The image to the right represents how a shared purpose can be powerful. An action alert is a great way to motivate your supporters with a shared purpose into taking action and creating change in ways that might otherwise be impossible. Sometimes all that it takes to get the movement started is an email. The purpose of an action alert is to mobilize a large amount of people in a short amount of time in order to accomplish a goal. In other words, the purpose of an action alert is for your supporters to become the big fish!

A great example of change made with the help of action alerts is the work a couple of Databank clients did on the MN Prosperity Act, also known as the DREAM Act. In 2012, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM) and the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP) worked to pass the DREAM Act that would help undocumented immigrant youth brought into the country as minors further their education. The ILCM and MMEP used Action Alerts to organize their supporters to contact elected officials about policy issues and to ultimately help pass the bill.

The Checklist

But how do you create an action alert that will motivate your supporters enough to make a change? Follow this checklist to make sure that your action alert has all of the necessary components to transform your shared purpose fish from a sardine into a shark.

__ Summarize the reason your supporters need to take action. Make sure you incorporate who, what, when, where and why. You need to give the recipient a compelling reason to read on and take action.

__ Describe the action you want your supporters to take. Give them details and step by step directions. The more barriers to taking action you break down, the more likely they are to follow through.

__ Create a sense of urgency and explain why it is important that your supporters take action NOW. Use descriptive, emotional language to describe how important the issue is.

__ Provide resources for your supporters. They need to feel confident enough with their knowledge of the issue to get involved. Providing fact sheets and talking points is appropriate. Having a uniform message helps to create the most amount of change.

__ Give your supporters easy ways to help. Supply accurate information and triple check to make sure your information about the issue is accurate and all phone numbers/emails work before putting this information in your action alert.

__ Emphasize exactly what their action will cause to happen. Have a tangible goal and describe it. Action alerts are meant to be motivational, not guilt-laden or negative.

Want a hard copy of this document? Download the printable checklist.