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Welcome to the Callshop Meeting howto!

Great! You found your way to our Callshop Meeting howto. With this howto we offer support to everyone who wants to arrange his one Callshop Meeting. Additionally to this howto we provide a detailed report about our experiences. To lessen your work, we provide some templates which could be used. Some parts are marked as optional. With these parts you can extend your campaign. At the bottom of this page we collect pictures, videos (like this one from the test version (Youtube)) and reports from former Callshop Meetings, so send us some of these!

Any questions? Don't be shy! Subscribe to our mailing list and ask some questions or write a mail to

In the german howto are several templates, some also in english. So if you need translations from german to english, just ask!


The idea

We want to influence the evaluation of the EU Data Retention Directive and to inform the public about it. The Callshop Meeting is a novel campaign and a possibility to take influence on Europe. Two aspects are implied:

a) Citizens as lobbyists for their rights
b) Publicity in your town

These goals are achieved by calling members of the European Parliament in public and inviting the press to this event. The call should point out, that also normal citizens are concerned about this topic and that the directive should be abolished. It should be as easy as possible for the participants to call Brussels. They don't have to search the phone numbers or prepare all the information themselves. Moreover it's easier for the people, if they don't have to do the calls alone.

Background knowledge

Our motivation to make a Callshop Meeting was the evaluation of the data retention directive (Directive 2006/24/EC). The evaluation is a good chance to influence the content of the directive. The disclosure of the evaluation report from the European Commission delayed and was published on 18. April 2011. The report presents faults and risk of the data retention. The presented statistics and individual cases don't confirm the necessity of the data retention as showed in the shadow report published by EDRi and AK-Vorrat. Until the end of the year (2011) the European Commission should present a recommendation for changes of the data retention directive. So NOW the time is right to influence the politicians in Europe!

how to start

Team building

It's always hard to start a new campaign, but it's much easier, if you're not alone. So try to find people, who support you. You can for example contact people from the youth organisations of the parties. Another advantage of having support from these organisations is, that it increases the probability, that the members of the parliament want to talk to you. Moreover labour unions, Linux user groups, humanistic groups or human rights groups should be interested in this topic.

Contact them and visit them at their meetings to present the idea. These organisations have also a lot of possibilities to further publish the idea and to win participants.

Optional: You can also ask professional organisations, who are affected by data retention, like priests, lawyers or physicians. Their support also points out, that not only parties, but also normalcitizens are concerned about the data retention.

Meeting location

Try to meet once a week and search an adequate place for your meetings. Get to know each other and find out, which skills you have and distribute the tasks according to that. Find a way to stay in contact and to communicate (Jabber, mails, Wiki, ...), note each other's telephone numbers.

General requirements

Determine timeline

  • Date of the Callshop Meeting: If you want to call the people in Brussels, you have to search days, on which groups or committees take place (Calender of the Parliament).
  • You can ask the office of one of the members, who supports your idea, which date would be good. The youth organisations of the parties can help with that. For example the members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs should be available on the selected date.
  • Meetings: Plan, how often you want to meet before the Callshop Meeting.

Optional: You can organize workshops or other events about the topic as preparation or addition for the Callshop Meeting. There you can train the people for the calls or win new participants. Moreover such an event is one more reason to publish a press release, in which you can also mention the Callshop meeting.

Determine callshop

Probably every town has a central internet cafe. Of course it's advantageous, if a lot of people pass by and you get their attention. This way you can possibly find spontaneous participants for the Callshop Meeting. Inform the owner of the shop about your plans and reserve some seats next to each other.


In Germany we have freedom of assembly, thats the easiest way to announce campaigns like this to the german authorities.

Which members of the Parliament

In our Callshop Meeting we decided to call the members of the parliament which contain to the German party SPD or these who are living in our federal state. The SPD assemblyman are currently the important 'swing voters', that means they hold the balance and thus they can decide how the results of the evaluation look like. Of course, responsible people from the committees and boards are very interesting, too. For example, in Germany there exists data protection officers for every federal state and one for Germany itself.

