The Challenge icon

The Challenge

Engaging and Inspring Communities with Informed Solutions
The Audience icon

The User

Guiding Leaders and Teams to Success

The Playbook icon

A Solution

Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating a Campaign

Community Activation icon

Community Activation

Raising Awareness, Educating, and Motivating the Public to Take Action

The Playbook

  • The playbook is divided into sections corresponding to the 5 phases of a community activation campaign: Prepare, Respond, Monitor and Evaluate, Refine, and Close and Transition.
  • Community activation phases and activities can be sequential or can be implemented in parallel and regularly refined.
  • Regularly revisit relevant playbook sections, download tools and resources to inform decision making depending upon changing information and the evolving situation.

To explore the playbook, click on any of the phases below or use the navigation to the left.

Community Activation Playbook Infographic showing the five main sectionsPrepare Respond Monitor Close Refine

Community Activation

Community activation motivates and inspires the public to act. It incorporates multiple elements tailored to specific communities with the goal of changing behaviors or motivating action:

  • understanding public sentiment
  • raising awareness
  • educating and countering misinformation
  • engaging and involving communities

Who should use this?

Individuals and teams responsible for rapidly standing up and managing a community activation campaign.


When is this useful?

The plays in the playbook are applicable to any mission that requires:

An “ask” or specific request of the public

for action

Motivation for
behavior change

This playbook is particularly useful when the objective requires a nimble infrastructure that can rapidly expand, contract, and disseminate knowledge.


What problem does this solve?

The Challenge

Responses aimed to motivate communities to engage in specific behaviors that can mitigate emergencies or resolve issues are often overlooked or inadequate.

A Solution – The Community Activation Playbook

Effective community activation requires informed messaging based on foundational community research, the evolving science, rapid analysis and translation of data to operations. Having a clear plan for creating an effective campaign increases the likelihood that it will successfully navigate these challenges.

The Approach

The campaign approach centers on principles of flexibility and scientific understanding, where decisions and actions are continually informed by the evolving situation. Many concepts and tactics discussed may be executed in tandem and/or repeated in iterative cycles as more information and impacts are understood.

Tools and Resources

Links to the tools and resources are also embedded within the playbook.
The utility and effectiveness of tools and resources are significantly improved when used in concert with the playbook content.

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The SEM is an effective tool in public health interventions and community activation campaigns, helping to understand the often-cascading barriers and facilitators that influence individuals’ likelihood to change, and informing targeted, realistic, and effective campaign goals.
A tool to track and identify the barriers, facilitators, and potential interventions to employ at each level of behavioral influence for a community activation campaign.
Considerations for standing up a campaign management team responsible for leading strategy, execution and day-to-day campaign operations.
Logic model development guidance with a template and a completed example provided to illuminate the response strategy for the FCR campaign.
A tool to track and identify the barriers, facilitators, and potential interventions to employ at each level of behavioral influence for a community activation campaign.
A tool to assist the user in establishing the campaign’s monitoring and evaluation framework to determine if the campaign is adequately calibrated toward achieving the intended mission outcomes.
An example of the strategic and operational indicators (metrics) used in the Federal COVID-19 Response (FCR) COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) donor activation campaign.


Examples of an oversight team (first table) and CMT (second table) organizational structure with roles and responsibilities. Roles and teams may be combined depending on the campaign goals, budget, and staff skills.
Considerations for creating routine surveillance of the scientific and clinical research landscape.



Considerations for condcutiving formative research about the community and impressions about the creative materials in the campaign

Checklists for condcutiving formative research and launching outreach and education campaigns in a multicultural community

Collection of attributes to identify potential members of a clinical advisory group. Categories of attributes include suggestions for the group structure and the individual member characteristics.

Considerations and activities essential to developing a media plan for message delivery.


Examples of an oversight team (first table) and CMT (second table) organizational structure with roles and responsibilities. Roles and teams may be combined depending on the campaign goals, budget, and staff skills.
Formative research can help to identify potential barriers and motivators for community activation during a PHE.
Representative example of website screen shots used in donor activation programs and their associated applications. Categories include features for local campaign engagement, calls to action, search engine optimization (SEO), and form factor considerations to serve engaging content.
Table reference for various media types and their associated considerations. Media types include paid media, owned media, social media, and earned media. Media types are complemented with considerations, key features, and highlights from other campaign activities.
Narrative reference to define and identify common partner types for community activation campaigns. Defined partner types include opinion leaders from the target geographical community, online, and from frontline workers for a specific public health emergency.

Monitor and EvaluateMonitor and Evaluate


Modeling strategic and operational metrics can help understand the effectiveness of the campaign and the trends of the emergency in the community.



Example of strategies used to balance the narrative during the COVID-19 pandemic campaign for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma donations.

Close and TransitionClose and Transition


Documentation of the methodologies used to conduct the formal lessons learned process to close out an outreach and education program. Tool includes a planning worksheet to provide guidance.


Checklist to identify assets required for campaign transition. Checklist elements describe transition activities including transition planning and execution, community partners, risk management, reporting, and archiving.


This Playbook is a product of lessons learned during the U.S. Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021. The response included a mission-based partnership among components of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense (DoD), originally called Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and later renamed the Federal COVID-19 Response (FCR) team. In 2020, therapeutics were critical to our nation’s recovery from COVID-19, beginning with COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) and expanding to include monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). In June 2020, CCP availability was critical for real-time patient treatment and ongoing COVID-19 therapy research. Realizing the need for coordinated public outreach and action, the COVID-19 therapeutics team within OWS established a cooperative partnership with The Fight Is in Us (TFIIU) coalition to amplify CCP collection progress and platforms currently in the public domain. The FCR team developed and executed a successful campaign to engage and mobilize individuals who recovered from COVID-19 to donate CCP at their local donor centers.

The following assumptions were foundational in crafting the playbook:

  • The community activation campaign is part of the broader response framework. 
  • In a PHE response, the overarching goal  is to protect health and save lives.
  • The PHE requires rapid decisions based on the best available data at the time a decision is being made. 
  • Evolving science must be integrated in real time. 
  • The scope and scale of a PHE may rapidly expand and contract before ending.
  • Knowledge transfer and practice-sharing are needed to support leadership and staff transitions during the response. 
  • The principles of risk communication, crisis communication, and health communication are foundational to the execution of the Playbook content during a PHE. 
  • Planning for recovery, transition, and close-out is integral to response. 
  • Campaign funding and administration will be audited after the PHE ends.