If you’re like us, you believe the status quo just isn’t good enough-- inequality is rising, the Earth is getting hotter, and our politicians often seem more interested in power and money than the people they represent. You may feel angry, sad, cynical, defeated, or alone. But you're not alone, there are millions of people ready to take action. So what are you going to do about it? We’ve made the answer as simple as possible: use Rally Starter to campaign for change!
We’re going to walk you through the steps to start a powerful campaign, step by step.
Really, anyone can do it.
Theory of Change
It’s the phrase that keeps you up at night when something is bothering you, “If... [insert an action that would solve a problem], then… [insert the positive impact that would be created]!”
We call this statement the Theory of Change, and it's the building block of any successful campaign.
There are two central questions you need to ask yourself:
- What change do you want?
- What actions would need to happen to create that change?
These answers should inform your "Rally Title" and "Rally Summary"
The answers to these questions become your central Theory of Change -- the North Star for the campaign. In order to have a successful campaign and to achieve your goals, every action needs to contribute to your Theory of Change.
Who holds the Power for Change?
When we talk about creating social change, there’s almost always a common denominator -- power. The status quo of any situation exists because someone has leveraged their power over someone else.
The reason we need to understand who holds power in a relationship is because we need to figure out who our campaign should target.
In rural California in the mid-1900s, grape growers had so much power, money, and influence that they disregarded the federal minimum wage and created a norm of farmworker exploitation. That power balance began to shift when Filipino and Mexican farmworkers united under the leadership of Cesar Chavez and others. That partnership led to the Delano Grape Strike, a five-year grassroots organizing effort that ultimately reduced consumer demand for non-union grapes and forced the growers into a collective bargaining agreement. The power balance did not become equal, but it had significantly shifted towards the farmworkers. Read more about the Delano Grape Strike here.
Here are two ways to help untangle the question:
- SHORT OPTION (5-10 minutes). Answer these questions:
While it's tempting to launch a campaign only directed at Decision-Makers, it's generally more effective to include a target of influencers who have leverage over the Decision-Maker's actions.
- LONG OPTION (30-90 minutes): Complete a Power Map to visualize all of the players in an issue. How much influence do they have? How much do they support/oppose your position?
Building a Critical Path
Once you have a clear goal established, what will you actually ask people to do to achieve this change? We can figure this out by building our critical path, which serves as the blueprint of your campaign.
Your critical path will help identify how your Rally will create the change necessary to solve the problem.
Take a piece of paper and at the top, write your end goal. Now, from the top to bottom, working down the page from your end goal, think of what would need to happen immediately before the previous goal was achieved. There are no “right” answers to this - that’s why campaigning is so fun and creative!
Selecting your Actions
Once you've built your campaign's critical path, you need to figure out the "how". How you get people to engage with your path are called actions.
This will help you plan your Rally Actions! Remember that your phone script, email copy, and social media posts should be informed by your Problem, Solution, and Ask! You’ll read about that more in a minute.
Rally Starter lets you easily create different actions to change the balance of power and influence of the Decision-Maker!
Phone: Call decision-makers and make a clear ask.
Email: Decision-Makers check their email just as often as you do. Send messages straight to decision-makers' inboxes to leverage your supporters’ collective power.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Word-of-web is the new word-of-mouth, you can reach thousands of people in a few moments. Use social media to motivate and urge fellow supporters to take actions, recruit more allies in your fight, gain publicity, and organize on the ground actions.
BOYCOTT: While boycotts are challenging to organize, they can be incredibly effective in the right circumstances, allowing supporters to hit decision-makers' bottom line.
Pledge & Petitions: Organizing pledges and signing petitions to show support of change is another effective way to show how many people are invested in a cause.
Make a list of all of the actions that would help influence your campaign’s Decision-Makers. And jot down some notes about what you would include in your phone script and email copy-- you’ll include these in your Rally to make it as easy as possible for supporters to take action!
Problems, Solution, Ask
You’ve now created your Theory of Change, identified who holds the power to create the change you want, built a critical path to achieve your campaign goal, and selected actions to leverage your community’s power.
Congratulations! You’ve designed a campaign, and Rally Starter will help turn that idea into change!
The last step in the process is understanding the most effective way to talk (and write) about your Rally. This can seem daunting, but it can actually be broken into a simple three-step formula:
Problem, Solution, and Ask. This formula will help communicate all the necessary components of your campaign to your supporters in the Rally Description, phone talking points, email, and social media.
The most effective way to connect with a potential supporter is by clearly conveying the problem that you are trying to fix. Describe the problem in ways that connect emotionally with the reader, using relevant facts and statistics to solidify your points.
Now that the problem has been clearly described, the proper solution needs to be laid out. This is where the Theory of Change comes in, it will help supporters understand how to get from the first milestone to the final campaign goal.
Now that supporters understand the problem and the solution, it's time to harness their voices by clearly asking them to take action. To ensure immediate steps are taken, the asks need to be urgent and specific.
Rally for Change!
You now know everything you need to create a Rally! Don’t forget to communicate often with your supporters via email. Motivate them often with updates about new actions, responses from Decision-Makers and Influencers, or the recruitment of powerful Allies! You want to make the Rally feel urgent and necessary!
Good luck Rallying for a better world. We believe in you!
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