How Do I...?
As you think through what you want to do, fill out page 1 of the
worksheet on your organizer dashboard
. You will complete the second
page once you've chosen the business.
1) Find a team
Who do you want to help you plan your event? We recommend recruiting a couple
co-organizers. The most successful campaigns take time to create, and
you may want to divide up responsibilities so the time commitment is
manageable. Plus, it's more fun with friends!
2) Consider partnering with a like-minded group to co-organize
Sometimes, Carrotmobs are organized by individuals (like you and your
friends). But sometimes they're organized by schools (like the International
School Bangkok), by nonprofits (like Conscious Consumers in New Zealand),
or by a combination of individuals and organizations (like Dallas residents
teaming up with Dallas Green Drinks). So, you and your friends can organize a
Carrotmob by yourselves if that's what you prefer. But it can be very
helpful to have formal organizing support from another partner
organization. The advantage of having an organization as a
co-organizer is that it provides legitimacy to the event, especially
when you're reaching out to businesses. Organizations often have
additional resources that individuals don't have, and they usually
maintain a network that can be leveraged for volunteers and Carrotmob
participants (see later section
on how to get a big mob).
3) Choose a campaign topic
What problem are you
passionate about solving? Climate change? A lack of bike racks in
your city? Lack of healthy food at a restaurant? These are some
examples of topics. You probably already have ideas, and you can also
peruse past campaigns
for inspiration. Once you have an idea, make
sure that the topic is in one of the
categories of topics we allow
If you're curious why we place any limits at all on what sort of
campaigns we allow,
4) Determine the type of change you want the business to make
Once you know your topic, you'll need to think about what action you
want the business to take. Do you want them to reinvest a portion of
the spending on a lighting upgrade? Start selling only fair trade
certified coffee? Install a composting system to reduce waste? These
are just some examples, and we'll explore this more in the next
section, but first you should understand that every campaign has what
we call an "if" and a "then." The "if" represents what the mob
commits to do (for example, spend money!) and the "then" represents
what the business commits to do (the action you're asking for).
"If we spend as much as we can at the business..."
"If we spend at least $X at the business..."
"If at least X people buy at the business..."
"Then the business commits X% of our spending to [action]."
"Then the business commits to [small repeatable action] for every $X that we spend."
"Then the business commits to [one big action]." (regardless of the amount spent)
"Then the business commits to [action] for at least [period of time]."
For your campaign you can mix and match various "if"s and
"then"s to find something that works. To date, the most common type
of campaign uses a structure like the following. We will use the very
first Carrotmob as an example:
If we spend as much as we can at K&D Market
Then K&D Market commits 22% of our spending towards energy efficiency upgrades.
However, let's imagine you are talking to a restaurant
owner, and you want her to start offering some organic,
locally-produced food on her menu. She's worried about taking the
financial risk, because she thinks that people might not be willing
to spend more for the new options which would cost her more to serve.
It's a big project, and she's hesitant to do anything unless she has
some evidence that people really want these changes. In this case,
you could choose a structure like this:
If we spend at least $3,000 at the business...
Then the business commits to offer 5 organic, locally-produced dishes on the
menu for at least 6 months.
That could make the business owner comfortable that if it
turns out no one wants the new dishes she's not stuck serving them
forever. Or maybe, these become the most popular dishes on the menu!
The "pilot" period might demonstrate that the community is excited for
this change, which could encourage her to keep the change for longer.
1) Choose which businesses you will approach.
Where do you want to have your
campaign? Are you focused on a specific neighborhood, or an entire
city? Consider the accessibility of your location, transportation
options, and so on. It's good to think about this before deciding
which businesses will actually be invited to participate.
Type of business:
Do you have one particular
type of business in mind, or is your action something that can be
done by a variety of different business types? For example, coffee
shops, grocery stores and laundromats could all do lighting
retrofits. You aren't required to have businesses compete in order
to determine who will get mobbed, but having similar types of
businesses competing to win has a couple advantages: if you only
focus on sushi restaurants, they are likely to be facing similar
challenges, so it's easy to compare who is making the strongest
commitment. Also, the winner may be able to claim that they are "the
most sustainable sushi restaurant in the neighborhood," which is a
competitive advantage for that restaurant. If a sushi restaurant has
proven itself more sustainable than a hardware store, that might not
do as much to help the sushi restaurant differentiate themselves.
