Local Progressive Action Guide

Thanks for hosting a Local Progressive Action!

Portland health care rally.

These events are strategic local gatherings that will help build the local progressive movement.

In this guide:

For a handy FAQ about getting recruitment for your event, click here.


Once you have reviewed the criteria below, post your Local Progressive Action here: http://pol.moveon.org/event/progressiveaction/

1. What are Local Progressive Actions?

Local Progressive Actions are are public-facing actions that directly advocate for reform by publicly targeting elected officials or generating media coverage.

The Local Progressive Action online recruitment tool is to help people running local campaigns recruit for specific kinds of events. Only events that fit the Local Progressive Action criteria will be eligible for email recruitment to MoveOn members in your area. Make sure your event is eligible for recruitment by reviewing the criteria below.

2. Local Progressive Action vs. Community Building

Before you get started, make sure your event is a Local Progressive Action and not a Progressive Community Building event.

Here's the difference:

Local Progressive Action: public, media, and direct advocacy.
Local Progressive actions are public-facing actions that directly advocate for reform by publicly targeting people who have power in relationship to your campaign (i.e. elected officials, candidate for public office, corporate CEOs, etc.) or generating media coverage. For example, a rally at your Representative's office spotlighting campaign contributions they've received from Big Oil or Wall Street firms would be a Local Progressive action.

Progressive Community Building event: connecting, educational, and an opportunity to get involved.
These actions aim to educate local MoveOn members about the problems in our community or at the state and national level. They are designed to provide opportunities for people to connect, get information, and get involved. For example, you could hold a movie party, planning meetings, or potluck.

Not sure? If you're not sure whether your plan fits the criteria of either, first look through the guides. It's important to note that these tools support online recruitment for particular kinds of actions that meet specific criteria. Only qualifying actions will get online recruitment.

3. Event Guides

These guides will help you plan your Local Progressive Action:

4. Criteria and Sample Events

A Local Progressive Action must meet the following criteria:

    • Direct advocacy: Influence specific decision-makers: our elected representatives (and in some cases candidates for public office).
    • Generate media: Highlight the problem/issue.

Here are a few examples of possible events. For more ideas on events and clarity on requirements, see the event guides.

  • Organize a rally in front of your member of congress' office calling on them to stop cuts to social secruity.
  • Organizing a vigil as part of your local gun violence prevention campaign and inviting the media.

Here are some examples of actions that are not eligible for online email recruitment:

  • Congressional district meetings (these events don't need or benefit from having a large crowd).
  • Events that are in a person's home or are primarily for small group meetings or discussion.
  • Actions that primarily involve attending community street fairs, festivals, or other types of events where new folks could be recruited to join a local campaign, but do not require online recruitment and are not appropriate for Local Progressive Action recruitment

Once you have reviewed the criteria below, post your Local Progressive Action event here: http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/create.html?action_id=276

Keep in mind that not every action organized locally needs online recruitment.

In order for your event to get online recruitment, the event should meet the following criteria:

  • Your event needs to be registered in the system at least 5 business days before the event and the recruitment email will go out 2-4 days before the event.
  • A MoveOn Support Corps member will reach out to you if there are any questions about your event or details that need to be added to the posting before a recruitment email can be sent. The sooner the event is in the system, the better!
  • Do not plan two rolling recruitment events, including Progressive Community Building events, within one week. That is, there must be more than five days separating two events.

Working with partner organizations: If the event is being planned in partnership with other organizations, MoveOn members can be recruited online if:

  • The general criteria for the action are met (action-oriented, with a clear message and goal).
  • The partners are aligned with MoveOn and our campaign goals and message.

5. Tips for Recruiting people to your event:

Hit the phones: The most tried-and-true way we know to get people out to events is to pick up the phone and call them.

Emails: You can also invite people via email from your host tools page. Here's how:

  • To send the invite email, log in to your host tools page. From there, you can easily send invitations using the "Invite Others" tool. (This will automatically add the details of your event and a link to RSVP.)
  • The personalized link to your host tools page is included in the confirmation email you receive when you post your event online.

6. Tips for getting media coverage:

  • Clear and Compelling: Tell your story in a way that excites and engages people. You want people to want to become a part of the story. Do this by talking about the problem, solution and action. The most compelling stories have a hero, a villain and a victim.

  • Concise: Reporters don't have a lot of time. The general public does not have a lot of time. Make sure your message is simple, jargon-free, and can be said in 15-30 seconds. There is a reason why commercials are only 30 seconds long. In 1968 the average sound bite was 41 seconds. Today it is 7 seconds.

  • Consistent: When advertisers sell their product, they know that people need to hear or see their message nine times before it sinks in. Saying something once is not enough.

  • Control The Message Frame: When talking about your campaign, you need to make sure that you are staying within the basic framework of your concise and compelling message. Make sure you respond to questions with what we want to talk about and not necessarily switch to their frame and answer the question. This is known as framing the debate or controlling the issue. When a voter goes in the voting booth, what do we want them to think about? A great example is the "death tax" vs the "inheritance tax" or "living wage" vs. "minimum wage."

Nuts and bolts of earning media coverage:

  • Build your media list

    • Use our online media guide
    • Use the internet
    • Check in with allies
    • Read the newspaper and keep an eye out for which reporters are most likely to write the story
    • Link to find all local media outlets: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media/
  • Send out the advisory 2-3 days before the event

    • Localize it for your city
    • Find good messengers to quote in the advisory
    • Most folks use email, but some still prefer fax. Just ask.
  • Contact reporters individually

    • Follow-up after you've sent the advisory. Make it clear why it's incredibly important that they cover your event. This call is the most important part of earning media coverage.

    • Call reporters on the day of the event. Give them a quick update (like how many people you're expecting) and then pitch them on coming again. Make sure they still have your advisory and re-send it if they don't.

  • Look for reporters at your event

    • Greet them and answer any questions they have.
    • If they have cameras, help them get the shots they're looking for

    • If you have any good volunteers with powerful stories, introduce them to reporters

  • Follow-up

    • If the media was present at your event, it's a great idea to follow up with them and send them any photos or other information from your event, and ask them when they plan to publish their story. It's also helpful to ask them if they need any other information to write a great story.

    • If the media wasn't present at your event, give them a call to let them know how it went, and send in or drop off photos and a summary of the outcome of the event.