We know our politicians are motivated to act when they see strong community support demonstrated locally. That's why reaching out to people in your community and growing the Solar Citizens movement is so important.
This guide is full of ideas, tips and resources to help you reach out to others. So let’s get our sun-powered future happening!
Community Outreach: What's Involved
The following sections will help you spread the word and reach out to people in your community:
And remember, we're here to help! If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hand these out and get people excited about protecting and growing solar:
Use these to sign people up and grow this people-powered movement for solar: A4 2-sided PDF
Put these up to spread the solar love:
Stickers and T-shirts
You know what to do with them. Check them out on our Merchandise page.
Web buttons and banners
Put these on your website to invite people to support Solar Citizens:
Tips for signing up people in your community
Every person you sign up helps to grow our power and impact. Here are some tips for how to go about it.
Where to go?
We recommend going where solar supporters are likely to gather. Here are some ideas:
- Ask your friends, family and work colleagues.
- Talk with your neighbours who have solar
- Hold a stall at a market, rally or community event (or simply go along with a clipboard and talk with people)
What to say?
We find something like this works well…
"Hello, I’m a volunteer with Solar Citizens, a national community organisation protecting the rights of solar owners and campaigning for sensible clean energy policy. Do you support solar? Do you have solar? The big power companies have been pushing our government to make decisions that have set solar back more than a decade. We have a plan for a sun-powered future and we want to show our politicians that solar is supported by people all around Australia. Are you willing to add your name to help protect and grow solar in Australia?"
Remember that the overwhelming majority of Australians support solar and one in five Aussie homes have solar on the roof, so most people will be interested in what you have to say and be happy to support the campaign. Volunteers tell us all the time about the enthusiastic support they receive when they head out and start talking to people.
Make sure that you:
- speak slowly and clearly,
- make eye contact,
- and smile!
Don’t take it personally when people don’t want to stop. Many people will be busy or in a hurry. Some people may simply just disagree with you - that’s okay too, they will be in the minority. If you do have a tough conversation with someone, take a short break afterwards to reward yourself for dealing with it well. When you jump back into it, your next positive conversation will give you the boost you need.
What to take?
Here's what you could take with you:
- signup sheets
- friends to share the adventure
If you like, you can also wear a Solar Citizens T-shirt and carry other materials such as a poster.
When collecting signups, the most important things to collect from people are their full name, their postcode, and their email address. These are important for electronic signups to prevent duplicates and so we can keep in touch with supporters with information that’s relevant to their local area.
Tips for running a stall
Street stalls at markets, rallies or community events can be very effective at spreading the word and collecting signups – especially if you get out there with a group of people. Here are some tips for running an effective stall.
Your ideal stall
- The primary purpose of a stall is to provide a home-base for a team of roving volunteers who are aiming to get lots signups.
- Aim to have an eye-catching stall decorated with posters and banners. If you can, try to put a banner/poster at eye height behind or over the stall.
- Leave space for you and your volunteers to stand at the side or front of the stall - if you stand behind a table, potential supporters are far less likely to talk to you.
Choosing a location
- A stall works best at a market, rally or event where there are lots of people who aren’t too busy to be approached.
- Choose a spot that is easy to access, and with plenty of room so that it doesn’t block thoroughfares.
- You will probably need permission to hold your stall if it is on council or privately owned land. Permission is usually easy to obtain but be sure to arrange this in advance.
- Is there any shade or protection from the weather? It can be very uncomfortable for people standing out in the hot sun for hours on end.
What to put on the stall
- Take a card table for your materials as well as some fold up chairs, hats, sunscreen and water.
- Populate the stall with material about Solar Citizens and the latest solar campaigns, such as flyers, posters, signup sheets and other information relevant to renewable energy. Remember, Solar Citizens is independent, so please don't put our material with that of a particular political part.
- Your team-mates will need clipboard each, with several signup sheets each, as well as a supply of pens or pencils.
Do it as a group
- 3-6 people is a good number of volunteers for a stall. Make sure everyone gets time-out for rests and toilet breaks.
- Smile! Be proactive and approachable. Your manner is very important to attracting people. Cheerful, confident and outgoing people get the most signups, every time.
- Start together – set up the stall, get oriented and spend a little time getting familiar with the campaign materials and messaging. You may want to practice a conversation or two to get everyone warmed up.
- Take photos so you can share them with the media or on social media. Don’t forget to share your photos with us so that we can add them to our Facebook album.
- Remember to thank your volunteers afterwards and do a debrief conversation with them to all discuss what worked well and what could be improved - then go celebrate with a cuppa or two!
What to do with your signups
Thank you so much! Hopefully your efforts have paid off and you now have many more signups from people keen to support solar.
Not only will this help to put pressure on your political representative, it can also have a ripple effect, with many of these new people you’ve signed up potentially getting active to spread the word further.
So, what should you do with these signups?
- Email the data to email@example.com - Let's be honest, we would love it if you would type up the data into a spreadsheet and email it to us, so that our staff can focus on doing solar campaigning and not data entry. But we also appreciate that you've already done a lot, and as a volunteer too. So you can either email us a spreadsheet with the typed up data, or email us a scan of the original signup sheets.
- Or enter each signup into the form below - This is a quick and easy way to get them to us if you only have a handful of signups.
Finally, you need to congratulate yourself, and know that you are helping bring about a sun-powered future for Australia.