What is this Tool?

Why Would You Use It?

  • Many people do not take action for the simple reason that they forget.

When Would You Use It?

  • Use prompts when people are already predisposed to doing an activity and just need to be reminded to do it.

How Would You Use It?

1. Ensure that people are already predisposed to doing the activity and that key barriers that would prevent them from carrying it out are being addressed.


Free Blue Boxes were given to residents in Quinte, so that they could conveniently place recyclables at the curb for pick up. A strong promotional and educational campaign instructed people about what materials were to be recycled and how to put them out for collection. In addition, the bright blue colour of the boxes helped establish a community norm for participating - people saw their neighbours doing it.

Research conducted by Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled showed that people were generally willing to buy recycled-content products. It also identified three key barriers that the program was therefore designed to overcome. In addition, the organizers provided an intense, broad-based promotional campaign to raise awareness about the program and prepare consumers for seeing the prompts.

The ABC / Count Me In! programs only provided prompts to people who had already committed to do certain activities.

The Montreal Dietary Dispensary provided financially disadvantaged clients with vouchers for home-delivered milk along with one dozen eggs and a supply of minerals every two weeks. All clients received personalized nutritional counseling.

Your Program

For step-by-step instructions, see the Tools Building Motivation Over Time, Financial Incentives and Disincentives and Overcoming Specific Barriers.

2. Make the prompt noticeable.


Drama Downunder offered an online reminder system that prompted participants to get tested regularly.

The bright Blue Boxes used in Quinte were hard to miss. The "Beside and Inside" cards were 8.5" x 14" and printed in two colours.

The ABC / Count Me In! programs emailed their prompts to participants.

The Montreal Dietary Dispensary encouraged clients to drink sufficient milk to feed their baby. To reinforce this habit, women were encouraged to write B for baby on bottles of milk.

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Get In the Loop image
Get in the Loops shelf talkers were 4.25 inches tall by 5.5 inches high (10.8 cm x 13.3 cm) and were printed in three colours. They carried the same logo that was used in all advertising and promotion.

Your Program

What are some ways that you can ensure that your prompt is noticeable?

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3. Describe in positive, clear terms the specific action that you want people to do.


One of COAST's main slogan was Get your tackle tested.

Quinte's Blue Boxes carried the words, "We recycle." In some locations, decals were also placed on the boxes, listing the materials that could be placed in them for collection. In addition, the "Beside and Inside" cards listed which reyclables to put inside, and which to put alongside, the box.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled's posters asked shoppers to "Look for this Symbol" (the program logo on the shelf talkers).

The ABC / Count Me In! programs sent participants e email messages that asked them to click through to a personalized website address that reminded them about the actions they had pledged to do at the workshop.

Your Program

What are some positive words you could use to clearly identify the action you want people to take?

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4. Ensure that the prompt is presented as close in time and space as possible to the action you want people to do.


North Shore Recycling placed a reminder sticker for its compost coaching program across the top seam of every compost box sold by partner municipalities.

COAST gave free branded underwear to young people who were screened, as a reminder of the importance of using condoms (and regular screening.)

Quinte residents who saw their neighbours putting out their Blue Boxes the night before collection were reminded to do the same. The "Beside and Inside" cards were compact, attractive and sturdy enough that people put them up on their kitchen refrigerators.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled's in-store promotional items were placed near where the buying decision was made. The shelf talkers in particular were noticed by shoppers just as they were about to select each product from the shelf.

Your Program

How might you do this?

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