Advocacy School is designed to assist civil sector organizations influence government decisions, constructively and effectively. There are two primary items on the Advocacy school menu: on-line or in person workshops and seminars; and pro bono and paid mentors and coaches. Aside from Sean, instructors and mentors include journalist Peter O'Malley, analyst John Stapleton, communication specialist Shari Graydon, writer Susan Doyle, lawyer Laird Hunter and advocates Nora Sobolov, Liz Mulholland and yours truly.
Here are some sample Sean-bits from his workshop menu: How to Get the Most out of In-Person Meetings with Public Officials; Preparing Effective Briefing Notes: Public Narrative – How to Communicate your story to Bind your Community Together and Inspire collective action; How the System Works and How to Work the System: A Primer on Effective Public Policy Advocacy; Constructing Winning Policy Proposals to Government; Strategic Inquiry.
He's got more selection than Tim Hortons has doughnuts!
At the same time Sean has published: Can Public Policy Advocacy be Taught? Or Learned? in the latest edition of The Philanthropist. You don't have to RRRoll Up the Rim to access it. You can check out all the articles in the latest issue and download Sean's PDF for free.
The article is worth reading just for the list of common mistakes made by advocates, as seen from the perspective of the politicians and public servants they deal with. I, for one, have commited every one of them. They include:
• failure of proponents to be aware of or actively link their idea to government’s existing priorities or concerns;
• lack of patience and perseverance – the tendency by many petitioners to give up and go on to something else before adequately following up on their initial initiative;
• failure to understand the nature, “rhythms,” and time frames of government decision-making;
• submission of written advocacy material that is usually too voluminous, too narrowly self-serving, and in a form often unusable by those in government; and
• unnecessary politicization of issues by proponents “going political” prematurely.
Sean demystifies the process of making public policy. He makes the art of friendly persuasion fresh and tasty. Civil society is enhanced because of his commitment to healthy democratic conversation.
With his help we will become better known as a nation of engaged citizens rather than the not so flattering moniker of, Timbit Nation.
Note to readers outside Canada: a double double is Canadian slang for a Tim Hortons coffee with two creams – two sugars!