Optional: It quite makes sens to contact assemblyman who are against the data retention directive. You can encourage them. Additionally you can talk about trends, background information about the polls, the next steps of the evaluation process.


Contact members of the parliament

After you have chosen the representatives, which you want to call during the Callshop Meeting, you should to contact them and ask, whether they want to talk to you and when they are available at the chosen day. We sent three mails for that purpose:
1. General information ( german example). Usually they reply within four working days, but some will simply ignore your mail. We sent them also the interview guide, which was given to the participants, so that they and their assistants could prepare for the call.
2. Some days later we sent a second mail to those, who didn't reply or who sent a declining ( german example).
3. We even sent a third mail to those, who ignored us ( german example).

Generally the mails should include a phone number, because some offices prefer calling you, when they are interested. If they refer to a member of the parliamentary group, who is responsible for the topic, then stress, that you want to know each members personal opinion, because they all have to decide about it.

Gaining participants

The fewest participants will be pedestrians, so it makes sense to discuss the backgrounds of the data retention at meetings of the participate groups, e.g. on regular tables. So you have the chance to motivate the people from face to face. Calls over mailing lists, newsletters and boards are not very capable. Always try to motivate people face-to-face and don't forget your friends!

press work

  • get in touch with your regional and national press and inform them about your activities
  • write press releases about your event and send them to your press contacts
    • maybe somebody has a list of press contacts or maybe some of you know some reporters personally
  • write invites to all events
    • and invite everybody you know
  • choose a somebody who is responsible for press contacts and the coordination of the press work.


  • organize a press breakfast: It is a good opportunity to get personally in touch with the reporters and they get a to know you as well
    • show a power point presentation at this meeting. It should contain the event itself, some background information, a short explanation about your organization, the names and a short presentation of the parlamentarians which will participate in the callshop meeting. Additionally, you can show the impression of past Callshop Meetings.
  • make a press file
    • It should contain more or less some information as in the presentation, but in a larger extent. Furthermore mention all supporters group.
    • Add as well all other events which you might organize as well.

Standardize phone calls

The interview guide should be handed to the participants. This should contain background information to the data retention, in short, and general question which could be aasked and answers whether the assemblyman would get rid of the callers.

Think about what information the assemblyman should remember after the call, what are the real important things?

  • 5 minute short info
  • EDRi/AK-Voorat shadow repirt
  • the next big demonstration "Freiheit statt Angst", 10. September 2011 in Berlin ;-)

Organize technique

In general you need just some computer with internet, Skype and headsets. The headsets should be testet (voice quality, broken micro or earphones). To record the calls Callgraph is a adequate tool. Skype calls get automatically recorded. With the windows sound mixer sometimes you get bad results. Test it before. To avoid problems with existing Skype installation you can use Skype portable as backup.

For each Skype account you need a minimum amount of 11.5 Euro. With credit card Skype only allows to pay for one Skype account. So to charge more than one account you need Paypal or Giropay. The AK-Vorrat group from Regensburg can provide 7 accounts with sufficient credit.


  • 1 person: technical support
  • 2 persons: information desk
  • 1-2 persons: press and interviews
  • 2 persons: distributing info material at the street

post-processing of the campaign

When the Callshop Meeting is over you should go through the filled callingcards. There you can see which MPs were interested in additional information. After 2-3 days the informational material is sent to these MPs. The waiting period was chosen so that after a few days the MPs and their staff are reminded of the campaign. Don't forget to listen through the recorded calls - there you can find interesting quotes from the MPs for press releases.

After this you should have enough enough material to write your press release. Congratulations! Now you can enrich this How-To with new picures, videos or reports and give back your experiences, tips and ideas for improvements to the community.

Reports, videos and pictures

Regensburg 5. May 2011




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