26 Jan 2023
When starting your campaign locally, we recommend you set up a petition ready for people to sign – see our guide on setting up a petition. Having a petition available enables you to make the most of every interaction.
Using conversations to gather petition signatures and build essential support for your campaign will be a key part in demonstrating local interest when engaging decision makers. It also adds to our numbers nationally and our collective strength when calling on governments.
Creative campaign actions
In addition to the petition, you might choose to add some creativity, such as having a homemade letterbox on your stall for people to sign letters to the local MP and “post them”. Having a laptop to hand and asking people to also capture any campaign actions they take digitally will make it easier for you to keep a record of numbers.
Props can be a useful way to draw attention to you or your stall, so here are a few examples of props you could use for some inspiration.
Having a model home on display can be a good way to demonstrate heat escaping from our homes and the need for insulation.
Elmbridge Friends of the Earth used this conversation starter on a stall at a sustainability event. “We used a doll's house as a prop for the United for Warm Homes campaign, and it proved really popular as a talking point about insulation as well as being great fun for the kids”.
You could also use a Lego house or similar as another interesting and engaging prop.
Insulation is the solution – but what does it look like? By having materials on your stall table, you can give people a real, tangible sense of what insulation is and how it works.
Paper wind turbines
Another eye-catching feature on a stall – this is a very recognisable prop to help start the conversation about how we can fix our broken energy system.
Hats, scarves and blankets
You could simply display some or use them in an interactive activity. Keep reading for some activity ideas.
Hats, scarves and blankets are an easy thing to bring from home and can make a great impression on a stall, making it more noticeable without too much work.
North Staffs Friends of the Earth took part in a day of action with the Warm This Winter coalition. As part of this, group members asked people to take an #orangescarfselfie to raise awareness of the campaign.
People are more likely to stop and stay engaged if there’s something for them to do, especially if it’s something that’s exciting or fun.
Create a quiz
This could be question cards with true or false answers – people can flip the card over to find out if they’re right. You could have the quiz on a laptop (which presents a great opportunity to get people to sign your campaign petition at the same time), or they could write their answers on a handout along with their email address for you to send them the answers later.
When writing the questions, think about impactful stats – for example, how much energy people could save using insulation, and the number of homes that rely on dirty gas to heat them. Look at our website for the latest facts. And bring the quiz closer to home by using our interactive heat map to get relevant local facts.
Ask for contributions to a collective creation
Ask passers-by to add messages explaining why they care about the energy crisis and why we need our MPs to urge governments to take action. This could be:
- A quilt of messages from the community – have fabric pens and blank squares on the quilt for people to participate.
- Templates of speech bubbles or postcards to write on.
- Voice notes – messages that can be played back and used as a powerful tool to tell stories about how people are being impacted locally.
These are all opportunities to gather stories and quotes that can also be used and shared with decision makers later on. Collective creations can be a useful tool to gather different perspectives and build powerful anecdotal evidence from your community.
Having a craft for people to do not only starts conversations and creates ways to engage decision makers later on, but it can also pique interest, get children’s attention and be more accessible to people who don’t usually sign petitions or see themselves as activists.
Don’t forget you can order resources and have things ready to hand out for people to refer to. Our resources include:
Sharing advice on energy bills
When engaging people in our communities, we need to be aware of the real-life impacts the cost-of-living and energy crises are currently having. Our campaign is calling on the government to make long-term fixes to our failed energy system, but also to provide urgent financial support for those struggling with their energy bills.
People you speak with at your stalls and events might ask you for advice on dealing with their energy bills and saving energy at home. You can find information on accessing energy bill advice and emergency support on our website. This information is also available as a printable flyer, with space for you to add information about local support services too. This might be something you want to have available as a handout on a stall.
You may also want to provide some energy-saving tips, but it's important to remember that there's only so much individuals can do. Many people experiencing fuel poverty are facing difficult financial pressures and may not have the time or resource to make changes to their homes. That’s why our campaign message should always emphasise that the government needs to do more to address both the urgent need and the long-term solutions to the energy crisis. Discussing energy-saving tips with people who ask for them can be a great way to engage them, but make sure to ask them to call for government action too.
This campaign involves building partnerships with groups on the frontline of the cost-of-living and energy crises, like food banks and community centres. If you’ve built a relationship with partner organisations who provide direct support, you may want to speak with them about what’s helpful to promote. Don’t forget to look at our guide on standing with communities to explore ways you may be able to support other local groups.
By using some of these engaging and interesting conversation starters on stalls and when speaking to members of our communities, we’re more able to attract public support, gather signatures for our petition and ultimately build a powerful movement for change.