We've been advising one of our not-for-profit contacts on the best way to get public figures and groups to endorse their campaign. There are a few simple steps to follow:
Identify a person/group with similar aims. Research anyone you plan to approach. If, in the past, they've held an opposing position then you need to be aware this could mean they still won't agree with your stance; or if they have changed sides then their backstory may overshadow your campaign. Also if they've had a change of heart, you need to consider how likely it is that they will change back in the future, gaining you publicity for all the wrong reasons.
Once you've identified them, think about the best way to work with them. Would a photo get in the papers quicker than issuing a statement? Are they only one person of many that you want to support your cause? In which case, will they be happy to stand or be named alongside your other high profile supporters? Or should they be used individually?
If opting for a statement, then make it easy for them. NOTE: at this point, you still won't have contacted them yet. However:
*draft some possible statements for them to make
*write a briefing sheet for them that identifies the key issues in your campaign
* draft a covering letter or email that explains why you think you should work together, mention your shared aims, complementary audiences, timeline for the campaign, coverage and budget for the campaign, etc.
Now, make your first contact. Send an email or letter with all the information outlined in the step above.
Follow up with a telephone call. And another if needed.
It may be that your first attempt to work together will be refused but focus on building a good relationship with your contact, and make it clear that even if they feel this campaign doesn't fit you would like to contact them again in the future with other campaigns.
If your first contact is succesful then work with both press teams to issue press releases and manage publicity. You'll automatically double your reach and certain sections of the media may respond to press releases from your collaborator better than from you.
So to summarise: Prepare. Persevere. Publish
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