An action alert is a message that an organization sends to mobilize people - often members of their group and supports of a specific point of view - calling on them to take action to influence public policy. Typically, action alerts are in reference to a timely issue, where prompt action is needed in order to affect upcoming decisions. Action alerts are considered a cost-effective and efficient grassroots organizing tool and are employed widely by many advocacy organizations. A well-designed action alert can be a "powerful way to invite people to participate in the processes of a democracy."
Action alerts may, for instance, ask supporters to:
- Contact their member of Congress in support of proposed legislation; or
- Write a letter to the editor about a specific item in the news.
Action alerts commonly begin by explaining the public policy issue to the recipients, and then tell the reader how they can impact the decision. Action alerts go by many other names; Amnesty International, for instance, refers to them as "Urgent actions"
Organisations that use action alerts
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- American Family Association
- Public Citizen
- National Right to Work Committee
- Tea Party Express
- Free Software Foundation
- The one-hour activist: the 15 most powerful actions you can take to fight for the issues and candidates you care about Christopher Kush, John Wiley and Sons, 2004; ISBN 0-7879-7300-9, ISBN 978-0-7879-7300-1.
- Cybercitizen: How to Use Your Computer to Fight for All the Issues You Care about Christopher Kush, Macmillan, 2000; ISBN 0-312-26305-8, ISBN 978-0-312-26305-8.
- The Nonprofit Manager's Resource Directory, Ronald A. Landskroner, John Wiley and Sons, 2001; ISBN 0-471-39242-1, ISBN 978-0-471-39242-2.