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Resources for Organizers

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How Do I...?


As you think through what you want to do, fill out page 1 of the worksheet on your organizer dashboard. You will complete the second page once you've chosen the business.
1) Find a team
Who do you want to help you plan your event? We recommend recruiting a couple co-organizers. The most successful campaigns take time to create, and you may want to divide up responsibilities so the time commitment is manageable. Plus, it's more fun with friends!
2) Consider partnering with a like-minded group to co-organize
Sometimes, Carrotmobs are organized by individuals (like you and your friends). But sometimes they're organized by schools (like the International School Bangkok), by nonprofits (like Conscious Consumers in New Zealand), or by a combination of individuals and organizations (like Dallas residents teaming up with Dallas Green Drinks). So, you and your friends can organize a Carrotmob by yourselves if that's what you prefer. But it can be very helpful to have formal organizing support from another partner organization. The advantage of having an organization as a co-organizer is that it provides legitimacy to the event, especially when you're reaching out to businesses. Organizations often have additional resources that individuals don't have, and they usually maintain a network that can be leveraged for volunteers and Carrotmob participants (see later section on how to get a big mob).
3) Choose a campaign topic
What problem are you passionate about solving? Climate change? A lack of bike racks in your city? Lack of healthy food at a restaurant? These are some examples of topics. You probably already have ideas, and you can also peruse past campaigns for inspiration. Once you have an idea, make sure that the topic is in one of the categories of topics we allow. If you're curious why we place any limits at all on what sort of campaigns we allow, read this.
4) Determine the type of change you want the business to make
Once you know your topic, you'll need to think about what action you want the business to take. Do you want them to reinvest a portion of the spending on a lighting upgrade? Start selling only fair trade certified coffee? Install a composting system to reduce waste? These are just some examples, and we'll explore this more in the next section, but first you should understand that every campaign has what we call an "if" and a "then." The "if" represents what the mob commits to do (for example, spend money!) and the "then" represents what the business commits to do (the action you're asking for).
Example "if"s:
"If we spend as much as we can at the business..."
"If we spend at least $X at the business..."
"If at least X people buy at the business..."
Example "then"s:
"Then the business commits X% of our spending to [action]."
"Then the business commits to [small repeatable action] for every $X that we spend."
"Then the business commits to [one big action]." (regardless of the amount spent)
"Then the business commits to [action] for at least [period of time]."
For your campaign you can mix and match various "if"s and "then"s to find something that works. To date, the most common type of campaign uses a structure like the following. We will use the very first Carrotmob as an example:
If we spend as much as we can at K&D Market
Then K&D Market commits 22% of our spending towards energy efficiency upgrades.
However, let's imagine you are talking to a restaurant owner, and you want her to start offering some organic, locally-produced food on her menu. She's worried about taking the financial risk, because she thinks that people might not be willing to spend more for the new options which would cost her more to serve. It's a big project, and she's hesitant to do anything unless she has some evidence that people really want these changes. In this case, you could choose a structure like this:
If we spend at least $3,000 at the business...
Then the business commits to offer 5 organic, locally-produced dishes on the menu for at least 6 months.
That could make the business owner comfortable that if it turns out no one wants the new dishes she's not stuck serving them forever. Or maybe, these become the most popular dishes on the menu! The "pilot" period might demonstrate that the community is excited for this change, which could encourage her to keep the change for longer.
1) Choose which businesses you will approach.
Location:
Where do you want to have your campaign? Are you focused on a specific neighborhood, or an entire city? Consider the accessibility of your location, transportation options, and so on. It's good to think about this before deciding which businesses will actually be invited to participate.
Type of business:
Do you have one particular type of business in mind, or is your action something that can be done by a variety of different business types? For example, coffee shops, grocery stores and laundromats could all do lighting retrofits. You aren't required to have businesses compete in order to determine who will get mobbed, but having similar types of businesses competing to win has a couple advantages: if you only focus on sushi restaurants, they are likely to be facing similar challenges, so it's easy to compare who is making the strongest commitment. Also, the winner may be able to claim that they are "the most sustainable sushi restaurant in the neighborhood," which is a competitive advantage for that restaurant. If a sushi restaurant has proven itself more sustainable than a hardware store, that might not do as much to help the sushi restaurant differentiate themselves.
Business size:
Most people target independently-owned small businesses. You are free to target individual small businesses that are part of a larger chain, but be prepared for a more challenging process. For larger campaigns with larger scale businesses (including an entire chain of businesses), you can suggest your ideas to Carrotmob HQ on this form.
Value to the business:
Some types of businesses will be most interested in how much money is going to be spent. For example, energy retrofits may require cash that businesses don't often have at their disposal. In contrast, other businesses will care primarily about their reputation, and how they are marketing themselves. They may not think the cash is as important, because they are betting on the long-term financial benefit of being loved by the community. For example, we have found that liquor stores are cash-sensitive and don't worry much about their reputations, while coffee shops care a lot about their reputations but don't expect to make that much cash during a campaign. So it may be helpful to think about what sort of value you are equipped to offer a business, and then choose a business type that is going to be impressed by what you can bring them.
2) Decide what you're going to ask the business to do in exchange for the mob
Practice the pitch:
