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Inspiring Coalition Members to Participate in an Advocacy Campaign. Parent Liaison Institute February 2010. What characteristics made these powerful leaders effective in motivating change?. Famous, historical leaders had…. passion ability to lead by example selfless motivations

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Inspiring Coalition Members to Participate in an Advocacy Campaign

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Inspiring Coalition Members to Participate in an Advocacy Campaign

Parent Liaison Institute

February 2010

What characteristics made these powerful leaders effective in motivating change?

Famous, historical leaders had….

  • passion

  • ability to lead by example

  • selfless motivations

  • faith (in themselves and spiritually) that they could create change and the belief that doing so was their purpose

  • fearlessness

  • willingness to do whatever it took (even die)

Do you know who this woman is?

This is Susan G. Komen’s sister: Nancy Goodman Brinker

We don’t need to become “historical figures” to be inspirational, but what can we learn from successful motivators for change?

To inspire people to get involved we need to……

  • appeal to their emotions

  • ask people directly to be involved

  • organize events that create media interest

  • make people feel like they are part of a solution

  • create events where people can leave with a feeling of accomplishment

  • maintain unwavering determination in yourself

To motivate others, you have to be enthusiastic and motivated yourself!!

  • When you became a PL what was your motivation?

    • Did you dream of a better future for children?

    • Did you think you could make a difference by becoming an advocate to increase awareness, educate and protect funding?

  • What articles, video clips and issues/problems get you fired up?


  • How you speak about advocacy is how your audience will feel.

    • “This is going to be FUN and INTERESTING”!


    • “Well, now we have to do this advocacy stuff…”

  • Believe that what you do is truly going to make a difference

    • Be the change you want to see in the world

  • When you are feeling burned out, or overwhelmed, you need to take a break and “re-charge your battery”.

    • If Coalition members sense you have given up, they will too.



What are the pros and cons to participating in an advocacy campaign?

How can we be ahead of the game?

  • Know what the negatives/cons could be, and be ready with a positive solution!!!

  • Avoid getting too technical and have a way to get people involved without risking losing their interest.

If people say no, respect that

and move on…..

You may be passionate about your beliefs, but that alone won’t convince people to agree with you. You need to understand the “what’s in it for me” details.

Does what you are trying to get them to advocate for ultimately serve their needs?

What motivates people to get involved?

  • The issue is personal and directly affects them

  • Empathy

  • If you don’t speak up, you will feel guilty when it fails

  • Feeling that something is morally wrong and you need to change it

  • Desire to please or help someone

  • Competition

  • It sets a good example for their children

  • Acknowledgement/Being noticed

  • Desire to be part of a group

  • The possibility of failing is terrible

  • It feels good to help

  • Empowerment

Have you ever heard someone who cares so deeply about their cause, they get caught up in their own dialogue, and loses the rest of the group?

It takes a lot of effort to do all the talking and coordinating. The ironic thing is that it’s less effective.

Take the pressure off yourself by asking more open-ended questions and then listen to what they say.

You’ll hear clues about what’s important to them and how they’d like to be involved.

Educate and expose your team

  • Provide knowledge and first hand exposure to local programs and problems (bus tour, speakers etc.)

  • Have Matt come and present on Advocacy and other legislative topics

  • Give them the “Never Again” article, your community impact report and other well-written pieces

  • Look at your vision and mission and think about how advocacy fits in

  • Ask people to be involved in the things that they are specifically passionate about

  • Keep in mind that movements create leaders, leaders don’t create movements – as people get involved and comfortable, give them the encouragement to realize their potential

Make the advocacy & communication easy

  • Keep language simple (avoid acronyms) don’t make it or let it get too confusing

  • Have a plan that is attainable and delegate so that everyone has a part and no one is over-burdened

  • If the information from ECIC is too confusing, speak up!!!!!! If you don’t understand it, you can’t explain it!

Present a well-organized plan that is easy to get involved in with lots of options…..

  • Attend Coffee meetings

  • In charge of finding out the legislator’s public schedules

  • just showing up for moral support,

  • asking friends to sign petitions etc,

  • speaking to groups,

  • helping to organize a bus tour

  • participate in the bus tour (and invite a friend or two)

  • go on the radio, write editorials,

  • help with the web site, news letter or facebook,

  • distribute information,

  • write direct letters to the legislators

  • Sign people up to vote

What do you do when you feel your efforts are getting you nowhere….

  • Change your focus to another race (Governor, School boards, etc)

  • Work on projects that directly impact the children in your community - this is also a critical piece that will help Great Start, and what lots of our Coalition members want to do anyway

  • Try to look at the Legislator’s interests and make connections between that and early childhood.

Are you focusing on only one certain outcome and not being open to unexpected opportunities?

Have you ever noticed that once you let go of how you think it should be, a jaw-dropping opportunity falls in your lap?

You can learn to do this deliberately instead of it being a rare-occurrence. Stay focused on your goal and at the same time, flexible how you achieve it.

The idea that sways your legislator’s vote can come from anyone, and in the most unexpected time.

Have a plan that includes fun

  • offer silly awards and prizes

  • take pictures along the way to have a slide show – everyone likes to see themselves in pictures!

  • celebrate the successes

  • acknowledge people’s help publically

  • show the results and share feedback

We are all in this together!

  • Ask for help if you need it - other Coalitions are probably struggling with the same issue

  • Please offer suggestions when you have them!! Your idea could be just what someone needs.

  • Sharing strategies and outcomes helps everyone

Questions and Comments

Holly Wingard

[email protected]


Matt Gillard

[email protected]


Feel free to contact us…….

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