|RALLIES AND MARCHES |
The primary purpose of a rally is to gather as many people as possible to show how much support a particular issue has. Ideally, this will in turn generate publicity through the mass media, depending on the numbers, the issue, who is speaking, etc.
Rallies also educate, stimulate further action, raise money, energize supporters, serve notice on the opposition, and help build coalitions. Compared to many other types of actions, rallies involve little risk, have high visibility, and are often fun.
However, rallies involve a number of potential problems. They are particularly weather sensitive- bad weather can lower the turnout precipitously. Because numbers are important, a poor turnout can be disastrous politically (it may appear the cause has little support, thereby encouraging your opponents), financially (collections and sales at the rally are critical in overcoming the debt mounted in organizing), and emotionally (organizers and supporters who do show may be demoralized). Even a good turnout does not guarantee mass media coverage.
In addition, rallies are often long, usually have too many speakers and not enough music, the speakers frequently say nothing new, and the whole event is passive and evokes a party-image atmosphere to many onlookers.
Recognizing that there are different considerations for different rallies, some items in the checklist below will not be appropriate or feasible for some events.
|Preliminary Logistics |
Develop structure for overall coordination
Select date with minimal conflicts and a lot of symbolism
Set a time which will avoid darkness and allow people to arrive and return
Is it accessible? For the handicapped?
Sufficient parking? Shuttling necessary?
Any problems with sound?
Is it too big or too small?
What permits are necessary?
Are exits adequate for dispersal?
Brainstorm tasks that need to be done, and pit on timeline
Set up task forces for specific areas needing coordination (e.g., program, logistics, housing, finances, peacekeepers, media, outreach, sales)
Open and equip an office
Select a staff
Put in phones
Print up stationary
Find rooms for meetings and training
Leaflets, posters, buttons, stickers, ads, camera-ready materials for organizers
Articles in newsletters; mailings to sympathetic lists
Leaflet other events
Is it necessary to rent buses to get people there?
Reserve buses and print bus tickets
Where will buses unload people and park?
Prominent individuals to "legitimize" the rally and attract people
Organizations- coalition building to secure material, political, staff, and monetary support
Get loans and contributions to front money for event
Prepare for a post-rally fund appeal
Initial press release/conference
Ongoing work: contacts, releases interview programs
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