National Drive Electric Week - Resources
Webinar on Thursday, April 27th. If you're thinking of organizing or helping at an event, please join us on our upcoming webinar: Generating Media Attention.
This page has resources to help City Captains and Volunteers organize and run their local events.
|Click on a link to jump directly to a topic:|
|Getting Started – Who · Establish a Committee · Find a Location · Choose Event Activities|
|Event Planning – Sponsorship · Getting EVs · Ride-and-Drives · Planning Activities · Ambassador Schools|
|Publicity – Getting the Word Out · Generating Media Coverage · Artwork|
|The Event – Preparation · Day of the Event · Social Media · Follow-up|
|Additional Resources – Webinars · Files · Nissan Sponsorship · Talking Points on EV Benefits · Site/Article Links|
National Drive Electric Week is an annual celebration and outreach effort that consists of EV activities staged in cities coast to coast and internationally. The goal is to share the experience of electric vehicle owners and bring information about the many reasons to adopt electric vehicles to consumers, policymakers, the media, and the general public.
While the national organizers will help as they can, it is up to each city captain to ensure the overall success of the local events based on good planning, publicity, and outreach. We hope this page will help event organizers and volunteers achieve success.
We call each local lead organizer a city captain. Each city captain leads the organizing effort and ideally assembles a team of volunteers to ensure the success of a National Drive Electric Week event. This section describes what we have found to be the best practices for effective events. This section provides a basic overview of a city captain's role. A city captain can be anyone from a Plug In America, Sierra Club, or Electric Auto Assocation member to an enthusiastic EV driver. City captains have made all of the numerous events held for National Drive Electric Week possible.
A city captain can be a member of Plug In America, Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association or other non-profit or government organization with a mission to promote plug-in electric vehicles. An individual EV advocate with strong community ties can also be a city captain. In order to retain the independent, grassroots flavor that makes NDEW a success, companies or corporate representatives may not take the lead in organizing local NDEW events. If individuals who are part of specific companies do want to play a key role in organizing an event, we encourage them to partner with a community group that will take the lead.
A team can accomplish more than an army of one! While it's important to have one city captain (or two city co-captains) in charge of overseeing the entire local Drive Electric Week effort, it's equally important to have a group or committee involved in the planning process. More people involved in organizing your event will allow you to generate more ideas for a successful event and evenly spread the work (securing permits, recruiting partner organizations, finding sponsors and/or determining how to cover costs, conducting publicity and media outreach, organizing an award ceremony, etc.). Given that each person involved has his/her own personal and professional networks, a planning committee will also ensure that you will have a better-attended event.
This web site will help you manage your event and recruit participants and volunteers. If you are looking for volunteers to help organize your event, let us know; we can email supporters in your area and have them sign up via the web site.
Come to the People. It's much easier to get good attendance at events when we organize Drive Electric Week events in conjunction with existing events or in places where lots of people will likely already be congregating. Examples include farmers' markets, eco-fairs, work-site employee fairs, auto shows, and parking lots of popular stores or libraries open on the day of your event. Permission or permits may be necessary.
Seek to Reach the Uninitiated. There's nothing more fun than a rally with fellow plug-in advocates. But in order to help the plug-in movement thrive and grow, we must reach out to people who know little, or even nothing, about electric transportation. A big parade can help attract media and politicians who might otherwise skip your event, but try to find a densely populated street or path so that most of those observing are new to EVs. Likewise, let's try to stage events in new places and with, or for, people who aren't the "choir." Parks, farmers' markets and traditional auto rallies or shows, noted above, are good ideas.
Local groups are best able to determine the type of events that will be effective, popular, and feasible in their own communities. You'll want to plan an event that builds upon existing community events, is accessible by public transit when possible, will maximize crowds, and will be appealing to the media. Here are some event activity ideas. Details on planning these kinds of events are below in the Planning Activities section.
This section provides details on various aspects of planning and running a Drive Electric Week event.
It may be advantageous to invite corporations and municipalities involved in the EV space to participate in the event. Participation may involve donating money, food, or materials to offset the costs of the event; providing vehicles for showcase/test-rides; setting up a table or booth with information; providing a speaker; publicizing the event to their customers/constituents; etc. City captains are encouraged to ask their cities to officially sponsor the event and perhaps even pass a city council resolution naming September 9-17, 2017, as "[your city] Drive Electric Week." (See the Files section below for sample declarations.)
