A lot of campaigns start through Facebook due to the easy way that people can comment, share and like causes that they agree with.
It’s fairly easy for people in power to be dismissive of ‘Facebook’ in general, but gets harder once newspapers start writing about campaigns with lots of members. So how do some campaigns get attention?
Here are a few ways to amplify the voices of your members. While the tools may be modern, many of these are fairly traditional community organising methods and can be applied to any campaign.
- after asking members if it’s OK, copy and paste their comments into an email or letter to send to councillors and council officers (or whoever you’re trying to reach).
- summarise the main points members are making as briefly as possible
- publish the email in a Facebook note, or on your blog, including details about when you sent it and who you sent it to
- when (or if) you get a reply, publish that on your blog and add a link on Facebook for people to continue the conversation
- write to the local newspaper about the campaign – again keep your points short and ideally link your points to other letters or articles as it’ll be more likely to be printed this way
- if your campaign has a focal point (say, glass on the park), invite a photographer and reporter to cover it. If you phone, ask to speak to the newsdesk to talk about the campaign – this helps your issue to be more newsworthy. If you’re not sure what to say on the phone, put a single side sheet together again summarising your main arguments
- if your campaign has a lot of members (‘a lot’ depends on the size of your area but over 50 people is probably good for a small campaign) tell the newspaper that as well
- use photos to make a point – for example if a councillor has promised the park will be tidied up and it still isn’t, photograph it and put it online. This kind of nagging-by-public-exposure is what helped to make TAL’s own Will Perrin the king of cleared fridges in Kings Cross
- continue to pick up the pithiest or most passionate comments and ask commenters if you can use them in blog posts. This kind of regular curation makes it easier for people to catch up when they come across your campaign for the first time
- depending on the issue, you could encourage other members to write to their elected representatives or start petitions
- ask other people if they will talk about the campaign as well using the same methods as above – the more confident leaders you have, the better.
Do you have any more tips or examples of what has worked for you? If so, please leave a comment.