So you have listened to the needs of the community, determined what you are interested in doing that helps meet those needs, learned about the issues, and now it is time to act. Action is what defines your mission. People will not see or care about your research, your effort, your good intentions, or anything else; they will only see your actions. This means your actions need to be thought out and you must conduct yourself as a professional. A congressman or businessperson may meet with an agitator to act like they care about the issue, but experience has shown they will not do anything beyond the photo-op.

That does not mean there is not place for rallies, marches, protests, etc. To the contrary, those actions can be very effective if done properly. What it does mean is that you must carry out these actions in a way that does not take away from your credibility. If you have a march and there is a racist sign being carried by someone you can be sure that will be all over the news (even if there is only one sign out of hundreds) and that you personally, as the organizer, will lose all credibility moving forward.

Another thing to consider regarding the action step is the optics of numbers. Media will downplay the success of a rally that is supporting a number of our positions regardless of success. If you are going to have a rally you need to push to ensure there are a significant number of people that are going to attend. A rally in a state capital with five people allows the media to say no one cares about your issue.

If your action step is going to be more focused on petitioning, working with political officials, letter writing campaigns, phone campaigns, etc. then the approach is much different. With those campaigns professionalism and succinct messaging are key. For public actions (petitioning, door-to-door, etc.) messaging must also motivate individuals to action. Private actions, such as meeting with politicians, requires clear, succinct messaging about what you want accomplished and the positives and negatives for the official.

We could write a book on any of these approaches and will be adding additional information on the website over time but the key take-aways are:

  1. Be professional;
  2. Maintain credibility;
  3. Consider optics;
  4. Be succinct and clear in your messaging; and
  5. Be succinct and clear in your messaging; and