Chapter 6. Structuring the Action

Barack Obama was in the midst of the struggle over the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). His team wanted to mobilize supporters to call into radio programs in support of the legislation. In the last election cycle and beyond, they had built an impressive set of online tools to onboard potential supporters and get them involved in the campaign—from calling potential voters to making campaign contributions themselves.

But calling into a radio show? That was a particularly nasty challenge, and something that most American’s aren’t familiar with doing, especially about a piece of new, complex legislation.[84]

How did the campaign do it? Figure 6-1 gives a screenshot from the campaign’s online mobilization platform, circa February 2010. They intelligently structured the action into something volunteers could reasonably do. They broke the action down into three manageable chunks. They automated parts of the process, such as figuring out what number to call. They simplified and provided “defaults” for other parts of the process, with a script of discussion points to mention during the call. They gave clear instructions. They provided positive encouragement.

Image from as of February 2010; snapshot taken by

Figure 6-1. Image from as of February 2010; snapshot taken by

That’s what this chapter is about—structuring an action so people can actually do it. We’ll ...

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