Activism Documentation: 101

Joshua Parrish
Feb 28, 2012 at 5:46 PM

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When it comes to campus activism, documentation is one of the most commonly overlooked elements of an effective, successful event.  It does not matter how much time you spend on planning your event or how well it is executed, if you fail at documentation, you are radically limiting its impact.

Documentation serves multiple purposes.  

  • it gives you an opportunity to highlight the hard work of your chapter
  • it gives other chapters an opportunity to get inspired by that hard work
  • and it opens up your efforts to an entire new market of people.

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Planning

Documentation should become an integral part of your activism planning.  Do you have a digital camera, an HD video camera, and someone who can operate them?  Is there someone in your chapter who is proficient with video editing software?  These are fundamental questions your chapter will need to address.<--break->

Once you have addressed these questions, I would suggest delegating documentation responsibilities to one person.  Make sure that your “Chapter Photographer” (or whatever clever title this person would like) is available to take photos/video during each phase of your campus event.  

Pregame (promotion, chalking, TSA body scanner assembly, etc.):

  • Documentation of this phase is key. We want others to replicate your hard work. Your documentation is the blueprint!

Main Event:

  • This is where all the action is. Make sure your batteries are charged and you have additional ones on stand-by.

Post Event Social/Celebration:

  • It is important to highlight the fun side of the liberty movement.  Show your numbers.  Group pics are a win!

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Execution

Now that you are prepared to document each phase of your event, it is time to elaborate on the execution. When conducting the event you should strive for high quality, high quantity documentation.

Quality:

  • Take photos and video that highlight your chapter's achievements.
  • Show off your table set up, prior to it being picked through
  • Get photos/video of people signing up (with their permission)
  • Encourage curious students to take a photo with props and then "like" your FB page to view it.
  • Zoom in! A picture of two or three faces is way better than two guys taking up 20% of the photo and your campus quad taking up the other 80%. No one wants to see your school's lawn.

Quantity:

If you are confident you have taken enough pictures and video, TAKE MORE!  There is no such thing as too much documentation.  

There is more to documentation than pictures and video.  You need to make sure that you are keeping an accurate count of how many new dues paying members your event produced, how many more sign-ups you got, how many new members joined/liked your Facebook page, and how many new students attended your meeting.

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Submission

This is where you put all of your hard work on display. Once you have taken the time to edit your photos or videos, make a detailed report of your chapter's success and post it to the YAL Blog.

  • Earn Liberty Street Cred
  • Inspire other chapters to take action
  • Win $$$ by competing in Activism Contests

If you are a Chapter Officer for your chapter, then you should have the ability to easily write a blog post on the YAL website. Log into the website, then roll over "Tools" in the top right corner, and select "Write a Blog Post." If you have trouble posting to the blog, please e-mail YAL Director of Communications, Bonnie Kristian, at bonnie.kristian@yaliberty.org.