Friday, 1 June 2012

Families as Lobbyists to Get What They Need


I mentioned a couple of days ago that I will be teaching a workshop with Ottawa's Advocacy School.  My workshop will be titled "How to Know What You Want and Get What You Need" and today, an article from an online magazine called "The Lobby Monitor" wrote about it.  I cut and paste a bit, to shorten for the blog.... I know that we all have lots of learn about advocacy - our relatives with care needs will benefit from our education as lobbyists!

Advocacy School offering community groups, charities, better access to 'the system'

NEWS | LAURA GARZÓN
PUBLISHED: TUESDAY, 05/29/2012 5:26 PM EDT
LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, 05/29/2012 5:29 PM EDT
Semi-retired lobbyist Sean Moore, having worked for 30 years in public policy and government relations, now teaches about influence and persuasion based on the philosophical principles of Chicago social activist Saul Alinsky, Roman theorist Marcus Cicero, and American social psychologist Robert Cialdini.
"If you want to communicate effectively with someone, you have to communicate within their experience,” he said.
This is not just the stuff of theories. There is no formula to being effective, Moore said, but there are tips to advocate successfully, which is one of the main objectives of his new school, AdvocacySchool.org, launched in March 2011.
"Five years ago, I suggested an established, organized, focused effort at developing the internal capacity of advocacy of nonprofit organizations, to make them more effective when dealing with government," Moore, 63, who has more than three decades' of experience in public policy, government relations and advocacy, said in an interview at his home in Ottawa.
"I'm kind of semi-retired now, so I decided to start it and show that it is worth continuing for a foundation, an NGO, or a university,” he said.
AdvocacySchool.org is a low-cost, "virtual" organization without classrooms or full-time staff. It offers courses online and in-person at meeting rooms and organizations' offices. The school has 23 instructors and offers more than 25 seminars for individuals, nonprofits and companies whose staff need to learn or reinforce their advocacy techniques. 
The school's most requested seminar is "How the system works and how to work the system," which focuses on "organizing one’s time, resources and issue management to legitimately influence decisions of government," the school's website says.
Moore, according to his personal website, is also working on a soon-to-be-launched book, “How the System Works and How to Work the System.”
Most of the school's workshops are interactive, with instructors trying to frame a discussion and help participants fill in the blanks, Moore said. They help lobbyists think about questions like, “What is it that I am asking for? What are my strategies?” he said.
Training sessions, which can be taught via online webinars, vary in length. The shortest is an hour long and the longest a full weekend. Some organizations have taken sessions over a four-month period, Moore said.

.......One of the newest workshops is, "How to know what you want and get what you need: An advocacy workshop for families giving care." It is a half-day workshop that matches families "to potential sources of assistance in their community," the website says.
The workshop is directly linked to one of the original objectives of the school: to focus on community, nonprofit services.

....... Moore aims to have former politicians and bureaucrats speak from 30 or more years' of experience about how to communicate with decision makers more effectively. 
Organizations that have hired the advocacy school include the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Home Care Association, and private companies seeking to train their staff, Moore said.

Moore also wants to develop more materials and readings about advocacy due to “a total absence” of instruction and teaching materials related to organized public policy.
Beyond that, a top objective for the school is to expand its advocacy training for families with disabilities so they can better access government, and the system where decisions are made, he said.
"Last December, the advocacy school went to a conference in Vancouver. I was so overwhelmed by the fights these people have to fight everyday," Moore said. "I realized they were not trying to change government, they were trying to access the system properly, which is what we want to teach.”

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