Before you go talk to businesses, practice your pitch to make sure you can smoothly describe how Carrotmob works. It's a good idea to emphasize that Carrotmob is a "win-win" model, and no one is going to criticize them for anything. Many small businesses may be getting tired of being approached by "daily deal" companies, so it's also good to point out immediately that we aren't asking them for a discount. Our mob is motivated by a desire to see a change, not a desire to pay as little as possible. We like spending more money at campaigns because that means we're having a bigger positive impact.
To maximize the reward for the business, consider other ways to create value for them, like promoting their Facebook page or using other channels to publicly praise them.
Bidding:
Typically, organizers start by contacting multiple businesses and having them compete to see which business will earn the carrot. This is often done with a "bidding" process. For example, you can ask businesses to say what percentage of total revenue they would be willing to set aside and spend on the action, such as a lighting upgrade. Whoever offers the highest percentage wins. The nice thing about this approach is that you don't have to qualitatively select who you believe is most worthy, you just see who comes up with the highest bid, and they are automatically the most-committed to taking the action you want. It is sometimes easier to make a decision based on numbers, rather than having to make a more subjective judgement call (like between a community garden and a water fountain).
Scoping the commitment:
Depending on what action the business is being asked to take, they may need your help finding a service provider. For example, if a business is going to become more energy efficient, you may need the help of an expert, such as an energy auditor. You could find an energy expert through your city government, a local non-profit, the engineering department of your local college, or any local energy retrofit company. You will want to be clear with the business about who is responsible for managing the relationship with any experts or partners.
3) Meet with businesses
Hit the streets:
When you're ready, walk around and contact the businesses in person. Some organizers have written introductory letters to explain what they have in mind, but we have found that it's generally more effective to just show up in person. Carrotmob has a strong community focus and the most successful campaigns are the ones where the organizers and businesses have regular, direct communication.
Presentation materials:
Sometimes the best way to explain Carrotmob to business owners is to just bring a laptop or smart phone and show people video clips of other Carrotmob campaigns. We've found that this is the best way to get a business owner to quickly visualize hundreds of happy customers coming to their store and get more excited. When our humble organization has more money we will produce a special video targeted towards business owners, but in the meantime you can choose some existing videos that might be helpful. Here are some examples from San Francisco, South Carolina, Mexico City, Hamburg, Helsinki, and you can find many more at our YouTube channel. You may want to show just a few good clips, rather than the entire video.
Tips for pitching:
Make sure you are talking to a decision-maker:
Ask for the owner or manager.
Introduce the agreement:
It's a good idea to get them excited about the basic idea before you pull out paperwork, but if you're not sure what to talk about, you can use the agreement you're eventually going to sign as a guide. The purpose of the signed agreement is to make sure that all campaigns are well-thought out and clearly agreed upon by both parties. We're not trying to make all the campaigns exactly the same. So if you want to customize your agreement slightly from the form we give you, that will probably be OK. Send us a draft if you want to double-check before presenting it to the business. Customization may also make sense if you are in a region that doesn't speak English, since you should present businesses with a document in your local language. We don't need your campaign to follow a strict standard format, but before we will approve the campaign you will need to clearly have all your bases covered and in your agreement you need to make it luminously clear who has agreed to do what.
Try, try again:
Most likely, you will get rejected by the first several businesses you go to. In the first ever Carrotmob campaign, 20 businesses said "no," and only 3 actually competed to win. So if you get rejected, welcome to the club! Turn that frown upside-down!
Take a picture:
One other thing to remember is that every campaign page has an image, and you may want to take a picture while you're visiting the business. The photo could be of the business, of the business owner, of your organizing team, of your team shaking hands with the business owner, or anything else you want.
Decide how long the event will be:
A typical event lasts for a few hours, but feel free to get creative. It's fun to get a big crowd together, in which case you should offer a specific time for people to arrive. A big crowd will feel like a fun party. On the other hand, people may get annoyed if they have to wait in line for an hour just to make a small purchase, so a big crowd all at once does NOT necessarily mean you've got a better campaign than a campaign where the same number of people show up over a longer period of time. If there are other activities for people to do while they are there, that's even better.
Consider coordinating with an existing event:
Sometimes the hard part is getting a big group of people to show up in one place at one time. So why not coordinate your campaign with an existing event, such as a festival, conference, party, sports game, or parade? For example, there was a Carrotmob campaign in Cape Town, South Africa, and the organizers arranged for it to fit right into the schedule of a big climate change conference that was already going on. You should also be careful what day you choose. You might try to coordinate with a certain day, like "bike to work day," and you might try to avoid distracting days like tax day, Christmas, the Super Bowl, etc.
Set expectations:
Regardless of how you get a crowd, make sure you set reasonable expectations with the business owner. If you show them a video of a big crowd at another Carrotmob, they may decide they want a big crowd of people. Others may not want a crowd at all. Either way, don't over-promise. If you are targeting a sit-down restaurant, it may not be practical to have hundreds of people all eating at once. Instead you could create a system where everyone makes dinner reservations for normally slow days during the next month, so the business gets mobbed consistently over a longer period of time. It will almost always make sense to have the event at the actual business, but if that's impractical, think outside the box!
Consider whether a business should prepare to have extra goods or staff on the day of the campaign. This may affect scheduling.
Recruit volunteers:
