Policy Matters Blog

Advocacy Amplification Every Day

I chuckle getting up to go to the gym during this month, as finding a parking spot or a treadmill is impossible.  Some days I wait patiently and other days I complain aloud and think, "How much longer before these people give up and things are quiet again!"  

Unfortunately, advocacy messages can sometimes lack traction because legislators also think, "when will these people give up?" So much like the start of a new year, passionate professionals are full of energy and excitement.  They are filled with hope and the alluring promise of change.   

Advocacy, or the act of pleading for or in behalf of another, is very much like a new year's resolution.  Something happens that energizes us to act.  We may spring into action and are eager to share loudly the injustice or espouse the desire for change to happen in a dramatic fashion.  The problem is that it just doesn't work.  

Sometimes we seek change so desperately that we set huge goals that we can't achieve quickly and are left disappointed or frustrated. But starting with a small goal and growing into a larger goal can often create a more impactful change.

For those who know me, the term "amplification" has been my mantra for the last few years.  I read about female White House staffers who adopted a meeting strategy they called "amplification": When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution - and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.  

The important thing to know is that amplification takes team-work.  It requires professionals to work together to strengthen their voice collectively!

Rise each day committed to taking an actionable step toward your goals and intentions. It doesn't matter how small or big the step. Just be mindful of the advocacy steps you are taking. It is often a series of small steps that moves us farther.  

Let's call it, "Advocacy Amplification Every Day!"   

Some common advocacy approaches to help are as follows:  

Before engaging in outreach, it is vital that you engage in advance planning to identify the issue you want to address, the objective you want to achieve, the key stakeholders and decision makers involved, and the obstacles to your success. A well-thought out communications plan will ensure that you are targeting the right audience with the right information through the right channel.

Your outreach should be clear, concise, and targeted at a specific audience around an issue they will find relevant. It is important to remain focused on your objective, stick to a few key messages, and always emphasize potential benefits to students and schools.  

Once you know your audience and key messages, you can implement your communications plan and get your message out. This can take the form of a call or email, an article in your school's newsletter, a letter to the editor or Op Ed in a local paper, or even your own social media accounts, which you can use to reach an even wider audience.  And don't ever forget the power of a personal visit to share your passion.  

Finally, find ways to recognize others to increase awareness and involvement in the school community around a specific issue or priority such as resilience, personal achievement, or the important contribution of a colleague to student success.   

By ensuring that you take small, persistent, actionable steps you will look back to recognize that, "Together We Do Some Pretty Great Things!"