What is this Tool?
Norm appeals are ways of making group standards more apparent. The norm appeals in this section all do this in a similar manner. They make it more likely that people will observe others doing the activity you are promoting and are a key element of social learning theory (http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/Theory_at_glance/HOME.html)
For example, the size and colour of the Blue Box and the fact that it is put out at the curb has helped people see that others in their community are recycling. Similarly, peer support groups can help participants witness each other making changes. Public commitments (see the Tool Obtaining a Commitment) are observable by others by definition.
Why Would You Use It?
People often decide what attitudes and actions are appropriate from observing those around them. This kind of influence can have long-lasting effects.
When Would You Use It?
Design norm appeals into your programs at all stages, from program planning to feedback, as described below.
How Would You Use It?
Guelph 2000 had residents stake the spot on their properties where their shade trees would be planted. The stakes were painted bright green and had the name Guelph 2000 marked on them.
Aarhus Bike Busters held an opening ceremony on Town Square, where participants were given their bicycles. They all rode an inaugural lap of the town, making the project a visible public event.
How can you make the activity as visible as possible?
Quinte Regional Recycling put stickers on participants' Blue Boxes that read: "We Compost Too."
Earth-Works provided participating business establishments with door stickers advertising that they were active composters. This helped to reinforce composting as a community activity. They also provided residents with lawn signs.
When ReCAP teams were doing home visits they placed a sign on the resident's lawn to inform the neighbours.
Bert the Salmon provided lawn signs so people could show their neighbors they practiced natural lawn care.
Tip: This is particularly important if the activity itself cannot be made very visible.
Tip: Click on an image to enlarge it. Click your back button to return to this page.
An Earth-Works lawn sign.
How might you make use of the following?
Lawn, garden or window signs:
At each EcoTeam meeting, participants of the Global Action Plan shared experiences and results from the previous month.
GAP participants were prepared for the recruiting stage of the program during their introductory event when GAP was described as a program for developing sustainable lifestyles and then helping others to do the same. At the first EcoTeam meeting, participants were introduced to the recruiting process and then asked: "Are you up to attempting to create two more teams at the end of the program?"
A 1996 study of recruiting in the U.S.A. found that 40 percent to 50 percent of individuals who were approached to attend an introductory event agreed to do so, and 85 percent of individuals who attended the introductory event joined EcoTeams.
People receiving home visits from ReCAP were urged, "If you were happy with the service you received, please tell others about it."
AT&T participated in the annual "Telework America Day", a public-private effort to encourage the adoption and growth of telework arrangements through a nationwide campaign of public awareness and education.
In the AIDS Peer Education Program, presentations were performed by peers who were openly in favor of abstinence and condom use. This sent a powerful message to other teens that these choices were not only important but socially acceptable.
For step-by-step instructions on this, see the Tool Word-of-mouth.
Guelph 2000 arranged garden tours to show off homes practising sustainable landscaping techniques.
Go Boulder, JEEP, ReCAP and Quinte Regional Recycling all illustrate the use of media stories that showed community members participating.
During their home visits, Earth-Works' Compost Doctors pointed out how neighbours had overcome similar problems with their composters.
The appeal that asked Claremont residents to recycle stated: "Over 80 percent of Claremonters favour the city's recycling program."
Tip: Show the involvement of appropriate "opinion leaders" - respected people in the community that others will emulate, such as local heros, or business, spiritual or political leaders.