A successful RecycleMania campaign should include a call to action for your target audience. Set a specific goal(s) that you want students, staff or the entire campus to achieve during the competition. Beyond encouraging your target audience to simply recycle more, give them a specific goal or outcome to strive for. make sure it's a 1) positive goal and 2) one that can be achieved during the time frame of the competition. If you're confident your school will be competitive in a specific national rankings, great. But if not, or beating other schools is not likely to motivate your campus, consider other ways to frame success. Some alternate examples:
- Beat Specific Rival(s) – For schools with a healthy dose of school spirit, this is one of the best ways to go. But make sure to reach out to your counterpart on rival campus(es) to ensure they’re participating and that you’re reporting in the same division and competition categories.
- Best in State or Conference – There can only be one national Grand Champion, and if you already know that’s not likely to be you, set a more attainable goal of coming out on top within your state or your athletic conference.
- Pick Your Category – If your campus generates a lot of trash relative to recycling, don’t set your challenge to do well in the Grand Champion category. Focus your challenge instead on Paper, Electronics or another category you’ll do better in.
- Compete Against Your Own Record – If beating other school isn't a big motivator, ignore the rankings altogether and frame a challenge around a prevoious benchmark of your schools recycling or compisting efforts. Example: increase the average amount of recyclables collected by 10% from week one and week eight of the tournament. If you participated last year, set your challenge to improve your final ranking position from that result.
- Promote New Initiative – Educate the campus community of a new program such as food composting or single stream collection.
- Engage stakeholders - Build administrative support for resources to expand your recycling infrastructure.
- Target Specific Areas – Increase recycling participation in the residence halls or another targeted area of campus. If you have a targeted audience, don’t squander resources trying to communicate with other communities on campus if it won’t help you reach your ultimate goal.
- Individual Challenge - Skip the collective goal and simply challenge individual students to recycle at least ten items each day, or a similar goal.
Keep in mind, the goal you set does not have to be based on the official, national RecycleMania rankings. They are there to be used as far as they support your outreach goals. Many schools report their weights for internal benchmarking purposes, but base their outreach / education efforts around alternate results closer aligned to their audience and campus priorities.
Whether lofty or humble, a goal must always be paired with its other half: measuring and communicating the results. Once you've asked someone to accomplish a goal, you have to let them know how they're doing, and let them know when they've succeeded or need to try harder.
Having a specific goal in mind allows other aspects of your communications strategy to fall into place. You can ask yourself: What type of activities will get me closer to my goal? Which audiences on campus are helpful to communicate with in order to reach my goal? This brings us to messaging…click here to keep reading!