tools & tips
Bow Seat’s Advocacy Project Advisor is available to you throughout the Competition period for questions, brainstorming, and guidance. We encourage you to maintain regular communications with us. Get in touch with the Advocacy Project Advisor at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On these pages, you will find some resources to help you get started on your project: educational materials for learning more about marine debris; tools and tips for implementing a campaign; and inspiration to get your creative juices flowing!
implementing an advocacy campaign
We’ve compiled some resources to help you navigate the process of developing an advocacy campaign, including ways to agree on project decisions with your group members, organize tasks and deadlines, write a persuasive letter, and raise money for your project.
Helpful Advice for Implementing an Advocacy Campaign
- 8 Steps to Successful Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns
- 5 Steps to Planning an Advocacy Campaign
- Consensus in Large Groups (PDF)
Sample Brainstorming Worksheets
- USA Weekend Make A Difference Day Youth Toolkit (PDF)
- Focusing on the Issue (Pages 6-7)
- Making it Work (Pages 13-14)
- Creating a Task List (Page 15)
- Template Letter to Reach Out to Potential Collaborators (PDF)
- Persuasive Letter to Businesses and Friends (PDF)
- Persuasive Letter to Principal (PDF)
Remember, students and groups interested in participating in the Competition must create an account and register through our online system. Your registration must be approved before moving forward in the Competition. Registrations are evaluated and approved on a rolling basis; students and sponsors will receive an email regarding their registration status within one week of submission. Once your project has been approved, use the Final Project Report checklist to keep track of the information and supporting materials you’ll need to document and collect throughout your project.
creating a video
As part of your project, you’ll be creating and submitting a 3-5 minute video that tells the story of your/your group’s advocacy campaign from beginning to end. We’ll be sharing these videos to educate others about marine debris issues and to inspire them to become a part of the solution in their communities.
Your video should provide answers to some key questions about your project, including:
- What were the goals of your marine debris advocacy campaign?
- How did you accomplish these goals?
- What activities did you carry out as part of your campaign?
- What challenges did you face as you developed your campaign and how did you address them?
- What is the message about marine debris that you would like viewers of your video to take away (what is your call-to-action)?
Never created a video before? Don’t panic! We don’t expect you to become professional filmmakers. Your emphasis should be on content. Simple and straightforward videos can be very effective. Below are some helpful tips and links to get you started:
Tip 1: Gather video footage to document your project’s progress every step of the way!
The simplest way to gather footage and upload it to a computer for editing is to use a digital camera with an SD memory card. See if you can borrow a camera to use for the duration of your project. If that’s not possible, you can also easily shoot footage with your Android or Apple device. Transfer your footage to a computer until you are ready to edit it into your final video.
Can’t shoot all of the video footage you need? There are websites that provide video clips that are copyright-free.
Tip 2: Make sure you capture enough content to feature in your video.
You may be asking yourself: “What type of footage should I be shooting? How much footage do I need?” Shoot footage of meetings with your Sponsor, interviews with key partners or community members, activities in the community, background scenes, and images (for example, to illustrate a marine debris problem) to use with voiceover – so you can explain the project as a narrator. It’s OK to have too much footage! You will be editing it down into a 3-5 minute video at the end of your project.
Don’t forget to have each person who is prominently featured in your video (or their parent or guardian if they are under 18) sign a Video Release Consent Form giving us permission to share your work publicly. It’s what professional videographers do all the time – just print out a bunch of copies and carry them with you when you plan to film. You will submit these forms to us with your Final Project Report.
Tip 3: Transfer your unedited video footage to a computer for editing.
- Transferring Files from a Digital Camera with an SD Memory Card (the simplest way to go!): Just slide the SD card into your computer’s port and download all of your video files to your computer.
- Transferring Files from an Android Device to a PC
- Transferring Files Between an Android Device and a Mac Computer
- Transferring Files From Your iOS Device to Your Mac Computer or PC
Tip 4: Ready to edit your clips into a 3-5 minute video? Here are some helpful links to get you started:
- For Mac Users: Editing with iMovie (this editing software comes with your Mac)
- For PC Users: Editing with Windows Movie Maker (this editing software comes with your PC)
- Using YouTube’s Video Editor
- There are many other editing programs that are free, or offer free trials, including (but not limited to): Camtasia; VideoSpin; Avidemux; and WeVideo
Tip 5: Almost there! Once you’re ready to finalize and share your video, make sure you have:
- Credited all of the informational sources, images, video clips, music, and people used to create your video
- Uploaded your video to YouTube or Vimeo and named it using this format: 2017 Bow Seat Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition - Project Title
- Collected all of the signed Video Release Consent Forms of featured individuals. You will need these when you submit your Final Project Report!
Tip 6: YouTube and Vimeo videos are great sources of information!
Don’t be afraid to search for additional tools, tips, and examples of short informational videos. You may also want to recruit a team member or Sponsor who has had some experience with simple video editing to help get you started.
Good luck and have fun – we’re excited to view your final videos! They will not be evaluated by their technical quality; rather, we will consider their artistic voice and students’ passion in advocating for behavior change to address the marine debris problem. If you need help during any part of the video creation process, don’t hesitate to contact Bow Seat’s Advocacy Project Advisor at: email@example.com.
conducting a safe and environmentally friendly community or beach clean-up
When cleaning up your neighborhoods or beaches, it’s important to do so in a way that is not harmful to yourself or the environment. Follow these safety protocols if a clean-up is part of your advocacy project:
- NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project Safety Protocols Tutorial
- Ocean Conservancy: Do-It-Yourself Cleanup Tool Kit
- National Park Service Clean-up Safety Guidelines