Note: these questions and answers refer to our virtual Day of Action. The in-person component is suspended due to COVID-19.
What is the Day of Action?
The Day of Action is The Planetary Society's premier global advocacy event. We provide opportunities for members to take direct action in support of our three core enterprises: planetary exploration, planetary defense, and the search for life.
U.S. residents can register for in-person meetings with congressional offices in Washington, D.C. (note: the current Day of Action will consist of virtual meetings due to COVID-19) or pledge to take individual actions from home. Members outside the U.S. can pledge to take individual actions.
The Planetary Society provides training, talking points, background information, and other resources to make our members effective space advocates.
What's the difference between "registering" and "pledging to take action"?
Registration is for the full Day of Action experience: a day of direct advocacy, face-to-virtual-face with congressional staff and lawmakers. In addition to the meetings, you will need to participate in a 3-hour training session on the Sunday prior to the Day of Action in order to meet your teammates, practice your talking points, and otherwise prepare for your meetings. Registration requires a small fee and is available to U.S. residents only.
Pledging to take action is free and available to anyone in the world. By pledging, you commit to taking some form of individual advocacy action on the Day of Action. We provide a number of action opportunities that can be done on your own schedule, including social media posts, prompts to call Congress (if you live in the United States), and online petitions and messages. We will email you with updates and background information prior to the Day of Action itself, but there is no required training prior to participation. It's a good option for people outside the U.S. or who cannot commit to a full day of meetings.
Why does it cost money to register?
Our registration fee helps offset a portion of the costs associated with the in-person Day of Action. This includes paying advocacy contractors, securing meeting and event spaces, and purchasing related software licenses.
Pledging to take individual actions is free.
What is the time commitment to participate?
For the full experience, you should expect anywhere from 3 - 7 meetings spaced out throughout the Day of Action. Many people take the day off of work to accommodate this, or otherwise maintain a flexible schedule to ensure they can attend every meeting. In addition, the Sunday prior to the Day of Action requires another 3 hours of your time for our intensive training session between 11am PT - 2pm PT (2pm ET - 5pm ET). Expect to spend a few hours before the training reviewing materials and preparing for your meetings in the months prior to the Day of Action itself.
For people pledging to take individual actions, expect to spend less than an hour on our activities, which can be done at your discretion.
What's it like?
The most common experience of our participants is exhilaration. It's rewarding and fun to share your passion with the people who can make a positive difference in the future of space exploration.
Your schedule is provided via a custom web portal that provides meeting context, participant information, and links to your Zoom meetings. We run a Slack channel with all participants during the day so you can chat and share your success stories with other Society members and staff. We also provide special events like exclusive mission briefings by leaders in the scientific community and NASA.
Do I need to be a space expert?
No! As a citizen of the United States, you have a right to express your views to your political representatives regardless of your background or occupation. If you love space, you can tell your lawmaker that you'd like them to prioritize investments in space. Simple as that.
That said, we do offer pathways to deepen your knowledge in advance of the Day of Action with background materials and our free online course, Space Advocacy 101. We also provide training and opportunities to practice prior to your meetings so that you can an effective advocate for space.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?
You need to be a U.S. resident in order to register for the full Day of Action. Individuals outside the United States may pledge to take action in support of our advocacy activities.
What will I be advocating for?
Our exact issues shift in response to current political needs and policy developments, but in general, we will focus on issues related to The Planetary Society's three core enterprises: planetary exploration (both human and robotic), planetary defense, and the search for life. We always include detailed proposals for NASA funding and specific missions related to those key areas. If you're curious, read through our official talking points from a previous Day of Action.
Will I meet directly with my member of Congress?
While we always try to schedule an in-person meeting with the lawmaker, generally you will meet with a high-level staff member in their Washington, D.C. office.
Is it effective?
Yes. Research by the Congressional Management Foundation shows that, for non-partisan issues like space exploration, in-person constituent advocacy has the highest impact on the decision process for lawmakers:
What technology or software do I need?
If you've ever done work or school remotely, you have what it takes to participate in the virtual Day of Action. You need a computer/laptop with a webcam and a microphone. We use Zoom for meetings and training, and Slack for group discussion and hanging out during the day.