communications materials that spoke to the benefits of joining forces. We produced a film, drafted letters, helped organise town hall meetings, and even jumped on the phone. If it made members feel more positive about the merger, we did it.

When it finally came time to vote, we built the infrastructure needed to hold an impartial, legally binding Special General Meeting. (We even established a proxy voting system to ensure members who couldn’t attend could still register their vote.) The result? A resounding victory for the merger, ensuring a more secure and better future for Melbourne’s most disadvantaged.