Soap & Numbers Poster Campaign

soapandnumbersThis is a multi-week campaign designed to raise awareness on campus. This campaign has enough parts so that everybody has an important role to play. You can adjust the length or use parts of the campaign effectively as well. These campaigns can be done separately or together and may vary in length of time. Be creative!

1) The first part of the campaign lasts two or three weeks. Each week (or every few days), you plaster the campus with a number without revealing what the number means or represents to create a “buzz” around campus about these seemingly random numbers. Put them on tables in dining halls, in mailboxes, on chairs in classrooms, on posters etc. Along with the number, put the Democracy Matters logo on all the flyers, table tents etc you use.

The first week is an outrageous number like 5.3 billion “(the total spent in the 2008 Presidential elections campaign) or look up how much the average Senate or House race costs in the most recent election at www.opensecrets.org. Any huge number will work!

The second week number is a percentage (like the % of times the person with the most money wins, or the % increase in money needed to run a campaign).

The last week is a small number like $3 (the amount needed per person to publicly finance every election in the state).

Then put $6 up as the third poster (the amount per taxpayer it would cost to fund nation-wide Fair Elections). NOTE: These numbers will change each election cycle so check the latest figures at www.opensecrets.org).

The numbers posters should always be eye-catching and always have the same look, including the Democracy Matters logo.

2) The second part of the campaign consists of two days of tabling at the student union (or other location where students congregate). At the table, two things would happen:

Make a big poster with all the numbers to put in front of or on the table. Then as people come by, give everyone a flyer that explains what the numbers stand for and invites them to a Democracy Matters teach-in or event to talk about this. Add a bit about what your school’s chapter of DM does and of course your contact information. Make the flyer colorful and catchy!

Also have a petition on the table they can sign that is attached to a large bar of soap with the slogan “College students want Congress to clean up politics – support campaign finance reform.” (Alternatively you can buy large, cheap bars of soap, wrap them in paper, and actually have people sign the paper. You should be able to get 30-60 signatures per bar of soap.

3) The third part of the campaign consists of a lecture/event. This should be an educational session where Democracy Matters students should present information on money and politics. You should talk about both the issue and about your group. You might consider showing the Public Campaign video (we can get you copies) on Clean Money in Maine and Arizona. The goal of the meeting is to raise awareness on campus, and perhaps get more students to join the group.

4) The final part of the campaign is to bring or send the signed petitions to the your state capitol. Alternatively, you can go to or send them to Washington. This step is easy. You want to identify key politicians (we can help you) and get the soap to their staff members. You should include a one page letter that explains Democracy Matters, your group, how the soaps got signed, and what you would like the elected official to do about cleaning up politics – supporting a Clean Money Bill or other public financing legislation at the state or federal level.  Democracy Matters staff can help you identify specific pieces of clean money legislation.

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