You may want to recruit volunteers to help you with your event. It's great to have people on hand to help explain what's going on to the public, do crowd control, take photos and videos, entertain the crowd, help the business with random tasks, and so on. It's a good idea to create a detailed schedule for your event and distribute it to the business and your volunteers at some point before your campaign.
Know about permits!
If you are getting people together in a public place, make sure you get any permits you might need. It's also a good idea to check in with the local police department, just so they don't freak out when your event happens. If your campaign is going to send a ton of people into a small business, get a volunteer to be a "bouncer" to control when people are allowed to enter. This will make sure that the business isn't crowded over its legal capacity. If you get a lot of people in a big public park you may need to rent portable toilets, or get a noise permit... every city has different rules, just make sure you know yours!
Finalize and upload the commitment:
Once you have all this information figured out, all the hard stuff is over! Finalize the agreement, get it signed, and upload it to our site!
Once your event website is ready to promote, think creatively about how you can spread the word! Here are some basic ideas:
  • Promote the campaign on sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Make a promo video on YouTube (like this or this)
  • Have friends post a message to email lists
  • Make flyers or posters
  • Write a press release for local TV/radio/newspaper journalists
We've had organizers use sidewalk chalk, guerrilla knitting, and all kinds of techniques. The greatest strategy may just be to put on a carrot costume and dance your face off like they do in Wisconsin. It's also a good idea to think about who your target demographic is.
Leverage the networks of organizations:
Partner with advocacy organizations, schools, local governments, companies, sports teams, or any other entity that is aligned with the spirit of Carrotmob. These organizations often have large networks they can reach out to (through email lists, Twitter, posting at their venues, etc).
Help your community sign up for Carrotmob:
If you can get internet access at the campaign, it's a good idea to get as many new people as you can off the street to sign up on the Carrotmob website. When people sign up, we keep track of what city they live in, so we can inform them about future campaigns in their area. So if you get people to sign up, then the next time you do a campaign there will be more people in your area who will be automatically contacted and invited to your next campaign! It's also good to try and get people to sign up because one of our goals as a movement is to get as many people into our network as possible, since that's what will enable us to do campaigns to change large companies.
Don't forget to party!
Making your event fun and sharing results after the campaign are both important for making people want to come back to the next one!
After your event:
Be sure to take note of how much was spent and the approximate number of people in the mob, and enter it into the follow-up section of your campaign dashboard. People love to know how the campaign went. If you really want to go down in history, you can put together a video of the entire campaign, start to finish!
Check on the commitment:
The most important part of the the whole campaign is the change that the business makes as a result of the campaign. After your event, it's up to you to be sure you check back in with the business to make sure that the changes they committed to have been made. This may be several weeks after the event, depending on the commitment. Be sure you take a photo or video to show evidence of the action to your community. Upload it to your campaign page from the dashboard and write a summary paragraph to let the Carrotmob community know how it went! This is the final step in your campaign. Once you finish it, take a bow! Once you have taken your bow, we recommend stretching, hydrating, and then doing this.
So, you want to write a good description for your campaign? You have come to the right place. Elsewhere on your campaign page you will already have defined the "what," (which is covered by the "if/then") the "when," and the "where." So the remaining things you may want to cover with the description are the "who," the "why," and the "how":
WHO:
Explain who is organizing the campaign (a group of friends, an organization, etc).
WHY:
Share why you are doing this. What is your mission? What motivates you? Why are you passionate about this, and why should other mobbers be passionate about this as well?
HOW YOU DID IT:
How did you organize this? For example, if you talked to 10 businesses who all competed to win, people may be interested to know that, since a commitment from a business seems more significant if they've beaten out 9 other competitors.
HOW PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE:
What other logistical things are there to communicate? If the business is hard to find, do you need directions, or tips on taking public transportation? Do you need volunteers? What do you need help with? Should people bring anything, such as reusable shopping bags, sunscreen, cameras, or one dollar bills? Do you need to worry about noise, timing, or the concerns of neighboring businesses? Do you want people to dress a certain way? Do you have a Twitter #hashtag for people to use? Do you want to include the website of a partner organization that helped you out? The description is the right place for all of this.
That's about it! Only include what's really important. If your description gets too long, no one will read it! And don't worry about adding the results and impact of your campaign to the description, you will enter the results somewhere else after the campaign is done!
Here are a couple example descriptions you can use as inspiration:
Come buy lunch or dinner from HOTLIPS Pizza on June 21 and save the planet. We've negotiated with HOTLIPS so that 100% of the money you spend goes directly towards making their restaurant more energy efficient! There will be musicians to entertain you all day, as well as booths with more information about helping the environment. There will be plenty of pizza ready for purchase and discounted cases of HOTLIPS's real fruit soda. Many of us have traditionally avoided businesses with bad practices, but this Carrotmob campaign will be the opposite of a boycott, as we bring more customers to a company with good practices! We care about promoting efficiency and renewable energy in local Portland businesses. And what better renewable fuel is there for ourselves than delicious pizza? NOM NOM NOM. Save the world AND eat pizza! No downside! This event is being organized by Central Catholic High School student members of the Social Justice, Friends of the Earth and Global Awareness Clubs.
Here's another example:
The moment has come where we have to step up to the plate and put our money where our mouth is. On February 20th, Villa Market will launch its campaign to stop using plastic shopping bags in its Nichada Thani store.

