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Principles for Promoting Social Change


This covers the four-step model for influencing attitudes and behaviors. The principles discussed can be a powerful tool to help promote your cause, be it the guiding ideas for a letter to the editor or an entire campaign effort. The cause you support is worthy of the public's attention, but gaining that attention, let alone eliciting active participation, is not always a smooth task. It is an important task, however, and this booklet provides a guide to help make that task easier. Following the four-step method and using the principles discussed can be effective in influencing social change and making the world a better place to live.


48 Ways to Get Out Your Message


  • Distribute or post fliers
  • Distribute fact-based postal sized cards in public places or on windshields
  • Put up political signs on lawns and in home windows
  • Paint murals on walls
  • Do a billboard or bus shelter display--place political messages on cards, mugs, calendars, scratchpads, stationary, order forms/invoices, business cards, matchbooks, etc.


  • Write letters to the editor or "op eds" for newspapers or "speakout editorials" on local TV/radio
  • Have passers-by write letters
  • Insert cartoons, newsclippings, brief articles in correspondence
  • Place notices, articles, ads, inserts, classifieds, in church, club, or school newspapers, newsletters, or "trading post" publications
  • Call/write elected officials
  • Get a newspaper to have a progressive political column


  • Utilize electronic mail/bulletin boards/home pages to organize, and to get word out to activists
  • Get local radio stations to sponsor music-related political events (concerts, dances, festivals)
  • Call radio talk shows
  • Prepare a political public service announcement
  • Hold press conference with public figures
  • Present programs on public access TV


  • Conduct a regular Sunday school class
  • Have speakers give talks or show videos/films at service clubs, churches, schools, etc.
  • Give materials to schools and churches
  • Establish a church political library
  • Get a church to become involved a particular political concerns
  • Prepare pictorial or other displays for libraries, schools, museums, etc.
  • Set up political literature boxes at schools and churches


  • Get local libraries to have a progressive political display or book collection
  • Get a skywriter to do a political message at a big event
  • Seek the window/floor space of a business for displays
  • Walk around a busy street with a political poster on your chest and back
  • Stage unusual events
  • Sponsor teams
  • Regularly send progressive political materials and ideas to local media
  • Start a political essay or poetry contest
  • Contact community or government officials
  • Stage community forums or debates
  • Have neighborhood potlucks and informal discussions
  • Perform guerrilla theater
  • Stage a political play
  • Canvass a neighborhood
  • Have a table/booth in public places (malls, flea markets, street corners) to distribute literature
  • Arrange a political parade or make a float for a parade
  • Set up political fairs
  • Hold regular vigils
  • List events in community calendars
  • Get textbook publishers and local libraries to cover a progressive political agenda
  • Hold a house meeting and a meal to discuss issues with others
  • Get a cereal manufacturer to use the back of a box for a political concern
  • Distribute videos of talks, workshops and conferences
  • Get popular personalities to speak out


The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues / / last updated May 10, 2000