In Tools for Radical Democracy, Minieri and Getsos have an excellent timeline for how to get the word out and mobilize people for an action. I’m not going to re-type the whole thing because, a) I want them to be able to sell their book, it’s a good one, and b) I’m too lazy.
But, here’s a quick summary of the key points in it:
- Four weeks out: Send a mail or email to everyone on your contact list who could potentially come to the action.
- Three to four weeks out: Call everyone on your list who would potentially come to the action and ask them to commit to coming.
- Two weeks out: Call everyone who said “yes” on the first round of calls and everyone you left a message for to confirm that they will come.
- One week out: Send a confirmation post card to everyone who said they are coming after the second round of phone calls.
- Two or three days out, up until the day of the action: Call everyone who said they are coming to remind them.
Here’s what I like about the system:
- It contacts people multiple times. It doesn’t expect that just one “touch” will be enough.
- It uses multiple methods to reach people (PR folks would say it’s “multichannel”). Some people barely read their email, some only scan their mail, others don’t answer their phone. You don’t have to worry about that with this method because it uses multiple channels.
- It tells people that their attendance is important. If you’ve made all this effort to get them there, it must be a big event!
- It involves volunteers. Phone banking is a volunteer-intensive effort and a great way to get people involved.
- It cuts through the email chatter.
- It reaches people who don’t do email (or don’t do it well).
If your audience is tech-savvy, I would add a few other things in here:
- Facebook events with reminders at 4 weeks, 2 weeks, and 3 days;
- Email reminders at 2 days out;
- Twitter posts regularly for all 4 weeks whenever there is another facet of the event to update about.