Campaigns, whether consumer goods or political, ultimately have the goal of motivating an audience to change their behaviour or perform an action. In the case of an election campaign, the goal is to get people out to vote (ideally for you/your candidate). Getting there typically involves incremental calls to action directed at some or all of the public audience.

Richard Einarson shared with me a few important calls to action by the Nenshi for Mayor campaign when I recently spoke with him: announce voting intention in social media status updates, change profile photo, donate money, call ten friends and tell them about Nenshi, send emails to explain why you’re voting Nenshi on election day. For the more committed, there was Operation Purple Dawn during which volunteers put out purple signs reminding people to vote and providing information on where to vote. Another lesser known call to action was when the Nenshi campaign asked supporters to help translate campaign materials to a variety of different languages known to be spoken by citizens of Calgary.

Here’s an important proviso. Calls to action, particularly in the online world, need to be simple and scalable. They need to exploit people’s interests and capabilities. In the age of Slactivism, your campaign must activate from the span of something very basic that can be done with a click or a few keystrokes (exploiting interest such as with an online petition or donation) to something requiring people leaving their house and investing time and energy (harnessing belief, passion and skills such as with posting signs or participating in door-to-door canvassing).

As the Nenshi campaign learned, creative people like to be engaged in a way that empowers them to use their talents. They are the people who can help you in ways you never thought possible. So remember to make some open calls to action to your most dedicated supporters as well.

Photo: starting line uploaded to Flickr by Jon_Marshall.