Plan a great action

Get creative with your campaigning to boost your profile and influence local decision-makers. Here's how to do it.
  Published:  22 Sep 2017    |      3 minute read

Preparation

How can you communicate your message to a wider audience and inspire them to take action?

Identify your main aim. For example, are you trying to collect so many names on a petition? How will your action bring you closer to this goal?

Location

Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference. If you’re doing a press stunt, will it look good on camera and capturing the media’s attention? Staging the action in front of an iconic building – or somewhere relevant to your campaign – could make all the difference.

Think about where you might find sympathetic audiences. Are you collecting postcard signatures for a food-related issue? If so, can you run a stall at a farmers' market?

Find a visible spot where the flow of people isn’t too fast and furious – you’ll need space for passers-by to stop and talk to you.

If you want to engage new audiences, you could set up near your local mosque, church, youth or community centre.

Creativity counts

Props, flags, costumes, masks, role plays, music... Throwing a pinch of creativity into your action plan can be great for turning heads and getting your action into the local media.

Communicating your message

Now you’ve got people’s attention, how do you get them to act?

That will depend on who you are trying to reach and why. If you’re out and about, your audience is likely to be diverse.

Brainstorm ideas on how you could adapt your message for different audiences like students, parents, the elderly, cyclists and motorists. Find a local angle to help your message resonate in your community. Think of a snappy opening line to engage people in conversation.

Talk the talk

People’s perception of what you say will be based on the following:

  • 7% verbal – the words you say.
  • 38% vocal – what you sounded like when you said it.
  • 55% visual – your body language while talking.

So you don’t have to be word perfect or an expert on the issue.

Talk with conviction and open, confident body language. Be positive and friendly when approaching people. Listen to what people say and avoid lecturing – all good communication is 2 way.

Have a closing strategy in case you are getting stuck in a conversation which isn’t going anywhere. For example, "It's been interesting talking to you but my colleague needs help".

When it's all over

Pat yourselves on the back.

Campaigning can be tough, so make sure you celebrate the day’s achievements. Thank everyone who took part and make sure group members feel valued.

At your next meeting, discuss how the action went: what worked well and what you’d do differently next time.

Don’t forget to do your admin. Whatever your action, it’s bound to generate follow-up work. The sooner you chase press releases, get new people signed up to your email list and postcards sent back to Friends of the Earth, the sooner you can sit back and relax after your hard work.