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Organizing a Journey for Justice Event: Writing a News Release

Organizing Journey Events
Journey Event Introduction
Organizing a Public Event
Find a Journey Leader

Register as a Journey XActivist
Types of Meetings
XSpeaker's Forum
XDiscussion Group
XPrivate Meeting
XMedia Appearance

Technical Assistance
Choosing a Meeting Location
Order Supplies

Publicity - You Want It!
XGetting an Audience
XYou and the Media
XNewspaper Listing
XRadio/TV Bulletin (PSA)
XNews Releases & Samples
XDesigning Flyers/Posters
XUsing Mail and Phone
XUsing the Internet!
XPublicizing a Journey Event XXon our Website

Sign-up Sheets/Petitions
Phone Tree
Volunteer Questionnaire

Grassroots Organizing
Getting Started
Starting a Local Group
Expanding Your Network
The First Meeting
Forming a Family Group

Making a Display

Vigil, Rally, Demonstrate
Presenting a Video Series

Reading Room
Intro & Contents
Media Resources
10 Tips to End the Drug War
Becoming an Activist

Communication Skills
Closing Your Letters/Memos
Tax Credits for Volunteers
Working with Legislators
Honest Hope and
XThe Hundredth Monkey
Overcoming Masculine

Adapted from; used with permission
Bottoms Up Version 1.0
©2001, 2003


Expanding Your Network

If you were successful finding at least one person in your circle of friends, family and associates who agrees with you and commits to activist work, you are now ready to reach out to others. It's time to think about planning some face to face meetings with others in your community.

You will be meeting other activists, or potential volunteers, and sharing what you have been doing--writing letters, leading a vigil, distributing literature to attorneys' offices, all activities that will make your outreach to others more successful. Why? Many beginning groups full of initial zeal soon collapse from lots of talk and no implementation of ideas. Your reports of activities accomplished, no matter how large or small, will make a good impression on the people you are about to meet. You are a "doer."

If you haven't found anyone to work with, but you have been studying and participating in particular basics of activism, you can go this next step alone in order to find volunteers to unite with locally.

Check your region for prison activists and other drug law reformers. If you are registered as a Journey for Justice Organizer, our office staff can assist you in making contact with other November Coalition members in your area. Email: volunteers@november.org; in subject line write: Network. In the body of the email give your region. A list of zip codes in your community can help us locate members in your close but surrounding area. Most phone books have a list of zip codes you can reference.

From your list of expanded contacts ask someone to introduce you if possible, and then send a letter or email, or call and make an appointment to meet somewhere. Tell them how you heard of their work or organizational affiliation, and if someone referred you, be sure to mention his or her name.

November Coalition can provide literature so that you can make an introductory packet for initial meetings, if at first you have little or no knowledge about the Coalition.

Organize your thoughts before you meet so that your time is used wisely. When you meet, share a little 'small talk' first and get to know each other right away.

Explain your reason for contacting them, whether you are asking for information (such as names of other people to contact), offering to help them, or proposing to collaborate on a particular event or project.

Agree on the next steps, if any, before the meeting is over.

Always conclude by thanking the people present for their time, interest and support.

Get a business card; you can download artwork and Coalition logos from our website.

Be open to meeting with others who request it. If you haven't yet held a meeting of supporters you have met, it is time to do so. Remember that meetings can be casually informal, or properly conducted formal affairs, and there is a lot of ground in between. If your group only comes together for meetings infrequently, you can keep them enthused and growing by trying out some of the following suggestions:

Keep in touch with individuals in your network occasionally to "check in."

Though it seems obvious, be interested in people in every way, not just as your recruits; ask them how things are going in their life. Where there is a major achievement, be sure to congratulate those responsible. Where there is disappointment, offer support. We work with people with special needs when a loved one is imprisoned. Try to pair up volunteers who need such extra support. Spread yourselves around. Part of our activism often means lending an ear to a troubled friend.

Remember to give consideration to financial pressures of single parents and time constraints of all volunteers. Make no one feel guilty for not being very active; simply encourage them to work within reasonable expectations.

Next Chapter: The First Meeting