A carrot mob is the opposite of a boycott--some call it a "joycott" because of its positive nature. It means setting up a deal with a local business that if you're able to mobilize a large number of people to patronize their business, they'll agree to make a socially responsible change (in this case to improve energy efficiency or somehow reduce their carbon footprint). This is a great project for a group that can mobilize a few hundred people to do something fun, that is looking to build relationships with local businesses, and wants to organize for a concrete and positive victory for their local movement.
A few tips
- Pick a business that is conveniently located and somewhat popular or well-known in your community.
- Pick a time when people will be more able to come--likely a weekend day.
- Resist the temptation to work with many businesses at once--you can always organize another carrot mob later, but trying to "mob" more than one business at a time will dilute your efforts.
- Publicity is key! Your event will be as successful as the number of people you can mobilize, so be sure to get out the word in every way imaginable (more tips below).
- Make it fun! Get bands to play outside the business during your event, or find some other way to entertain people as they come to participate.
Get it done
As you get started, please consider contacting our partners at CarrotMob HQ
for support in developing your campaign!
1. Research local businesses
Get together with your team, choose a type of business (think cafes, restaurants, groceries), make a list of those businesses in your community, and start reaching out to their managers. Face to face meetings where you can explain the concept and answer questions are most effective. Come with some options to discuss with local businesses for how the revenue generated by your "mob" will be used. Some common propositions related to climate include energy efficiency upgrades (new refrigerators, weatherization, etc.), renewable energy projects, local food commitments, composting, etc.
2. Choose a business—let the games begin!
Carrot mobs are about finding a "win-win" situation--so now its time to make a deal that benefits your group's goals, and the local business. You want to get to a place where you make a deal that if you mobilize a certain number of shoppers on a particular day, they will complete an agreed upon action such as putting all proceeds from that day towards efficiency upgrades. To reach that deal, you can either work with one business, or allow many businesses to make bids for what actions they will take. If you decide to let local businesses compete, be sure you set up a transparent and clear process for selecting the winner, and make it a positive experience that encourages all the businesses to take action even if they aren't selected.
3. Organize the event
Now that you've selected the business you're working with and have made a deal, it's time to plan the logistics and delegate roles to your team. Sit down with the local business to set up a timeline for organizing the event, publicizing it, and making sure they have capacity to handle the extra shoppers that day and measure the impact. Pick the date and time of the mobilization, organize a program to entertain and educate people as they come to participate, and make a follow-up plan.
4. Reach out
Figure out who you're trying to reach, and make a plan to alert them. Think social media, community bulletin boards, listservs, newsletters of allied orgnaizations, and the good old-fashioned tactics of calling people up and flyering at events. Be sure to explain the concept and the action the business will take in your outreach materials--this will help to excite people, and hold the business accountable!
5. Keep people posted
Keep people updated about the progress of the organizing via Facebook, Twitter, your group's page, listservs and more. This can really start from the beginning, letting people know about the bidding process between businesses, the event planning, and more.
6. Alert the media
In the lead-up to the event, reach out to the media with press advisories, and a release on the day of the carrot mob.
7. Host your event
Now it's time to have fun! Have a schedule of the day and volunteers from your team to help out. Be sure to document, interview participants and the local business, and share the stories from the day with your networks.
8. Follow up
People love to participate in carrot mobs because of the tangible nature of the campaign, so following up about the results is key! Make sure to have a meeting with the business after the event to see how much money was raised, exactly what they're going to do with it, and report out to everyone who participated via email, social networks, and the media.