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Love Your Body: How to Plan an Action
General Tips for Planning an Action
Develop a timeline and stick to it.
Involve othersdelegate responsibility.
Imagine all the things that could go wrong and plan contingencies in advance.
Develop media strategies from the beginning.
Every action must have a focus. Brainstorm with friends, faculty, coworkers, local activists and other concerned community members to discuss advertising and body image issues that you want to focus on for your event, or the store, mall, advertiser you want to picket.
Devise innovative ideas that will raise public awareness and instigate change.
Convene a planning committee and make assignments for organizing tasks.
A large event will take 4-6 weeks of planning. Scale down your event if you have less planning time.
Choosing the Site for Your Event
Find a central location for a rally or event.
Make sure to plan for accessibility for the differently-abled.
Determine realistic attendance expectations (low - high).
For an indoor rally or event: Check for electrical outlet availability, sound and lighting system, how many chairs (theater-style) it will hold?
For an outdoor rally or event: Is a permit needed? Apply for a permit on campus or through city or state offices as soon as possible. Include a detailed description and/or map with your request, as well as power/sound requirements. Follow up with permit officials to make sure that the permit has been secured and the electricity will be on. Have all documentation with you the day of the event.
Plan for the Equipment You'll Need
Reserve an adequate sound system, stage, podium, chairs, and tables for literature and petitions. If you are inviting vendors or businesses, you will need to ask about their set-up requirements.
Equipment should be delivered two hours before the event. Make sure that the technician will set up (and run) any audio/video equipment.
If you're planning a picket or a march, don't forget the bullhorn(s).
Visibility, Publicity, and Outreach
Spread the word and build the crowd. There are three major targets for your pre-event publicity:
- members/supporters/coalition groups
As soon as you have settled on a date, time, and location, prepare eye-catching flyers and posters with information in bold letters. Distribute these at least three weeks in advance to the campus, the community and to organizations. And don't forget email and word of mouth. Invite as many groups/individuals as possible to attend. It will build a crowd and open the lines of communication for future collaborative efforts.
If you don't know your local press, watch, listen to, and read the news. Compile a list of news contacts who will be interested in your action. Send press releases, announcements, statements, and background information to local papers. Personal contacts are best, so make the effort to call reporters and to speak to them at the event. Call only when you have something to saydon't waste a reporter's time or give inaccurate information.
Send a news advisory: Make sure to include the event's purpose, date, location, and time:
-Keep it brief and informative
Send a more descriptive news release with updates (list of speakers, etc) a few days before the event. Follow up with a phone call to make sure someone is assigned to cover the action.
Newspapers and radio calendar sections offer free announcements for upcoming events. As soon as you have a firm date, get on those calendars.
The morning of the event, make quick reminder calls, especially to TV and radio.
Have a news release, with quotes from your key spokesperson, available for reporters at the site of your action.
Send local newspapers and public radio stations a public service announcement (PSA) well in advance of your event. Call calendar editors for deadlines.
We live in a visual world. Create a colorful backdrop for your speakers. Picket signs should be colorful with a clear message on both sides. Carry your signs in your handsa sign attached to a pole or wooden stake could be considered a weapon.
Look at your stage from the crowd area as if you were looking through a camera lens. What will the press see?
Keep It Safe: Planning Event Security
Plan to have security facilitators at the event. They should keep the crowd close to the stage, if there is one, and encourage people in the crowd to clap, cheer, and chant!
At a picket, you'll need facilitators to keep the circle moving (don't stand stillwalk and chant) and to direct the chants with the bullhorn. Even a small group needs at least two facilitators.
If the event is taking place on a campus, make sure that security will be assigned to the event. If possible, meet with security and find out how they usually handle events on campus. Let them know if there is a high profile speaker attending so they can make arrangements if needed.
Don't Forget to Clean Up!
Always leave your event area the way you found it. Ask people to pick up their trash (point to trash cans from the stage) and thank them for attending.
Remember to have fun!
©2000 - 2011 National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign