Your Communications Toolkit: Fact Sheets v. Action Alerts
Say you’ve got data you want to get out to your community and to decision-makers who can do something about it—maybe you’re working to improve child care, or the quality of after-school programs, or lower your school district’s drop-out rate (or all of the above).
As you talk with policymakers, media and potential partners, you’ll want to be armed with fact sheets, and you may even want to create action alert.
What’s the difference?
The point of a fact sheet is to inform the reader about an issue; an action alert is designed to get readers to do something.
Here are some tested and true guidelines for both fact sheets and action alerts:
- Keep it short. One page, maximum, is best for print hand-outs and online fact sheets. Two to three short paragraphs are best for emails. If you’re using social media, you’ll need to work within Facebook and Twitter character limits.
- Put the most important information in first. If this is an action alert, be sure to get right to the point about what the issue is and what action is needed. For a fact sheet, choose a short, informative title that makes the point immediately clear.
- Make it clear what you want readers to do: Bold type, text boxes, and graphics add emphasis. (Consider an eye-catching Act Now button if it’s an email alert.)
- Make it readable- use at least 12 point font. Short bullet points are helpful. Remember, white space is your friend.
- Citations and links: give references or links for more information.
- Make sure it can stand alone. The fact sheet or action alert must be self-contained; do not refer to previous documents or assume that your readers remember the specific information.
- For an action alert, give all the tools readers need to take the action, including contact info or bill numbers for legislation. SparkAction can help you with this! Contact us.
Consider including sample social media messages (140-character tweets with a #hashtag, Facebook posts of no more than 60,000 characters) to make it easier for others can promote your fact sheet or alert.
People to Know in your State
- Child Advocacy Action Centers
- Advocates in Your State: Voices for America’s Children and Kids Count
- Contact information for local and national media