19 Oct 2020
As many of you know, we organised a "week of action" for October to engage communities in the campaign for a green and fair recovery from COVID-19. As part of that action, we encouraged groups to make and erect signposts in their community where passersby could leave their ideas.
Given the escalating risk of coronavirus and the increased need for social distancing and local lockdowns, we decided to encourage groups to move their signpost action online. If you didn't take part in the 5-11 October week of action, don't worry – you still can. After all, there's no "deadline" on getting your community involved with your campaigns.
If you choose to carry out your signpost activity in person (see the original guidance), you must ensure that you follow all local and national guidance that applies to your area. Guidance changes regularly, so we strongly suggest you keep checking it in the weeks and days leading up to your action. You must also send us a completed risk assessment form to ensure you are covered by our insurance.
There are three main steps to hosting an online signpost action online:
- Create an online version of your signpost to which people can contribute their ideas, or update your physical signpost at home with contributions and share photos on social media.
- Reach out and engage with new people via social media rather than in person (read our social media guidance, including how to promote your posts on Facebook).
- Host an online discussion at the end of the week for people who’ve engaged with your signpost and social media activity to talk over the ideas that have been collected.
How to create an online signpost action
Step 1: Create an image for social media
Customise one of these Canva templates for your group:
Use our guide to Canva to help you customise the image.
Step 2: Post the Canva image on social media
Post the Canva image on your group’s social media accounts. Include a short blurb explaining that you're campaigning for a green and fair recovery and want community input on what that could look like in your area, and encouraging people to comment with their ideas. Make sure to include a link to where people can register for your online discussion too (see Step 6).
If possible, you should make this a promoted post on Facebook. Not only will this allow you to engage with new audiences by reaching people who don’t already follow your group on social media, but you’ll be able to target it so that it gets shown to people who live in your area. Check out our social media guidance for more on promoted posts and general use of social media.
We can support you with funds to pay for promoted posts, just fill in our funding application form (word).
Step 3: Check in on the comments
Go through the comments on social media and try and assign each idea to one of the 5 headings on the signpost, which relate to the 5 areas of the recovery plan.
Step 4: Create an online signpost
Use the image above to create your online signpost and annotate it with everyone’s comments (just right click and select "save as image"). You can use a free online tool such as Miro to add annotations. Have a look at our example to give you some ideas. You might know of a different online tool to use to create your virtual signpost, so use whatever works best for you.
Alternatively, make a physical signpost at home, add comments and suggestions to it, and share photos of it on social media. If you feel comfortable, and it doesn’t break any local restrictions, why not take it on a "tour" of some well-known locations in your community. You could update your signpost with new online contributions and share photos of it in a different location each day.
Step 5: Share your online signpost image on social media
Make it a promoted post on Facebook again, if possible. You can either take a screenshot or download an image directly from Miro. Encourage people to comment with more suggestions and include a link to the online signpost page.
Include a link to where people can register for your online discussion at the end of the week (see Step 6). Keep updating your online signpost on Miro with the comments you received throughout the week. That way, people will see their comments represented, it'll add to the idea that this is a live discussion, and incentivise others to add their thoughts.
Step 6: Host an online discussion
Host an online discussion to talk through the ideas you’ve collected and inspire people to join your campaign. We recommend you host the discussion on Zoom, and advertise the event using Action Network (if you’ve got an account, we’ve already created an editable event for you).
You could structure your discussion using the 5 headings of the signpost, use breakout rooms to have deeper discussions, and spend time talking about how you could make the ideas a reality. Remember to make time for everyone to introduce themselves, explain a little bit about your group, and be clear on how people can get more involved. Better yet, ask people to volunteer to take on a role so they’re more likely to come back!
Our allies over at BBB have thought a lot about how to run these kinds of community ‘visioning’ exercises. There’s some useful tips on how to get the most out of an online discussion in this guide (DOC, pg 2).
Alternative photo action
Another way to help spread the word about the need for a green and fair recovery using the idea of a signpost, is to encourage people to take a photo of themselves holding up a drawing of a signpost that includes the changes they’d like to see in their communities.
These could then be posted online and your group could create a photo collage of all the photos you receive, and use it to form the basis of a group discussion at the end of the week.
Leaflets and signs
Lots of groups ordered printed leaflets and signs, and these are on their way out to you. We’d encourage you to find a way to use these during the week of action, even if you do take activity online. Perhaps the signs could go up in windows and the leaflets be distributed to neighbours (in a socially distanced and safe way). If you’re putting these up in public places, please make sure the place is appropriate – such as on a notice board.
If you didn’t get a chance to order printed materials, download signs and leaflets (see "Support and Resources" section).
Tips for creating an online signpost with Miro
Follow these steps to use Miro and add annotations to your signpost image.
- Register for a free account
- Create a new board (select "create shared" board when it pops up with the option to do so)
- Close the "choose a template" window to start with a blank board
- Paste the signpost image into the board (see Step 4 above)
- Use the options on the left hand side of the screen to annotate your sign however you decide.
Saving an image
Save an image of your Miro board by clicking the button shown below and selecting "save as image".
Next, expand the crop using the corners marked to select everything you’d like included in the image.
Getting a share link
Click share in the top right corner of the screen.
Then select "Can view" under "Anyone with the link’", following by "copy board link". Your link can now be shared with the rest of your group, or on social media.