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Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Establishing Formal Communications and Requesting Participation
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas What exactly is establishing formal communications and requesting participation? Establishing formal communications and requesting participation means developing a structured, "official" connection with an organization or individual that can be a valuable ally in your advocacy effort, and asking for participation in a way likely to be successful.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Why establish formal communications and request participation? You establish formal communications because: It's the only way you can approach some people and organizations. It shows respect for the integrity of the other party's procedure. It acknowledges the other as an equal partner. It points up the importance of the other party's potential contribution, and makes apparent that you really want their help. It establishes a relationship, and acknowledges that you might have something to offer each other. Establishing formal communications means that a channel is always open, and a certain amount and type of communication becomes automatic.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas You formally request participation because: You need all the help you can get. It's necessary to assure the participation of those who are key to the effort. It's important to enlist as many of the people and organizations concerned with the issue as you can, in order to show solidarity for the effort. A coordinated effort is much stronger than a haphazard one. You're asking not just for a single action, but for a commitment to an effort that might take a long time. Why establish formal communications and request participation? (cont.)
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Establishing communications and requesting participation can head off turf issues and ego problems that can quickly derail an advocacy effort. Even when they're in total agreement with what you're doing, people and organizations like to be asked to join. Getting as many partners as possible on board early creates a sense of trust and common purpose that can propel the effort through difficult times. Requesting participation early, rather than only when the effort needs to be strengthened or when the final push is on, creates buy-in. Why establish formal communications and request participation? (cont.)
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas With whom should you establish formal communications to request participation? Legislators and other political figures. Other initiatives and advocates with similar goals. Professional associations. Experts in the field. Human service and other organizations that work on the issue. Community activists. Influential citizens and groups. Media people and outlets. Public services, agencies, and institutions. The target population.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas When should you establish formal communications and request participation? As early as possible. At the beginning of a legislative advocacy campaign. In the planning stage of an advocacy campaign. When you're trying to build momentum. When your campaign has taken off.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you establish formal communications and request participation? Begin by following basic communication guidelines: Use language your audience will understand. Be respectful. Build trust. Stress your areas of agreement. Be culturally sensitive. Keep communication lines open.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas To establish formal communications: Determine just what "formal communications" means for a particular individual or group and act accordingly. Approach your target personally, if you can. Be persistent.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas To request participation: Make your request in person, if you can. Be clear about who you are, what your effort and its goals are about, and what you're asking of the person or organization. Let them know that you value their participation, and why. Let them know why it's in their interest to participate. Leave doors open for the individual or organization to think about participation, or to join later if they don't feel comfortable doing so now. Maintain communication whether the other party chooses to participate or not.
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