A template for a letter to a local business or municipality to request involvement is available (.doc, 30 KB).
General Suggestions for Corporate Involvement
City captains are obviously free to accept support in any appropriate form from sponsors. In some cases sponsors may want to donate to a 501(c)3 organization for tax purposes. Setting up a 501(c)3 corporation to run a single event may be impractical, so events may wish to do fundraising under a sponsoring umbrella organization. These arrangements must be made in advance. In cases where the city captain has a relationship with Sierra Club or Electric Auto Association, one of these organizations may be able to play this role. Below are some guidelines from each of the organizations.
The Sierra Club has strict requirements for corporate donations and gifts, which include the following:
Electric Auto Association
Normal EAA chapter rules and guidelines apply. Contact EAA [chairman at electricauto dot org] Ron Freund for more information.
If you're planning to offer test drives or test rides at your event, plan a route ahead of time: something that is not too long so participants can get back to other guests, but varied enough to get a good feel for the car. A good route should have:
Here is information that you can send to participants who are considering doing test rides/drives:
It is your decision what you want to let guests do with your vehicle: look at it, sit in it, ride in it, or drive it. If you'd like to specify any rules or limits, you might want to put a note on the car indicating so. The more you let test-drivers do, the more likely they are to be enthusiastic, but it's important to balance that with your comfort level with having others in your car.
Check your insurance policy beforehand or check with your agent to inquire about coverage when someone else is driving your car. You can probably let others drive the car for quick trips, but check first, as a few policies will not cover even that.
Note that you can't accept money for rides or drives, as that would count as commercial use.
Ask for a valid driver license from anyone wishing to drive.
While on a test ride, here are some things that you might point out:
Here are some details on planning specific activities at your event.
To raise awareness of EV benefits among our youth, National Drive Electric Week has an initiative to involve high schools and colleges nationwide. It's simple: Each local event partners with a school or college near that event. That Ambassador School invites its faculty, staff, students and parents to the event and hosts an EV lecture, if desired. In turn, the local event adds the Ambassador School's name to it press releases.
How it Works:
As an Ambassador School, all the school needs to do is:
As an Ambassador School, the school receives:
Ambassador Schools will help you and National Drive Electric Week by:
The Files section below contains logos that you can use on your Drive Electric Week promotional materials. That section also contains sample documents and templates for media correspondence.
Recruit people to attend your event through your own personal and professional networks, and reach out to allied organizations, such as environmental and transportation-focused groups in your area. Some churches and religious organizations may be interested. Provide allied organizations with a sample recruitment email to their members and/or a sample blurb they can use for their newsletters or web sites. Refer potential attendees to your event page on this site to provide more information about your event.
We recommend city captains encourage participants to register on their event page on the National Drive Electric Week web site. We'll collect and organize information about the participants and the cars they plan to bring, and facilitate sending out event information and reminders. Expect some no-shows anyway, and also people to attend without registering.
There are a number of regional car event calendars that can be useful for promoting our events to our target audience: people who are not specifically aware of electric vehicles. Some examples are listed below.
Publicize the event on web sites and through social media, such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Create a Facebook event or Evite, and invite people online.
Put up flyers at local businesses.
Chris Paine, director of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "Revenge of the Electric Car" talks about National Drive Electric Week 2014 and how you can get involved in your town to spread the word about the joys of driving on electricity.
National Drive Electric Week is a great opportunity for local and national media coverage. Events will feature terrific visuals (EVs, engaged crowds, local leaders/public figures, award ceremonies, decorations, entertainment, etc.) that may be particularly appealing for television and newspaper cameras.
What to Send to Media
To help the media cover your event, you should prepare a media alert as described below.
|What it is:||A media alert is designed to attract media to attend an event or to write about your event before it happens, in order to get the public to attend. It includes a brief explanation of what the event is about, where the event will be held, what time, and who will attend/speak at the event.|
|Sierra Club, Plug In America, and Electric Auto Association will issue to national media outlets:||Roughly three weeks before National Drive Electric Week|
|City captains should email to local news media:||Two weeks before the event, and again one week, then two days before the event, unless media has already responded to your first outreach. It may be helpful to reference national press releases, which are available on the Media page.|
|Sample:||Media Alert template (DOC, 86 KB)|
There are some restrictions on sponsor recognition that apply to press releases and promotional materials in the sponsorship section of this page.