This store alone gives out 500,000 bags a year and this will finally come to an end as they switch to selling reusable cloth bags. We hope this will be the first step to many stores doing the same, but that success really depends on your commitment to this day.

This campaign is a project I'm leading on behalf of the International School Bangkok community. My commitment to Villa in order for them to consider this idea of banning plastic bags was to gather enough customer support to make them realize people want this. Villa wanted to do this, but were very concerned with customer backlash. I convinced them it would be just the opposite and using the Carrotmob model, we would show up in mass to support this cause. So this is where I need YOU... ALL of YOU! I need to ensure that we have a strong commitment from at least 500 people to show up on Feb. 20th at Villa to shop. If we hit 500, they will do it. That's it, really. Just show up and buy your groceries. By doing this you are showing support.

We always tell businesses that actions speak louder than words. Well, now I am saying that to you. This event could be the start of a growing movement where consumers use their combined organized power to make change. Put your words into action and join us on Feb. 20th. Invite friends to attend as well.

This campaign will also have live music, celebrities, prizes (boat cruise), and more.
Follow Carrotmob Organizing on Quora

Welcome to your first Carrotmob campaign!

Before you set off on this adventure, you must agree to the Carrotmob promise:

I'm not Carrotmobbing myself. I'm not affiliated with a business we're targeting, because that would present a conflict of interest.

I will never attack a business. Carrotmob is a win-win model. I will not criticize, threaten or attack businesses in order to achieve my goals. Even if a business does something horrible I will brush that dirt off my shoulder or contact Carrotmob HQ for help.

My campaign isn't about politics. I'm not asking for action related to a political candidate, party, or piece of legislation.

I understand that not every issue is allowed. If there has never been a campaign like mine before, Carrotmob HQ may suspend my campaign to decide whether it's going to be allowed. More info

I will follow through. I understand that I'm expected to make sure the business does what they commit to do, even if this takes a few months. If I don't follow up, no one else will. However, if I run into a problem with the business and need support, Carrotmob HQ will try to back me up.

I am not reckless. I will not break the law, or create an unsafe situation. The fire marshal and police department will have no problem with what I'm doing. I will represent the Carrotmob movement responsibly.

You must check all parts of the promise to continue.
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