On the capacity to make a difference…. Assessing the capacity for effective advocacy

What are the obstacles towards us making a difference on Congressional mental health reform legislation?

Rate the following between 1-10 with one being never true and ten being always true.

The following items are in part based on what seems to be areas of relative strength in the campaign for the Murphy Bill. In some ways this is a description of the enemy. What are our areas of relative strength and relative weakness?

1. You have the money you need to finance your campaign…..
2. You have adequate people resources… You have enough people involved to make the kind of difference you want to make.
3. There is an ongoing effort to involve more people in your campaign. Your campaign is growing in number.
4. You have a consistent message that is widely bought into by the people in your campaign.
5. That message is expressed to legislators in terms they find relevant, realistic and important to the people they serve.
6. Ongoing efforts are made to establish relationships with legislators prior to the actual items you are concerned with. It is not simply a matter of contacting them when you need something.
7. An ongoing and effective effort is being made to share your guiding narrative through media and social media. There is some process of spreading the word and trying to build public consensus to action.
8. You have allies in the legislative arena who are willing to speak out for you.
9. You have some kind of leadership structure in place. Someone or some group is steering the boat.
10. You have reached out to as many potential allies as possible.
11. Your efforts are having enough success to increase the morale of your campaign and encourage people to redouble their efforts.
12. The people involved in your campaign must believe that you have a real chance of success and what they do as individuals matter.

This is not the be all end all list for advocacy. It does describe some of the basic capabilities we need in order to make a difference.

Given all that what do you think? Do we have the capacity for effective advocacy? What can we do to develop a bigger punch? Ideas?

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