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Effective Athlete Advocacy Athletes CAN Forum 2003 Why Advocate? To ensure that your concerns are addressed To influence policy making and implementation To be part of the decision-making process, rather than having to merely accept the outcome Our Approach to Advocacy Choose our issues

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effective athlete advocacy

Effective Athlete Advocacy

Athletes CAN Forum 2003

why advocate
Why Advocate?
  • To ensure that your concerns are addressed
  • To influence policy making and implementation
  • To be part of the decision-making process, rather than having to merely accept the outcome
our approach to advocacy
Our Approach to Advocacy
  • Choose our issues
  • Define specific goals
  • Research the issues
  • Develop an advocacy strategy
  • Mobilize public support
  • Lobby decision-makers

(Courtesy of Tilson Consulting)

a framework for the issues
A Framework for the Issues

Athlete Declaration 2003

We call on…

  • Canadian athletes to be effective leaders in Canadian sport and society;
  • The Government of Canada to invest in a comprehensive sport development program;
  • The Government of Canada to establish a Minister of Sport and Physical Activity;
  • Provincial and Territorial governments to increase sport and physical education in Canadian schools;
  • The Government of Canada to lead the creation of a national infrastructure program for sport and recreation;
  • The sport community, governments, and the corporate sector to affirm a commitment to excellence and athlete-centered sport.
athletes can advocacy 2003
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Example:

Declaration: The Government of Canada to invest in a comprehensive sport development program

Choose an issue:

Inadequate funding of Canadian athletes and sport

athletes can advocacy 20036
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Define a specific goal:

Sustained athlete funding, within a global annual sport budget of $150 million

Why?

  • Direction from Canadian athletes
  • Doubling of current federal sport budget
  • Based on comparative funding from other nations
  • Affordable to government (1% of Health Budget)
athletes can advocacy 20037
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Research the Issues

  • Social policy developed:
    • Canadian sport policy, pending Physical Activity and Sport Act, Healthy Living Strategy
  • Fiscal policy not developed
  • Vancouver 2010 and Hamilton 2010 bids supported by Governments
  • Child Obesity/Inactivity Crisis
  • Government priorities: Health care, National security, Kyoto-Environment Agenda
athletes can advocacy 20038
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Develop an Advocacy Strategy

Our Targets:

Direct:

Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Secretary of State (Amateur Sport), Heritage Minister, Health Minister, Finance Committee, Other cabinet and caucus supporters, Opposition members

Indirect:

Media

Coalition of Supporters

General Public

athletes can advocacy 20039
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Develop an Advocacy Strategy

Our Case:

  • Investment in sport=investment in health
  • National pride and harmony
  • Comparative investments with other nations
  • Statistics from other “like sectors”: Art & Culture, Percentage of Health Budget
  • Meets Government needs and direction: Linked to Speech from the Throne, Romanow Commission
  • Supported by Decima Polling and Globe & Mail Polling
athletes can advocacy 200310
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Develop an Advocacy Strategy

Our Tools:

Low Profile:

  • Mail-outs of Athlete Declaration
  • Pre-budget meetings with MPs and Government officials
  • Submissions to Parliamentary and Senate Sub-Committees
  • Athlete “Call to Action”
  • Athlete in Federal Budget “Lock-up”
athletes can advocacy 200311
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Develop an Advocacy Strategy

Our Tools:

High Profile:

  • Athlete Blitz team pre-budget, January 2003
  • Meetings with Prime Minister, Ministers, Cabinet, Finance Committee Chair, and Opposition
  • Presentations to Media and Interviews on Parliament Hill
athletes can advocacy 200312
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Develop an Advocacy Strategy

Mobilizing support:

  • Working from the start with the Sport Matters Group and Olympic, Paralympic, and Commonwealth Associations
  • Preparing athletes across the country to respond to budget decision
  • Collective response to “Contingent Funding clause” for an additional $10 million investment based upon Vancouver 2010 success
athletes can advocacy 200313
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Lobby decision-makers

  • Athletes outraged:
    • Media relations kicks into high gear
    • Letters to editors, Globe and Mail polling
    • Direct communications to Secretary of State (Amateur Sport), Minister of Finance and Prime Minister
    • Meeting with Ministers of Sport at the Canada Games
athletes can advocacy 200314
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Result

  • Intervention by the Secretary of State, Finance Minister, and Prime Minister
  • Unprecedented budget turnaround
  • Budget for sport increased to support high performance
  • Sustained excellence funding confirmed for a 5 year window
  • From contingent $10 million over 2yr to confirmed $25 million over 5yr
athletes can advocacy 200315
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Lessons Learned

  • Athlete voices do influence change
  • Public support for athletes and excellence can be acquired
  • Value of a “wedge issue” for action
  • Sustained, planned, and professional approach required
  • Advocating beyond our own interests builds credibility and makes links to other priority objectives
  • Need for policy platform: Athlete Declaration as framework
athletes can advocacy 200316
Athletes CAN Advocacy 2003

Lessons Learned

GOAL: Sustained high performance funding, within a global annual sport budget of $150 million

OUTCOME: Sustained high performance funding, within a global annual sport budget of $90 million

a framework for the issues17
A Framework for the Issues

Athlete Declaration 2003

We call on…

  • Canadian athletes to be effective leaders in Canadian sport and society;
  • The Government of Canada to invest in a comprehensive sport development program;
  • The Government of Canada to establish a Minister of Sport and Physical Activity;
  • Provincial and Territorial governments to increase sport and physical education in Canadian schools;
  • The Government of Canada to lead the creation of a national infrastructure program for sport and recreation;
  • The sport community, governments, and the corporate sector to affirm a commitment to excellence and athlete-centered sport.