It will be up to city captains or people on your event planning committee to reach out to local reporters and news outlets that cover environmental, political, transportation, and local issues and events. We suggest that city captains contact TV, newspaper, radio, and web/blog reporters in their areas. Reporters' emails can usually be found on the news outlet’s website. Following up with a phone call to make sure they received the advisory and to briefly reiterate your pitch can increase the likelihood of coverage. Mentioning any appealing visuals, speakers, or awards will also increase the likelihood of photo/video coverage.
Take Photos and Video
Make sure to take photos and video at your event. You can provide these photos and videos to the media, include them on your web site and social media. We ask for one great photo from each event for national reporting and promotion.
Submit Letters to the Editor or Op-Eds
Getting letters to the editor published is a great way to educate the community and policymakers about EVs. Consider submitting a letter to the editor just before or just after your event, be sure to give the date of your event which can help you get your letter published. Also, if you have a table set up at your event, we suggest you encourage eager event participants to submit letters to the editor. Provide them with talking points and user-friendly advice for submitting a letter to the editor.
Letters to the editor are typically 100-200 words and written by readers; Op-Eds are typically 500-900 words and signed by community leaders (could be one or two signers). News outlets often publish letters within 1-3 days of receipt, while Op-Eds may take weeks to get published.
See the Talking Points on EV Benefits section for suggestions on themes and statistics to include. Logistical and stylistic tips on getting letters or Op-Eds published include:
Any public site should already have insurance for people on the property. Dealers have insurance for test drives. Private owners should have their own auto insurance. So at most events, additional insurance is not required – only a small portion have required it in past years. But a few places will ask for it. Sometimes this is a request rather than demand; be sure to ask. If you find a good site but it requires insurance, your options are:
If the owner of a venue for a Drive Electric Week event has requested of local event organizers "proof of additional insured," and if the local organizer cannot provide this on his/her own, then the local organizer may approach the organization with which the organizer is most closely affiliated (Sierra Club, Plug In America, or Electric Auto Association) to inquire whether this additional help is possible. If the local organizer is not closely affiliated with any of these three groups, then the local organizer must determine how to proceed on this question on his/her own.
Events organized by Sierra Club leaders
Drive Electric Week events that Sierra Club leaders (staff or volunteers) are organizing (getting the permits, covering costs of the event, etc) can use the Sierra Club's proof of limited liability insurance if a venue requires it for the event, but this does not include test rides/drives.
Test drives and rides are not a Sierra Club activity, and the Sierra Club does not assume liability or responsibility for such activity. These rides are private relationships between the vehicle owners and the passengers, and any coverage or liability is the responsibility of the vehicle owner. If an event will include test rides/drives, that portion of the event must be organized and insured by non-Sierra Club members or organizations.
Events covered by Sierra Club insurance may incorporate ride-and-drives at the events if an auto dealer organizes that part of the event, and if the auto dealer:
If you'd like help pursuing this, please contact your Sierra Club representative.
For events that are covered by Sierra Club insurance and include test rides/drives not operated by auto dealers, non-Sierra Club representatives (like those from EAA, PIA, etc) need to handle all logistics, waivers, and insurance coverage.
If a non-Sierra Club group is organizing/insuring a test-ride component of an event, and a Sierra Club member, staff member, or volunteer wants to participate with their personally owned vehicle or in someone else's vehicle, this is fine, but these Sierra Club members should be informed that they are doing so at their own risk.
Sierra Club leaders and members are able to show off their parked plug-in vehicles at Drive Electric Week events – regardless of who is insuring or organizing that local event.
Events organized by PIA/EAA members
Drive Electric Week events that are organized by representatives of Plug In America or the Electric Auto Association may use a proof of limited liability insurance from Plug In America or Electric Auto Association, depending on which group they are most closely affiliated with.
Events with independent organizers
If local Drive Electric Week event organizers are not affiliated with any of these groups and need to use proof of limited liability insurance, they can use the one from Plug In America.
Send email to volunteers about a week before the event and again a day or two before the event. Let each volunteer know where and when to meet you (or a designated person), and reiterate their expected role/duties.
Send email to all the registered participants. (Details coming...) (directions, oil-free miles sign, charging opportunities)
Print several extra Oil-Free Miles signs (PDF, 1.6 MB) for displaying in vehicles. Drivers can write their current mileage at the top of this page.
