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Section 3. Establishing Formal Communications and Requesting Participation

What exactly is establishing formal communications and requesting participation?

___You establish formal communications and request participation by developing a structured, "official" connection with an organization or individual who can be a valuable ally in your advocacy effort, and asking for participation in a way likely to be successful.

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.

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.

___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.

With whom should you establish formal communications to request participation?

You establish formal communications with and request participation from:

___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.

When should you establish formal communications and request participation?

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.

How do you establish formal communications and request participation?

___You 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.

To establish formal communications:

___You determine just what "formal communications" means for a particular individual or group and acting accordingly.