It’s election season in British Columbia and in a number of other places – Nova Scotia, Britain, South Korea and France.
Which is a timely reminder that a particularly good time for activists to present their policy solutions is immediately after an election. Regardless of whether your vote counted or your issue was a hot topic during the campaign, the slate has been swept clean as a new government is born.
In my experience governments, newly elected or newly renewed, are hungry for good ideas. Regardless of their political ideology.
Sure they have their priorities. But a lot of the work of governing carries on beneath the surface, despite publicly stated priorities. Sometimes all it takes is a political blessing or nod and the good folks in the public service will take it from there. Of course, if your issue has become a political priority so much the better.
Here are a few tips as you prepare your proposal:
- Make sure that you have done your homework and conducted what the venerable Sean Moore calls strategic inquiry. Strategic inquiry will help you frame your proposal by alerting you to language, themes and stories that will resonate with a new/renewed government.
- Keep it short. Two or three pages are more than enough.
- Give them something to say ‘yes’ to. Even if it is only an agreement to work together. Don’t get carried away listing everything that is wrong.
- Find someone who regularly writes material for government. Governments contract out far more of their communication than you might think. These people will be attentive to subtleties and nuances that you as an ‘outsider’ won’t always pick up on.
- Leave them with the impression that you are eager to help solve some of the tough challenges they are facing.
Most politicians take their governing responsibilities seriously and want to make a difference. Keep that awareness in your heart as you start your engine.
All that we are is story… What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world one story at a time. (Richard Wagamese)
Musical accompaniment this post is Hymn to Freedom written and performed by the great Oscar Peterson and his trio.