Organizing Tips PDF Print E-mail

Legislative aides have consistently informed us that our grassroots lobbying actions play a large part in a Representative’s decision to cosponsor H.R. 2721 – Youth PROMISE Act. By placing thousands of calls across the country to our Senators, we will be heard and make an impact throughout Capitol Hill. Please join us by gathering tons of people to make calls to Congress in support of the Youth PROMISE Act.

Before you get started…

We recommend you do a messaging training with all the volunteers involved in your action before you begin. This way everyone feels comfortable messaging and answering questions about the Youth PROMISE Act. Please check out our messaging resources and background information to give to your volunteers.

Set-up

There are many ways to run a call-in action; the following are a few suggestions of ways to incorporate a call-in with your International Day of Peace activities:


Tabling is the most typical way that organizations participate in a call-in action. This involves setting up a table display somewhere where there is a lot of foot traffic (ie: your town square, student center, or campus cafeteria). Tabling provides a great way to spread the word about the Youth PROMISE Act and Student Peace Alliance because it gives you an opportunity to interact with people, educate them about the bill, and answer questions. You can table to raise awareness, sign people up for your list serve, raise money, do a call-in action, or everything combined!

Tabling is as simple as it sounds. Here are some tips that you need to be successful:

  • Get a Table.  Make sure you give yourselves plenty of time to secure a table, or multiple tables, for the week of September 21st.  Check with your school because you may have to rent one and ask permission to place it in a busy area of your campus or community.  There may be charges associated with this for which you can ask your school finance board for assistance.  If for some reason you can’t get a table from your school or find a place on campus where tables are already set up, consider borrowing a card table from someone in your chapter.  Chairs are also helpful, but keep in mind that people sitting at a table look much more bored than people standing up and engaging people!

  • Print Out Materials.  We have provided many materials for you to use when running the National Call-in Action.  It is a good idea to have materials on your table both about the Youth PROMISE Act and Student Peace Alliance.  You can find recommended materials for this action here.

  • Make a Banner. Having a banner that says "Student Peace Alliance: Youth PROMISE Act National Call-In" to hang on the front of the table is a great way to attract people and  make your purpose clear. Make sure that the table set-up is eye-catching both with your banner and the materials laying on the table.  Candy and other treats can also help get people’s attention.

  • Be Outgoing! Call friends and acquaintances over to the table or just announce into the crowd that you are calling Senators.  The best tabling experience will be one where you are confidant in your ability to raise awareness and connect with people, so be sure to practice messaging ahead of time!  Also, if you are having fun (or looking like you are having fun) at the table you will attract more people to come over and make phone calls.


Dorm Storming is a more interactive form of recruiting people for your call-in action. Split up your chapter members/volunteers and go around to the local dorms with information about the Youth PROMISE Act and call-in scripts. Clip-boards and/or folders are handy for volunteers to carry the information around as they knock on doors. You know your community the best, so think hard about the best time for going door-to-door! You want a time when many people will be home and not too busy (for instance, not dinner time or late at night when people are doing homework). When a volunteer knocks on the door, the conversation should go a bit like this:

SPA volunteer: Hi my name is Bob and I’d love to talk to you about a breakthrough piece of legislation that we are supporting.  Do you have a few minutes?

If the Resident says No then…

SPA volunteer: Thanks for your time, here is some information and we would love if you would take a look at it and make a call to your Senator later today in support of the Youth PROMISE Act!

If the Resident says Yes then…

SPA volunteer: Great! The Youth PROMSE Act as proposed in the House and Senate is a breakthrough piece of legislation that will implement and fund evidence- based practices related to juvenile justice and criminal gang activity. It will work to interrupt the cradle to prison pipeline that is far too common today, by supporting proven prevention and intervention strategies. The act will not just encourage, but require local leadership and oversight of these programs through community-based committees.

All credible research shows that prevention programs for at-risk youth work. They will greatly reduce crime and save much more than they cost. And most importantly, these programs save lives.

We are part of a National Call-in Action together with youth across the country.  The Youth PROMISE Act will soon pass in the House and we are now turning our attention to the Senate.  Would you be willing to call your home Senator or our local Senator for here in ___________? We have an easy script you can use and it will only take 30 seconds!

Resident: Sure, I’d be willing to make a few calls. (if they say no, use the same response for the initial “no”).

SPA volunteer: Great, here are the call-in scripts and a list of the DC office phone numbers for each U.S. Senator.

(after they make the call)

SPA volunteer: Thanks so much for your support!  How did you feel when making that call?  Did the office say anything interesting to you?  If you are interested in working on this piece of legislation more, consider coming to our next Student Peace Alliance meeting at  __time___ in  ___place____.

Generally it’s good for the volunteer to stay at the door while the individual makes the phone calls, a) to assist in any way if needed and b) to make sure they actually get done, for tracking purposes. Please take a tally of each call made so you can later report it here.


Announcement at an Event: If you are holding an event for International Day of Peace, whether it is a concert, a poetry slam or a movie screening, it provides the perfect opportunity to make an announcement about the Call-in Action. After the main part of your event (hopefully once people are excited about the Youth PROMISE Act), announce that Student Peace Alliance is holding a National Call-in effort with youth across the country. We hope you will take a minute and make a call to (y)our local Senator in support of S. 435.

Now you can either:

  1. Direct them to a table in the back with call-in information
  2. Pass around a sheet of paper with call-in numbers and scripts, and have each person call when the sheet of paper gets to them (ensuring continuous calls to the local office). This is probably the stronger option for getting people to make calls.