Advocacy is typically a word that the non-profit and, more so, charitable sector has come to fear and loathe. We all need to do it. We all want to do it better.
But, we don’t dare talk about it.
“We take a very broad view of advocacy. The Free Dictionary defines it as ‘The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy.’ In our approach , we include not only ‘public-policy advocacy,’ i.e. organized, legitimate attempts to influence decisions of government and other public authorities at local, national and international levels, but several other dimensions as well. These include efforts to influence decisions and behavior of the media, institutions, corporations and other commercial interests, collective and individual behavior and public opinion.” Advocacy School
But what does it mean to be part of advocacy? To truly become effective advocates? How and where can we learn to do it?
Enter Advocacy School
Veteran lobbyist Sean Moore has started a school for the novice as well as the veteran, for board members and senior management as well as front-line workers and volunteers. It’s called Advocacy School.
If you want to improve your capacity and ability to influence public opinion and the decisions of government and others, Advocacy School is worth a look.
The mission of Advocacy School is to develop and deliver training and other supports on the means by which individuals and organizations can learn to effectively engage the public at large and governments in particular on issues of public policy and social change. Effective engagement would subsequently advance their beliefs, goals, visions and interests.
As Sean has stated previously: “Discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of Canadian democracy traditionally focus on the mechanics of elections and the machinations of parliament, an independent judiciary, rule of law and a free press – all important elements, to be sure. But isn’t the nature of our democratic practice between elections, the exercise of our right to petition government and to participate in policy and decision-making, the human effort and creativity to forge consensus on important questions – aren’t these all also important features of our civic life?”
Creating both a repository of useful information, expertise and practices, Advocacy School seeks to foster a community and dialogue about effective advocacy across the country. It’s a new project, a work-in-progress, and you are invited to join and help shape what the site will become. They’re planning to roll out a range of advocacy training workshops across Canada and on-line webinars starting early 2011. Take some time to review what they’re planning, and let them know what you’re interested in.
See Sean in action, from the 2009 Maytree Leadership Conference – Influencing Decision-Makers: The Narrative of Persuasion. Sean teaches participants how to sharpen their organization’s messages and be more effective in public policy advocacy.
We love the idea of Advocacy School. We hope you’ll join, play, learn, teach and share Advocacy School with your networks.