Guide for Organizing a "Will Work for Clean Energy" Event
[Click here for a large-text version of this guide]
On October 2, we will organize symbolic unemployment lines to urge undecided senators to support President Obama's clean energy jobs plan, which would create 1.7 million jobs.
All across the country, people are really hurting. The national unemployment rate hit 9.7% in July, the highest rate since 1983. The August unemployment rate will be announced at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time on October 2, the date of our events, and it may go over 10%.
The "Will Work for Clean Energy" events will push undecided senators to address to rising joblessness by supporting a strong clean energy jobs bill.
This guide give you everything you need to organize your own event. If you have questions, email email@example.com.
1. What does the ideal "Will Work for Clean Energy" event look like?
Symbolic unemployment lines can have anywhere from 5-25 people. Participants in the events will hold signs (examples below). You can make it even better by wearing Great Depression-style hats or clothes (you don't have to but it will provide a great image for TV cameras).
2. Before Your "Will Work for Clean Energy" Event
- Find the Nearest Target Senator's Office: A state-by-state list of undecided senators and their local offices is here: http://www.moveon.org/pac/workforenergy/targets.html.
- Pick a start-time: In most places, the best time to organize the event will be noon, when people can come by on their lunch breaks. Every event must start after 10:00 a.m. local time, and to make it easier for media to attend, no events should be held later than 3:00 p.m. local time.
- Register your event online: Please make sure your event is registered in MoveOn's online system before the deadline of Tuesday at noon. When you're ready, click here to register your event: http://pol.moveon.org/event/workforenergy/.
- Print the media materials you'll need (samples below):
- Make or print signs for people who don't bring their own. Bring at least ten of each, more if you expect your event to be especially large. You can make signs by hand, but here are some professionally designed signs that you can use as well:
- "Fight Unemployment" signs:
Print your clean energy jobs petitions to deliver after your event: At the end of your event, you will go into the senator's office to deliver the petition from MoveOn members supporting clean energy jobs. In some states, the petition is quite long, but it is worthwhile to print the whole thing if you can. Click here to download you state's petition:
Optional: Collect Depression-style hats and coats:
You are welcome to wear normal clothes, but wearing Depression-style clothing can be a great way to make the event compelling for TV cameras. Everyone will be invited to bring their own, but if you can collect some extras, that will help. First, ask friends and family. Any older, worn fall or winter coat should work, but you may need to hunt around a bit to find those distinctive Depression-style hats. Common styles were newsboy hats, wool ivy caps, and fedoras. If you decide to buy hats, try a thrift store.
Listen to the recording if you missed Tuesday night's national host call. On the call, we walked through crucial tips to organize a powerful event, and took questions. To listen to the call recording, dial 212-812-2800, press #1 on your phone, and enter recording code 68493 10374.
Tell the media about your event: Starting two days before your event, send your news release to all the TV stations, newspapers, and major news radio stations in the area so that they know it's happening. Then, call them to follow up, using our reporter call script. If you don't have a list of local press outlets, you can build a list from the Internet. Here's a good site to use to get started: http://www.mondotimes.com/world/usa.html. For optional, more advanced media tips, check out our news conference how-to page here: http://www.moveon.org/pac/workforenergy/newsconference.html.
Practice your media talking points: If there are TV cameras, you'll need to speak without reading from your notes. So it's important to practice. Ask a friend to practice with you, asking questions like "what's your message today," and "why are you here in front of Senator XX's office?" It might be helpful to know your state's current unemployment rate. The state-by-state rates for the month of August (the most recent available) are here: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm.
- "Will Work for Clean Energy" signs:
3. During your "Will Work for Clean Energy" event
Be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before the event starts. Hold up a sign so that people who can find you. As people arrive, arrange them in a line in front of the office of the senator. Hand out signs and hats and coats, if you have them. Remind people to stand with sober expressions, as they would in a real unemployment line.
Once a few people arrive, ask someone to take over handing out signs so that you can speak with any media who arrive. If anyone arrives who works in a clean energy industry or is personally unemployed, make a note of that, because reporters may want to interview them. You'll recognize reporters because usually they are carrying notebooks. TV stations will have big cameras. Introduce yourself to all reporters, tell them your very brief main talking points, and ask if they have any questions. Be sure to find out what media outlet they are from.
If any police arrive (not likely, but possible), be very polite and explain what we're there for. If they want you to move, you should do so.
Stand in your symbolic unemployment line for at least 25-30 minutes. After that, pull people together and, as a group, go into the senator's office. Following your media talking points, tell them about your event, give them your petition (if your state has one) and ask if they will commit to supporting President Obama's clean energy jobs plan.
Finally, thank everyone for their help, and tell them what a great job they did.
4. After your "Will Work for Clean Energy" events
Fill out the survey we sent you. Send any press clippings or photos from the event to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Celebrate your success!