These ten steps are meant to guide GAIA members in preparing useful action alerts. Remember, action alerts which are clear, brief, and request simple actions will get the biggest responses. Once you’ve drafted an action alert, email it to gaia@no-burn.org and the GAIA Secretariat will work with you to get the it on the GAIA website and distributed on email lists.

1. Be concise (1-2 page maximum)

2. Identify your issue including:

a. Background history (~one paragraph)
b. Present situation (~one paragraph)
c. Demands. What do you want? Ex. An incinerator stopped? A policy changed?
d. Targets of Action with postal address, email address and fax number (two maximum)

3. Include a date. Always include the time frame in which the action alert is valid. If your recommended action has an essential time-line (e.g., write your senator by June 27, 2010), then state that clearly.

4. Provide action steps. The easier an action, the more people will do it. Include a “What You Can Do” section in the alert. Keep these steps clear and concise. Include up to four key points that readers should stress in their letters, emails, etc.

5. Make it easy to understand. It is important to start with a clear headline that summarizes the issue and the recommended action. Use simple language. Check spelling. Use short paragraphs and sentences. Choose words that will be understood worldwide, not just in your country or culture.

6. Be compelling! If you want to inspire someone to do something, be inspirational. Speak from the heart about why this issue is important, what could be lost, and what can be saved, with GAIA members’ help.

7. Include your organization’s information. This helps establish authenticity of your alert, making it more credible to the activist community, and allows readers to know where to go for more information or clarification.

8. Provide readers with further reading. Remember your action alert can compel people to want to learn more about your issue. Aid them in finding additional background information by providing a short bibliography of good references for them to pursue. Provide websites that can assist in a greater understanding of the issue.

9. Request Copies of Letter Sent. The alert should indicate that a copy of the letter, email, etc. should be sent to the GAIA Secretariat (info@no-burn.org). This enables you to do several things:

a. Count the number of responses. This is important! Compile a list of good responses you can use in further campaigning
b. Read people’s arguments you might not have thought of
c. Find out who is interested in this topic, so that you can follow up with them later with thank you notes, updates, further actions, etc.

10. Follow these rules for posting on an email list.

a. Include a phrase like “post where appropriate” so that people are not encouraged to send the alert to mailing lists on unrelated topics.
b. If your information is sensitive and you do not want the alert forwarded to other lists, make sure that you say so. Be aware of security risks whenever you are transmitting information and never assume that email is private.