manage your contacts

download this tactic card (pdf 796kb)

Greenpeace USA Kleercut poster

Plan your action

  • Building a database of contacts can be challenging. How will you know the relationship people want to have with you? Do they want one-off information about a specific action, or are they happy to receive regular news on more general or ongoing campaign issues?
  • The more accurate the data you have about your contacts, the more powerful the connections with them will be. Evaluate how to keep your database of contacts as current and as complete as possible.
  • Is gathering people's contact information using email more reliable than using a sign-up form on a website? Can posting a profile for your campaign on social network sites be a way to ask supporters to join you? It is important to plan carefully how you will collect contact information from people and that you tell people why you are collecting it and how you will use it.
  • Customise the information you provide to people as much as possible. Sending out a mass message to all your supporters may cause people to ignore all of your messages and end their relationship with you. You can ask your supporters what format (an email, a text message, a video), type (newsletter, specific types of campaigns, events), and frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) of communication they prefer.
  • In addition to sending information to your contacts, you can also connect people to one another to engage in live events or actions, or to form local or more specific actions or campaigns.

Do it yourselfAsk

  • What people do you most need to add to your contact database, and how will you reach them? Once recruited, how will you continue to engage them in your campaign?
  • How will you use the media to draw attention to your campaign and to bring more people into it?
  • How can you use people, already recruited to the campaign, to recruit others by forwarding your email alerts, sharing videos, posting images to their blogs and social network site profiles?
  • What is the process by which people can be removed from your database in an easy way?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that your group's data is secure and kept private? Will you host this data on your own server? How will it be backed up in case of seizure or loss?
  • What kinds of actions that you want people to take are most important to track – events organised, new contacts recruited, petitions signed, emails sent?

Different ways you can do this

  1. In addition to tracking your supporters, organise the contact information for those who have the power to make the change you want to see – even if these people are opposed to your campaign. You will then have this information on hand when you need to send (or get your supporters to send) these people targeted campaign emails and you can find ways to track their responses.
  2. Recruit people to sign up for mobile alerts from your campaign by conducting a poll on your issue that they can respond to with a text message.
  3. Create a support-base map, of where your supporters are most concentrated, based on information they provided you with consent.
  4. Help supporters to organise their own campaign events by offering to connect them with other people in your campaign near to them. By using contact management tools, you can do this without revealing people’s contact information to others.
  5. At a live event related to your campaign, ask people to sign up to receive targeted text message or email alerts that provide live reports or relay information you have already prepared.