Some Ideas for Organizing a PHENOM Call-In Day
Organize a Planning Meeting
Hold a planning meeting of interested people—students, staff, and faculty. A preliminary meeting can be a place to figure out logistics – especially if a space needs to be reserved or funds need to be raised for food — and spread tasks and responsibility among a number of people.
Get the word out ahead of time
Getting some visibility and informing people about the event ahead of time will help boost attendance significantly. Some ideas include:
- Articles in Student newspaper
- Ask the SGA to publicize/co-sponsor
- Reach out to campus organizations
· Ask Unions to notify their members
· Facebook events
- Email lists (active list servs on campus)
- Fliers and posters around campus
- Ask faculty union to ask members to announce in class, or, better, have trained students come to classes to announce the call-in day.
When and where
- Location: A good location to hold the event. This should be a busy place lots of people pass by, where there is good cell phone reception, and it is not too loud to make phone calls
- Incentive: If at all possible, provide food, and advertise this. E.g. Cookies for callers.
- Visuals: Good visuals that will both draw people to your event, and be good for media. Tip: having a gimmick helps. Some examples: “Call for Change” and a giant phone for a prop; “ET phone your legislator” with a prop of ET, etc.
- Grab People: Have a couple of people nearby to pull people in (“make a phone call, get some pizza”) at the last minute. This may be how you get most of your callers.
Making the Calls
Most people will not know who their state legislators are and may never have done this before. Ideally, you will want to set up a few “stations:
- Sign in
- One or more computers where people can go to www.wheredoivotema.com and find their Representative and Senator by entering their home address.
- Lists of legislators with their phone numbers
- A place where people can make the calls
- A place where people get their “reward” (food) and have a chat about what else they can do
You will need volunteers to help people find their legislators’ phone numbers, draw in new people, answer questions, and take pictures.
Have everyone sign in with contact information so you can keep them informed as to what happens, other events you or PHENOM plan, etc. Keeping track of the number of people who call is important information. It comes in handy for Press Releases, and for measuring your successes.
We get more bang for the buck when the media reports on the call-in day.
o Before the event compile a list of local papers and contacts to send the press release to.
o PHENOM will provide a sample press advisory and talking points for you to adapt.
o After the call-in day, send out the press release with pictures, the message and the specific number of calls made, and make a second round of calls to media outlets.
DRAFT PHONE SCRIPT (Spring 2011)
Hello, my name is ____________. I live in _________________ and am a student at _______________.
I am calling to ask for your support for students and for our public colleges. State support per student dropped by 25% between 2001 and 2009, and enrollments have skyrocketed since then.
I am supporting PHENOM’s legislative agenda and ask you to help our campuses by supporting these bills.
First, please support the Board of Higher Education’s budget request which adds 5% to last year’s funding and pays for the union contracts. Without this, our fees will again go way up leading more students to drop out or take much longer to graduate.
I know there is a budget deficit but it can be solved through tax reform. I ask you to support An Act to Invest in Our Communities (House Bill 2553 and Senate Bill 1416), which would raise $1.2 billion by restoring the income tax rate to 5.95%, greatly increasing personal exemptions, and increasing the capital gains tax rate to 8.95%.
And finally, please support an increase in the need-based financial aid budget. More and more financial aid comes out of campus operating budgets which means less money for hiring full-time faculty and providing support services for students. An innovative new aid program for public colleges is in the Finish Line Grant Opportunity (House Bill 350).
Thank you very much. Many studies show that investment in higher education is one of the best things states can do to stimulate the economy.