Create signs to direct people to your event, explain what the event is about, etc.
Compile a list of companies to recognize at the event – Drive Electric Week sponsors, local event sponsors, companies, local officials, etc.
Determine how you'd like to have cars arranged in your area. For events with a large number of vehicles, assign a volunteer the job of directing people to parking as they arrive.
As people arrive, have your assistant direct them to parking and collect any desired information (e.g. name, car make, odometer, etc.).
If you plan to have a parade or vehicles on display, consider putting the Oil-Free Miles sign (PDF, 1.6 MB) in each vehicle, and each driver can indicate the number of oil-free miles driven thus far.
Take photographs and video at your event.
Collect statistics – number of cars, rides/drives, visitors, etc.
We'd like to see lots of support for National Drive Electric Week via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Attendees are encouraged to post about their experience at events using the hashtag #NDEW2017. See our social media guide for more tips and hints on how to best share your National Drive Electric Week experience.
|Follow @NatDriveElecWk||Tweet #NDEW2017|
Lay out your follow-up plan before the event to maintain your momentum and to keep folks energized and engaged. It is important to thank volunteers and active participants, collect participant contact information, ask them what they thought about the event, and ask them to get involved with future initiatives. Also remember to send the press release to reporters and bloggers who did not attend the event.
Generating Media Attention Thursday, April 27th
Join experts from Plug In America, Resource Media and Sierra Club to learn how to get the most out of communicating with the media to drive coverage, sponsorships and attendance! City Captains and potential City Captains are welcome.
The Drive Electric logo, the term "National Drive Electric Week" and the three organizational logos are protected by copyright and trademark. Use is granted only for promoting National Drive Electric Week events and are subject to the following restrictions:
The graphic below satisfies the above requirements and can be used on flyers, posters, banners, and other promotional materials.
The logos must be used in their entirety and not modified or decorated in any way.
The National Drive Electric Week logo is monochrome using Pantone color 368.
The logos must be used in their entirety and not modified or decorated in any way.
The EAA restricts its logo use to only chapters and otherwise licensed entities. You may use the logo on promotional posters/flyers advertising Drive Electric Week, but will need to request permission if you wish to use the logo for other purposes (e.g. on T-shirts).
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Various (Zip, 6.3 MB)
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Nissan LEAF® Logos
To better promote Nissan's sponsorship, we recommend using official LEAF logos. In order to use the official logos, you need to follow Nissan's usage guidelines.
We also ask that when Nissan LEAF® is used in writing that you ALWAYS display the brand name as Nissan LEAF®. Be sure to include “®” after LEAF® and to capitalize all letters in LEAF®. Once Nissan LEAF® has been mentioned you may drop Nissan and just use LEAF®.
Download Nissan LEAF® graphics: high-res bitmap and vector format files (zip, 1.2 MB)
These are templates and sample documents to help with generating publicity.
These files will help you get support from local companies and cities.
These documents are available in print for event organizers, or you can download and print them yourself for offseason events:
Share these files with attendees:
As part of their national sponsorship, Nissan is generously offering support to events in several ways.
City Captain Kits Nissan is providing city captain kits with a number of items that will be helpful on event day. The kit contents have not been finalized, but we expect them to include a banner, directional signs, city captain t-shirts and some promotional items.
To receive the kit:
Exhibitor Fees Nissan will pay exhibitor fees for Nissan dealers participating in National Drive Electric Week events. There are certain limits and requirements. Dealers may contact their electric vehicle operations manager (EVOM) for details on Nissan's support and exhibitor fee reimbursement
Nissan Contact City captains may contact [NNANissanLEAFNDEW at nissan-usa dot com] with any questions or issues.
These can be used when speaking to the media, crafting letters to the editor, creating fact sheets, etc.
Note that, of course, EVs get even cleaner in places with cleaner electricity sources. We recommend that you read the Union of Concerned Scientists report and update on this topic to familiarize yourself with the EV emissions profile in your region.
These are links to sites and articles with more information about electric vehicles.
Local events will vary; they are independently organized.
© 2011-2017 by Plug In America, Sierra Club and Electric Auto Association
The Drive Electric logo, the term "National Drive Electric Week" and the three organizational logos are protected by copyright and trademark.
Use is granted only for promoting National Drive Electric Week events and are subject to the terms of the event agreement.