What is a Key Message?

No matter what type of project you are doing, you will want to deliver messages to your audience. These key messages will play a big part in how your audience perceives your project and whether or not they are on board.

An effective Key message is made up of three main parts:

  • Describe the Problem: Describe the environmental problem to your audience in a way that gets their attention. We recommend using a fact that is surprising or persuasive.
    • Example: Did you know that Americans waste 25% of the food they buy?
  • How Does it Relate to Your Audience: Explain to your audience why this problem affects them or why it should be important in their lives.
    • Example: Think of all the money you could save on groceries by reducing your food waste.
  • Call To Action: Your call to action is important. It is what you want your audience to do that will make your project successful. Do you want them to change a habit, attend your event, sign a petition, help advocate for your cause?
    • Example: It’s time to do something about it. Plan your week’s meals before going to the grocery store!

Your key messages should also include any other important information that your audience needs to know to support your campaign, such as, the time/place of an event you’re hosting, links to petitions you would like them to sign or any incentives there are for participating in your campaign.

If you have more that one audience, you will want to plan out key messages for all of them. The first part of the message might be similar but how it relates to your audience and the call to action will be different. For example if you want your school district to install water refill stations at your school. Your message to the district decision makers will focus on why it would be beneficial to the district and the Call to action could be an ask for funding. You may also want to write key messages for your fellow students explaining how water refill stations will give them a cleaner campus and the call to action could be asking them to sign a petition in support of the new water stations.

Use facts from the Phase 1.1 Topic Explore pages to create your messages.

Key Message Elements

If you are running an event promotion Campaign or an Institutional change Campaign, you will want to add some additional elements:

Event Promotion Campaign

Your call to action will also include the details of your events and any incentives to join.

Did you know that trees on school campuses significantly improve air quality and can reduce temperatures in warm climates by up to 10°F? They are a small environmental investment that will pay for the improved health and well-being of students in addition to school communities for decades to come. Join us this Saturday, June 15th at 10am to plant 15 new trees on our school campus. Participating students will earn 5 points extra credit in their science class.

Institutional Change Campaign

You will also include how making the change you are asking for will benefit the decision makers.

Did you know that polystyrene takes over 500 years to decompose and releases harmful chemicals into the environment during the process? These chemicals can also affect the health of students who are exposed to them when hot foods are served on polystyrene trays. We are asking the school district to replace our current polystyrene lunch trays with cardboard alternatives that are more environmentally friendly and better for our health. By doing this, our school district can protect students and become environmental leaders in the community.

Now that you have learned about key messages, enter your shared Google folder and locate the “Phase 2 Forms” worksheet located in the Phase 2 folder. Complete the questions under the Phase 2.2 section.

NEXT STEP: Choose Your Platform

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