by Ayelet Hines, Founder and President, Change University
Please help me retire so I can drop out of society and move into the school bus of my dreams on the Oregon coast and become a lounge singer. That’s what I plan to do when a just world has been achieved, so I need you to kick some ass.
While I’m far from lazy, I do like efficiency. That’s why I brush my teeth in the shower while I deep-condition. And that’s why I repurpose every widget I make. So much of advocacy is about making widgets—letters from supporters to policymakers or editorial boards, press releases, reports, blog posts on your site or someone else’s, paid ads, earned media… We make widgets at our social change factories in some strategic order and ship them out to those we’re trying to influence. The next time you make a widget, think about who can give you what you want and what media outlets they care about. Some of those are probably media outlets back home where their voters are.
You don’t necessarily need to make new widgets to get your message out to local media that could influence your target decision-maker. Think about how to repurpose everything you make. Letters of support and positive statements from non-local influential people are all grist for the mill. Local outlets are often searching for content, and if you can briefly explain the local relevance of your issue, you might get a hit. When you do, shop it around to local and county decision-makers and ask them if they’d show their support for your issue to state and national policymakers by issuing a statement, attending an event, or supporting a local resolution. Then, make sure the national and state decision-makers you’re trying influence see your local widget. Make the media echo chamber work for you.
All elected officials at any level of government are motivated by the same thing: to get re-elected, so informing your target’s voters is critical.
What have you done to turn up the heat on state and national policymakers by organizing local and county policymakers? What widgets have you repurposed? Let others learn from your experience by telling us about it below.