Write Your Own Action Alerts
What’s an Action Alert?
Action alerts are messages that spur your advocates and the general public to get involved with your campaign. Whether by e-mail, a letter, phone call, or even on Facebook and Twitter, action alerts can be used to accomplish a variety of goals. In the case of promoting awareness of and engagement around SNAP incentive programs, action alerts can be used to educate residents in your community about your specific local need and to strengthen advocates’ engagement with your campaign.
We’ve included an example of an “Issue Introduction” alert to guide you through the process of writing your own. Before we get started, here are a few general tips to keep in mind:
- Know your audience! This will help you determine the appropriate frame, tone, activation, mode of communication, and messenger for your alert.
- Subject lines can often determine whether someone even opens your message, so make sure to keep them brief, include a sense of urgency, and provide a preview of your message to spark the reader’s curiosity. There are free resources online that will help test how likely your subject line is to be seen as spam as well as other key metrics. www.subjectline.com is one option but do an online search to find the one that is right for you.
- Include the name of the person you’re contacting. Depending on how you are sending your message, this may need to be done manually, or through a merge field from your online contact database. If a name is not available through your database, a generated term should be inserted like “friend/supporter.”
- Include a brief background or update on your campaign to reinforce your goals and help your advocates understand your cause. Creating a base level sense of understanding will connect your audience to your campaign and encourage them to take a specific action, like signing a petition or reaching out to decision makers.
- Clear action links should be included in your message. Using bolded text and call-out boxes can help draw readers’ attention to the goal.
- Include the state, town, or county in the subject line and/or body of the message to make the message more relevant for your audience.
- Consider the story arc and narrative flow of your message to clearly identify the issue, how your campaign is working to resolve it, and how the reader can get involved. Strategically include compelling statistics, links to resources, and clear calls-to-action to help tell a story.
Problem, Solution, Urgency! Write your action alert in a way that first highlights the problem, then offers a solution, and tells the reader why they should take action immediately.
Now, let’s walk through an example!
“Issue Introduction” Action Alert
E-mail Subject Line
Ex. Stand Up for A Stronger [STATE or COUNTY]
Include a link to your informational resources, organization website, blog, or sign-up sheet. If someone is interested in your cause, give them the opportunity to get involved right away.
Many people are unfamiliar with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentives, but these financial incentives can help farmers, business owners and families across the nation. SNAP incentive programs encourage participants to purchase more fruits and vegetables, which in turn benefits local businesses and reduces food insecurity by providing a safety net for low-income families and individuals. The main beneficiaries of SNAP are children, elderly and people with disabilities. Our mission at [ORGANIZATION NAME] is to raise awareness of the benefits of SNAP incentives – by adding these financial incentives, we can strengthen the both economy and the health of our communities.
To learn how SNAP incentives could change the lives of thousands of business owners, farmers, families and individuals in our area, check out our website: [INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES LINK]
This is a good place to mention your state or local community, so your advocates feel connected to the issue.
Unfortunately, [STATE or COUNTY] does not currently fund SNAP incentives. This is a big issue, as there are many families in our communities who are struggling to feed children the proper nutrition. Not to mention the elderly and those with disabilities who currently have difficulty accessing and affording healthy food.
But we have the power to make a change. By working together to [IMPLEMENT or INCREASE FUNDING FOR] SNAP incentives in our community, we can boost local economies and ensure that those in [STATE or COUNTY] who are most in need obtain access to healthier foods.
Include a hyperlink here to give people another opportunity to get involved.
Join our cause and help advocate for SNAP incentives funding today.
If you’re the leader of your campaign, include your name here. If someone else is the main point of contact, and you’re writing this action alert on behalf of a larger group, make sure to include that person’s name and/or the name of your organization. If you are using someone else’s name, be sure to have them review the text and provide you with their approval before the message is sent.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]