Demonstrations can be an effective visible statement of support for a cause. They can increase public awareness or public support for the issue, and they can send a clear and strong message to decision makers.
Tips for organizing a demonstration
- Advertise to any organizations and individuals that would be interested in participating to ensure that there will be a large turnout.
- Invite elected officials who support your cause.
- If you have several groups participating, try to develop a common focus and purpose.
- You may need a “parade” permit from the city in order to hold the demonstration. Make sure that you follow proper procedures.
- Think about timing. If you are in the process of forming relationships with policy-makers, a demonstration with the intent to protest the government could alienate you from them. On the other hand, a friendly demonstration with the intent to raise awareness could improve your relationships with government officials by giving you more exposure.
- Carry banners or placards with simple messages that can be read three metres away.
- Distribute leaflets which identify your group and explain your cause.
- Designate someone as the spokesperson if the media requests interviews.
- Designate another person to bring a camera and record the event.
- Encourage participants to follow up with their representatives to tell them why they participated in the demonstration. This shows that the participants are committed to the cause and want to dialogue about it.