Most people target
independently-owned small businesses. You are free to target
individual small businesses that are part of a larger chain, but be
prepared for a more challenging process. For larger campaigns with
larger scale businesses (including an entire chain of businesses),
you can suggest your ideas to Carrotmob HQ on
Value to the business:
Some types of
businesses will be most interested in how much money is going to be
spent. For example, energy retrofits may require cash that
businesses don't often have at their disposal. In contrast, other
businesses will care primarily about their reputation, and how they
are marketing themselves. They may not think the cash is as
important, because they are betting on the long-term financial
benefit of being loved by the community. For example, we have found
that liquor stores are cash-sensitive and don't worry much about
their reputations, while coffee shops care a lot about their
reputations but don't expect to make that much cash during a
campaign. So it may be helpful to think about what sort of value you
are equipped to offer a business, and then choose a business type
that is going to be impressed by what you can bring them.
2) Decide what you're going to ask the business to do in exchange for the mob
Practice the pitch:
Before you go talk to
businesses, practice your pitch to make sure you can smoothly
describe how Carrotmob works. It's a good idea to emphasize that
Carrotmob is a "win-win" model, and no one is going to criticize
them for anything. Many small businesses may be getting tired of
being approached by "daily deal" companies, so it's also good to
point out immediately that we aren't asking them for a discount. Our
mob is motivated by a desire to see a change, not a desire to pay as
little as possible. We like spending more money at campaigns because
that means we're having a bigger positive impact.
To maximize the reward for the business, consider other ways to
create value for them, like promoting their Facebook page or using
other channels to publicly praise them.
Typically, organizers start by
contacting multiple businesses and having them compete to see which
business will earn the carrot. This is often done with a "bidding"
process. For example, you can ask businesses to say what percentage
of total revenue they would be willing to set aside and spend on the
action, such as a lighting upgrade. Whoever offers the highest
percentage wins. The nice thing about this approach is that you
don't have to qualitatively select who you believe is most worthy,
you just see who comes up with the highest bid, and they are
automatically the most-committed to taking the action you want. It
is sometimes easier to make a decision based on numbers, rather than
having to make a more subjective judgement call (like between a
community garden and a water fountain).
Scoping the commitment:
Depending on what
action the business is being asked to take, they may need your help
finding a service provider. For example, if a business is going to
become more energy efficient, you may need the help of an expert,
such as an energy auditor. You could find an energy expert through
your city government, a local non-profit, the engineering department
of your local college, or any local energy retrofit company. You
will want to be clear with the business about who is responsible for
managing the relationship with any experts or partners.
3) Meet with businesses
Hit the streets:
When you're ready, walk
around and contact the businesses in person. Some organizers have
written introductory letters to explain what they have in mind, but
we have found that it's generally more effective to just show up in
person. Carrotmob has a strong community focus and the most
successful campaigns are the ones where the organizers and
businesses have regular, direct communication.
Sometimes the best way
to explain Carrotmob to business owners is to just bring a laptop or
smart phone and show people video clips of other Carrotmob
campaigns. We've found that this is the best way to get a business
owner to quickly visualize hundreds of happy customers coming to
their store and get more excited. When our humble organization has
more money we will produce a special video targeted towards business
owners, but in the meantime you can choose some existing videos that
might be helpful. Here are some examples from
, and you can find many more at our
You may want to show just a few good clips,
rather than the entire video.
Tips for pitching:
Make sure you are talking to a decision-maker:
Ask for the owner or manager.
Introduce the agreement:
It's a good idea to
get them excited about the basic idea before you pull out paperwork,
but if you're not sure what to talk about, you can use the agreement
you're eventually going to sign as a guide. The purpose of the
signed agreement is to make sure that all campaigns are well-thought
out and clearly agreed upon by both parties. We're not trying to
make all the campaigns exactly the same. So if you want to customize
your agreement slightly from the form we give you, that will
probably be OK. Send us a draft if you want to double-check before
presenting it to the business. Customization may also make sense if
you are in a region that doesn't speak English, since you should
present businesses with a document in your local language. We don't
need your campaign to follow a strict standard format, but before we
will approve the campaign you will need to clearly have all your
bases covered and in your agreement you need to make it luminously
clear who has agreed to do what.
