The Kickstarter + For Activists
The Yes Lab has put together a tremendous new tool to help activists develop campaigns, share the information and get help to carry out the project. They call it “Action Switchboard” and it allows you to post the action to a website — they call the actions “Schemes.” It allows people to see what you want to accomplish and get the kind of help you need, whether it is skills, supplies or financial support. They say it is “Kind of like Kickstarter, but for creative direct actions!”
But, it is actually more than a Kickstarter because it is not just about raising money and getting other support. Once a Scheme is set up then inside your Scheme page, you can communicate with the rest of your team privately. People can also sign up to follow your Scheme so you can make public announcements that will be sent to everyone who signed up about your progress. And, if you want to “coordinate a large group to do a bunch of ongoing Schemes together around a particular goal or issue area [they] have special Outreach pages you can use to spread the word and raise money for your effort. Then, you can host large-scale conference calls where you work with your team to develop ongoing, sustained actions around your Goals. You can also run your own newsletter for your group.” If you want to do a larger event along those lines you should contact Action Switchboard.
The YES Men have been developing a data base over the last 15 years so they have people all over the country who can help. So, if you need a videographer (or other skill) in a particular part of the country, they may be help you find one.
The Action Switchboard pages also have a section they call The Cookbook to help people develop Schemes. The cookbook begins at the beginning with how to brainstorm an action. They urge you to begin by figuring out what your goal is and then think about ideas that evoke a reaction, e.g. makes you cringe or laugh. They also suggest that the action makes some sense — just a little sense is enough especially if it creates an emotional reaction. And, it is okay if it is based on an action that has been done before. In fact, they suggest ripping off ideas as a good way to start. They suggest Actipedia or Beautiful Trouble as a place to get ideas from actions others have taken. They go through a lot more on how to brainstorm an action so visit their brainstorming page.
Once the brainstorm process leads to a Scheme, the Action Switchboard helps you continue the process and achieve success in your action. They have very useful advice on how to take notes and share information, how to work through a planning process and how to stay sane — for which it is important to be flexible and not get too attached to a tactic.
Action Switchboard is a great example of creating solidarity in the movement for social, economic and environmental justice and finding ways that we can lift each other up and bring the movement to a higher level. This tool we become more effective as people use it, so we encourage you to visit www.actionswitchboard.net, explore the site and then use it.
To keep up with Action Switchboard you can also follow them on twitter @ASdotnet or join their community on Facebook.