Follow Ups

Another area where I feel Town Meeting is overwhelmingly underutilized is follow-up calls.

For whatever reason, almost all of us who work on special events (and I'm talking about me too here) are really amped up about getting ready, and hopefully widely promoting our event before it takes place.  Or we are overwhelmed by intense zeal to speak out about an issue about which we have an opinion.  But too may of us stop once we've pleaded our case or held our event -- leaving the audience/town wondering how things turned out.  Did the issue we spoke out on get resolved?  Did people show up at our event, and how did it go?  Did we reach that fundraising goal?

A VERY VERY smart thing to do is to plan a follow up call after your special event takes place.  This does several things:
    -- It lets the town know how the event went.
    -- It gives you a chance to thank people.
    -- You can report on how much money you raised and celebrate that fact.
    -- If turnout wasn't great, you can emphasize the importance of people participating at your next event.
    -- You'll make people feel like they were part of something that actually matters.
    -- You'll make people that blew it off feel like they MISSED something that actually matters
    -- etc. etc. etc.

In the same way, it's also VERY wise to follow up on issues you spoken out about in order to let the town know how things are progressing.  For example:
    -- They'll learn if their government is working, or failing
    -- They'll learn if community needs are being served or ignored
    -- They'll learn (and be motivated) to get involved if more needs to be done
    -- If your case was successful, they'll learn who to thank for a job well done
    -- etc. etc. etc.

Whether it's an individual, a city council, or an entire town, the pattern is the same -- if all one hears is a constant barrage of people asking them to do something, and it's never punctuated by times where we jump in and celebrate progress or success, then all everyone is left with is an unending sense of disarray and unfinished business.  Every now and then, we need to part the clouds and let in some sunshine -- in other words, we need to focus more effort on telling the rest of the story.  How does the tale end?

So I'd like to encourage all of us (and yes, I mean me too) to be more vigilant with our follow-up.  If you call in or send in a notice about an event, then also plan to call in or send in a follow-up AFTER the event takes place.  If you call in about an issue, plan to follow-up AFTER something develops to tell people if we should be celebrating a victory, or working harder on a solution.

The more we work to keep our scales balanced, the better sense of balance we'll all have.

And now for your dining and dancing pleasure, we present sample scripts that you are free to use verbatim, or as a guide to creating your own:

Option #1 -- Event follow-up

HI J.R. -- THIS IS (name)________________________, CALLING FOR (organization) ________________________, AND I JUST WANTED  TO FOLLOW UP ON OUR (name event)_________________________ THAT WE HAD ON (date)________________ AT  (location)___________________.  WE HAD THIS EVENT BECAUSE (describe the purpose and goals)___________________________, AND WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW (results -- funds raised, number of people that showed up, was everyone happy, etc.) ____________________.  WE'D REALLY LIKE TO THANK (helpers and volunteers) _________________________, AND OF COURSE WE REALLY APPRECIATE EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT AND SUPPORTED US.   IF ANYONE HAS QUESTIONS, THEY CAN CONTACT (name)________________ AT (phone number)______________________, AND DON'T FORGET OUR NEXT EVENT WILL BE (description, date, time, location)_______________________________.

Option #2 -- Issue follow-up

HI J.R. -- I CALLED IN A WHILE BACK ABOUT (issue_______________) AND JUST WANTED TO GIVE SOME FOLLOW UP -- (describe progress, thank those that helped, express concern about those that didn't help if appropriate, talk about what needs to happen next if appropriate)_______________________________________________________

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