Urgency is the campaigner’s best friend.
It is the difference between making a case for why someone should act (vote, donate, volunteer, buy, read, tweet, sign up, etc.) and why someone should act NOW.
Urgency tips the scales. If someone is already interested and engaged in your campaign, instilling a sense of urgency can move someone from getting to you in their own time, to the point where they are compelled to get to you in your time.
So how do you establish urgency? Here’s an example.
I received this email today:
Sender: President Barack Obama – Obama’s team has sent occasional email updates but very few have come with the President’s name listed as the sender – they save that to grab extra attention for the important stuff. By doing that, his name alone signifies an urgent message.
Subject: Kim, I need your voice on health care – He used my name! The importance of this communication is highlighted because he added my name to the subject line. Their team rarely does this, so again it flags that this message is important for me to read. (Some campaigners really over use the personalization tactic but this use is spot on.)
And between the sender and the subject I am clearly told that the President needs me. That seems kind of urgent – he’s not someone you put on hold.
Now, take a look at the body of the email. See how he immediately establishes urgency in the first statement, reinforces it through out, and connects his urgent case to the action he needs people to take and connects the action he wants people to take to a personal emotional driver – their own story – which bumps up the urgency again. Note: I’ve put things in bold for you here – his email was very clean.
The chance to finally reform our nation’s health care system is here. While Congress moves rapidly to produce a detailed plan, I have made it clear that real reform must uphold three core principles — it must reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for every American.
As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk. Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That’s where you come in.
When our opponents spread fear and confusion about the changes we seek, your support for these core principles will show clarity and resolve. When the lobbyists for the status quo tell Congress to hold back, your personal story will give them the courage to press forward.
After adding your name, please consider sharing your personal story about the importance of health care reform in your life and the lives of those you love.
I will be personally reviewing many of these signatures and stories. If you speak up now, your voice will make a difference.
American families are watching their premiums rise four times faster than their wages. Spiraling health care costs are shackling America’s businesses, curtailing job growth and slowing the economy at the worst possible time. This has got to change.
I know personal stories can drive that change, because I know how my mother’s experience continues to drive me. She passed away from ovarian cancer a little over a decade ago. And in the last weeks of her life, when she was coming to grips with her own mortality and showing extraordinary courage just to get through each day, she was spending too much time worrying about whether her health insurance would cover her bills. She deserved better. Every American deserves better. And that’s why I will not rest until the dream of health care reform is finally achieved in the United States of America.
Please add your name to join my call. Then share your personal story about why you too will not rest until this job is done.
Last November, the American people sent Washington a clear mandate for change. But when the polls close, the true work of citizenship begins. That’s what Organizing for America is all about. Now, in these crucial moments, your voice once again has extraordinary power. I’m counting on you to use it.
President Barack Obama
Flipping good, honestly!