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Engaging community in social change movements

2017

We are working as a group to come up with a question for the larger CYC community regarding social causes on local and global scales. This is what we have agreed on, as it can be difficult to get the broader community to buy in to what may seem to them, isolated issues.

What ways have you found are successful to engage individuals, groups, and systems to get behind the cause you are advocating for, when they are not directly involved in the sector itself?

Thank you

Aleisha MacLeod
...


Hi Aleisha,

Here are a few strategies that my colleagues and I have found to be helpful:

1) Seek sponsorship of the initiative by unlikely 'partners' (i.e. we had a public event on raw log exports sponsored by both the Mill Union and the Sierra Club). This gets different people in the room together, hearing from and talking to each other.

2) Seek sponsorship of the initiative by MANY partners. (i.e. we had a two-day course offered free of charge, with each seat sponsored by a different organization. Then these organizations promoted the event to their networks, increasing the likelihood of diverse representation from the community).

3) Use an 'asset-based approach' – start with a focus on what is working well already, instead of where gaps and limits exist. It's good for morale, keeps momentum over time, and ensures people are contributing in relation to their passions and skills, increasing likelihood of success.

4) Listen and be responsive to what the people you are hoping to engage care about. Think about how to make what you're offering feel inviting to them (i.e. consider moving around the location of your initiative in order to make it visible and accessible to different groups of people in your community).

Hope that helps – and good luck!

Janet
...

Kia Ora Aleisha and Working Group,

Your Draft Statement: What ways have you found are successful to engage individuals, groups, and systems to get behind the cause you are advocating for, when they are not directly involved in the sector itself?

As an advocacy group, a generic cause rarely works. Your statement reads as a bland item written by a committee of dutiful civil servants that nobody is likely to read in the local paper, or understand what it means when posted on local supermarket notice boards. Isn't group work fun! ;-)

I suggest that it works best if you identify a specific cause for which you seek community support for a local or global issue. A contemporary cause is best! For example...

"What have individuals and groups working inside and outside 'the system' found to be successful thus far in helping to support Syrian war refugee families and young people settle into our community and help them feel good about being here, away from all the bombs, fear, death and destruction?"

Focus on local themes and issues that connect up with regional, national and global issues!

And happy Group Working, Reporter Aleisha!

Leon Fulcher
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