Our 350 staff team led a fun action this week focused on increasing the pressure on MPs responsible for the Fast-track Bill process. We hosted an online event which aimed to fill the calendars of those MPs with invitations asking them to make the right decision to stop the fast-track bill. 

We know that calendar invitations go straight through to the MPs email and flooding their calendar is a great way to get a busy person’s attention. The National MPs we were targeting are busy people. Busy removing environmental and Te Tiriti protections, off their feet meeting with lobbyists. We wanted to show our volunteers that their voice is powerful, and that their calendar invites would create disruption in the MPs office – just what we need to get their attention and show that we will be holding these MPs directly accountable for their recommendations about the Fast-track Bill.

We would recommend doing this tactic for any campaign you are running. It’s super easy! Volunteers use their email provider’s calendar function to invite the MP to a meeting anytime in a specific week. They give it a cheeky title and send it off – super simple! It can be done using any online calendar app (such as Google, Outlook and Apple) which make it accessible to a wide range of volunteers. For those who find this sort of tech tactic a bit challenging, you can provide them with guides on how to set up the calendar invites, such as for Gmail, Outlook and Apple, or instead suggest they email the MP directly. 

Check out this example of our successful action – the four National MPs would’ve opened their calendar the morning after our action and seen this…

Screenshot of calendar that is filled with invites for meeting requests. Every single day of the week and every single hour has multiple requests.

To set up the tactic we invited our volunteers to a secret action that was to take place over one evening. The action was kept secret from volunteers prior to joining the call to stop any leaks getting out to the MPs we were targeting. When people jumped on the call we gave a short overview of how calendar tactics have been used successfully for other campaigns and why we wanted to use it for this Fast-track Bill action. 

We provided the volunteers on the call with: 

  • A list of the emails for the people we were targeting (four MPs).
  • Our own email so people could cc us into their invite which is crucial if you want to build a picture of how many people are calendar jamming like the image above.
  • Ideas of what to say in the calendar meeting invite title and description. 

These kinds of novel actions are important to keep campaigning interesting for ourselves and our volunteers, and are an effective, quick way to show power to MPs. Let us know if you try this tactic out yourself!