Try, try again:
Most likely, you will get
rejected by the first several businesses you go to. In the
first ever Carrotmob campaign
20 businesses said "no," and only 3
actually competed to win. So if you get rejected, welcome to the
club! Turn that frown upside-down!
Take a picture:
One other thing to remember is
that every campaign page has an image, and you may want to take a
picture while you're visiting the business. The photo could be of
the business, of the business owner, of your organizing team, of
your team shaking hands with the business owner, or anything else
Decide how long the event will be:
event lasts for a few hours, but feel free to get creative. It's fun
to get a big crowd together, in which case you should offer a
specific time for people to arrive. A big crowd will feel like a fun
party. On the other hand, people may get annoyed if they have to wait
in line for an hour just to make a small purchase, so a big crowd all
at once does NOT necessarily mean you've got a better campaign than a
campaign where the same number of people show up over a longer period
of time. If there are other activities for people to do while they
are there, that's even better.
Consider coordinating with an existing event:
Sometimes the hard part is getting a big group of people to show up
in one place at one time. So why not coordinate your campaign with an
existing event, such as a festival, conference, party, sports game,
or parade? For example, there was a Carrotmob campaign in Cape Town,
South Africa, and the organizers arranged for it to fit
right into the schedule
of a big climate change conference that was already
going on. You should also be careful what day you choose. You might
try to coordinate with a certain day, like "bike to work day," and
you might try to avoid distracting days like tax day, Christmas, the
Super Bowl, etc.
Regardless of how you get a
crowd, make sure you set reasonable expectations with the business
owner. If you show them a video of a big crowd at another Carrotmob,
they may decide they want a big crowd of people. Others may not want
a crowd at all. Either way, don't over-promise. If you are targeting
a sit-down restaurant, it may not be practical to have hundreds of
people all eating at once. Instead you could create a system where
everyone makes dinner reservations for normally slow days during the
next month, so the business gets mobbed consistently over a longer
period of time. It will almost always make sense to have the event at
the actual business, but if that's impractical, think outside the
Consider whether a business should prepare to have extra goods or
staff on the day of the campaign. This may affect scheduling.
You may want to recruit
volunteers to help you with your event. It's great to have people on
hand to help explain what's going on to the public, do crowd control,
take photos and videos, entertain the crowd, help the business with
random tasks, and so on. It's a good idea to create a detailed
schedule for your event and distribute it to the business and your
volunteers at some point before your campaign.
Know about permits!
If you are getting people
together in a public place, make sure you get any permits you might
need. It's also a good idea to check in with the local police department,
just so they don't freak out when your event happens. If your
campaign is going to send a ton of people into a small business, get
a volunteer to be a "bouncer" to control when people are allowed to
enter. This will make sure that the business isn't crowded over its
legal capacity. If you get a lot of people in a big public park you
may need to rent portable toilets, or get a noise permit... every
city has different rules, just make sure you know yours!
Finalize and upload the commitment:
Once you have all this information figured out, all the hard stuff is
over! Finalize the agreement, get it signed, and upload it to our site!
Once your event website is ready to promote, think creatively about
how you can spread the word! Here are some basic ideas:
- Promote the campaign on sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Make a promo video on YouTube (like
- Have friends post a message to email lists
- Make flyers or posters
- Write a press release for local TV/radio/newspaper journalists
We've had organizers use sidewalk
chalk, guerrilla knitting, and all kinds of techniques. The greatest
strategy may just be to put on a carrot costume and dance your face
like they do in Wisconsin
It's also a good idea to think about
who your target demographic is.
Leverage the networks of organizations:
with advocacy organizations, schools, local governments, companies,
sports teams, or any other entity that is aligned with the spirit of
Carrotmob. These organizations often have large networks they can
reach out to (through email lists, Twitter, posting at their venues,
Help your community sign up for Carrotmob:
If you can get internet access at the campaign, it's a good idea to
get as many new people as you can off the street to sign up on the
Carrotmob website. When people sign up, we keep track of what city
they live in, so we can inform them about future campaigns in their
area. So if you get people to sign up, then the next time you do a
campaign there will be more people in your area who will be
automatically contacted and invited to your next campaign! It's also
good to try and get people to sign up because one of our goals as a
movement is to get as many people into our network as possible, since
that's what will enable us to do campaigns to change large companies.
Don't forget to party!
Making your event fun
and sharing results after the campaign are both important for making
people want to come back to the next one!
