How to Support Activists So They Stay Involved

Amy from Action Circles interviewed three union members in May after they had watched the debate on an amendment in the Vermont Statehouse that would have limited the collective bargaining rights of K-12 teachers by establishing a statewide health care plan for the teachers and taking away their rights to bargain at the local level for their healthcare benefits. Emma, Autumn, and Elizabeth are members of UE Local 255 at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier.

These three women are seasoned activists who have bargained their own contracts and have helped others to organize into unions and negotiate for their rights. Even so, when they got to the Statehouse, they had to do a fair bit of work to figure out what was going on and whether they should do anything specific to be helpful.

The Action Circles Model in Action

Action Circles Model suggests using the Invite-Support-Feedback loop to avoid similar confusion among your supporters and activists. The Invite-Support-Feedback loop will help you remember to communicate with your supporters and activists in a way that helps them be successful and effective and helps you get more people engaged in your campaign.

The Invite-Support-Feedback Loop is a formula for communicating with your supporters and activists in a way that helps them be successful and effective and helps you get more people engaged in your campaign.

When you use the Invite-Support-Feedback Loop for every communication, your supporters and activists know what is going on and can make informed decisions about how they can best contribute and be most helpful to your campaign. The components of the Loop are as follows.

Invitation to participate:

  • Basic information about what is happening that a layperson can easily understand.
  • Clear reason why/how the action you are asking for will be helpful at this time.
  • Clear reason why “my” action is necessary – why do you need each particular person to take action?

Support for taking action:

  • All information needed for how to take the action ‘ for example, if you are asking them to call a policy maker, include the name and phone number of the person.
  • How to get more info or help if needed ‘ a website landing page is great when longer instructions or a fact sheet would be helpful, and you should also include the name and phone number of an actual person who can help if they get stuck.

Feedback about the last action:

  • “What happened because of the last thing we asked you to do?”
  • “Why are we asking for this action now? How does it follow from the last action?”

Before you hit send, ask these questions:

  • Why might the reader be motivated to take action?
  • What might confuse the reader? Are there any barriers?
  • What sort of support is offered? Is any other support needed?
  • “What if I were reading this and didn’t know anything? Could I participate?”

Taking a few minutes to ask these questions before sending an alert will not only help your supporters to get involved, it will help you because more people will be able to take the action you are calling for. If you ask these questions and work to use the Invite-Support-Feedback Loop on a regular basis, your supporters and activists will open more of your emails because they will want to see what is happening and will want to be engaged in your campaign.

Take a moment now to look at the last three email alerts you sent out or received, and ask the questions above. How closely do they follow the Invite-Support-Feedback Loop? How could the Invite-Support-Feedback Loop make these alerts more effective? Let us know how it goes, and click below if you’d like to schedule a free consultation with the Action Circles team to increase your activist engagement.