After your event:
Be sure to take note of how
much was spent and the approximate number of people in the mob, and
enter it into the follow-up section of your campaign dashboard.
People love to know how the campaign went. If you really want to go
down in history, you can put together a video of the entire campaign,
start to finish!
Check on the commitment:
The most important
part of the the whole campaign is the change that the business makes
as a result of the campaign. After your event, it's up to you to be
sure you check back in with the business to make sure that the
changes they committed to have been made. This may be several weeks
after the event, depending on the commitment. Be sure you take a
photo or video to show evidence of the action to your community.
Upload it to your campaign page from the dashboard and write a
summary paragraph to let the Carrotmob community know how it went!
This is the final step in your campaign. Once you finish it, take a
bow! Once you have taken your bow, we recommend stretching,
hydrating, and then doing this
So, you want to
write a good description for your campaign? You have come to the
right place. Elsewhere on your campaign page you will already have
defined the "what," (which is covered by the "if/then") the "when,"
and the "where." So the remaining things you may want to cover with
the description are the "who," the "why," and the "how":
Explain who is organizing the campaign (a group of friends, an
Share why you are doing this. What is your mission? What
motivates you? Why are you passionate about this, and why should
other mobbers be passionate about this as well?
HOW YOU DID IT:
How did you organize this? For example, if you
talked to 10 businesses who all competed to win, people may be
interested to know that, since a commitment from a business seems
more significant if they've beaten out 9 other competitors.
HOW PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE:
What other logistical things are
there to communicate? If the business is hard to find, do you need
directions, or tips on taking public transportation? Do you need
volunteers? What do you need help with? Should people bring anything,
such as reusable shopping bags, sunscreen, cameras, or one dollar
bills? Do you need to worry about noise, timing, or the concerns of
neighboring businesses? Do you want people to dress a certain way? Do
you have a Twitter #hashtag for people to use? Do you want to include
the website of a partner organization that helped you out? The
description is the right place for all of this.
That's about it! Only include what's
really important. If your description gets too long, no one will read
it! And don't worry about adding the results and impact of your
campaign to the description, you will enter the results somewhere
else after the campaign is done!
Here are a couple example descriptions you can use as inspiration:
Come buy lunch or
dinner from HOTLIPS Pizza on June 21 and save the planet. We've
negotiated with HOTLIPS so that 100% of the money you spend goes
directly towards making their restaurant more energy efficient!
There will be musicians to entertain you all day, as well as booths
with more information about helping the environment. There will be
plenty of pizza ready for purchase and discounted cases of HOTLIPS's
real fruit soda. Many of us have traditionally avoided businesses
with bad practices, but this Carrotmob campaign will be the opposite
of a boycott, as we bring more customers to a company with good
practices! We care about promoting efficiency and renewable energy
in local Portland businesses. And what better renewable fuel is
there for ourselves than delicious pizza? NOM NOM NOM. Save the
world AND eat pizza! No downside! This event is being organized by
Central Catholic High School student members of the Social Justice,
Friends of the Earth and Global Awareness Clubs.
Here's another example:
The moment has come where we have to step up to the plate and put
our money where our mouth is. On February 20th, Villa Market will
launch its campaign to stop using plastic shopping bags in its
Nichada Thani store.
This store alone gives out 500,000 bags a year and
this will finally come to an end as they switch to selling reusable
cloth bags. We hope this will be the first step to many stores doing
the same, but that success really depends on your commitment to this
This campaign is a project I'm leading on behalf of
the International School Bangkok community. My commitment to Villa
in order for them to consider this idea of banning plastic bags was
to gather enough customer support to make them realize people want
this. Villa wanted to do this, but were very concerned with customer
backlash. I convinced them it would be just the opposite and using
the Carrotmob model, we would show up in mass to support this cause.
So this is where I need YOU... ALL of YOU! I need to ensure that we
have a strong commitment from at least 500 people to show up on Feb.
20th at Villa to shop. If we hit 500, they will do it. That's it,
really. Just show up and buy your groceries. By doing this you are
We always tell businesses that actions speak louder
than words. Well, now I am saying that to you. This event could be
the start of a growing movement where consumers use their combined
organized power to make change. Put your words into action and join
us on Feb. 20th. Invite friends to attend as well.
This campaign will also have live music, celebrities,
prizes (boat cruise), and more.