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					  Calling All Advocates Webinar

     Solutions Storytelling
Messaging to Mobilize Support for
        Children's Issues

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010
       2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
Voices for America’s Children (Voices) is the nation’s largest network of multi-
issue child advocacy organizations. Our nationwide nonprofit, nonpartisan 
network spans almost every state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin 
Islands. We lead advocacy efforts at the community, state and federal levels to 
improve the lives of all children, especially those most vulnerable, and their 
families.




                         Delivering Policy Wins for Children
                         When government makes the right decisions, the resulting policies deliver 
                         wins for children and their families all over America. Those wins are measured 
                         not one child at a time, but one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, 
                         one million, ten million. Big wins like these don’t happen by accident. Big wins 
                         happen for kids because of changes in government policy. Voices’ nonpartisan 
                         advocacy in Washington, DC and across the nation helps deliver those wins. 
                         Voices has been on the forefront of every major child policy victory for the 
                         past quarter-century. Our nationwide network speaks up for kids and puts 
                         children on government’s agenda.
Jenn Novesky, Director of Membership, Voices for America’s Children
Jenn directs efforts to increase the organizational effectiveness and level 
of collaboration in the Voices network and serves as a thought partner 
on strategy and programming for members.

Prior to Voices, Jenn served as advocacy manager for the Council on 
Foundations and worked for United Way of America where she was the 
manager of public policy. Her other experiences include political 
fundraising, lobbying on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, 
and working on capitol hill. 

                    Hershel Sarbin, Founder of Child Advocacy 360 News Network
                    The Child Advocacy 360 News Network is an independent, nonprofit 
                    service that brings to people's desktops, mailboxes and conversations the 
                    latest news and insights on children's welfare and rights, with a particular 
                    focus on the struggle to conquer abuse and neglect of children in our 
                    society

                    Hershel Sarbin has more than four decades of experience creating highly 
                    successful strategies for special interest magazines and communication 
                    enterprises, while at the same time advocating to improve the lives of poor 
                    children in America.
Douglas Gould, President, Douglas Gould and Company
Since starting his nonprofit communications firm in 1990, Douglas Gould and Company has 
served over 120 public interest organizations and foundations that are engaged in social 
change and public policy reform. Doug is the firm's senior strategist and his practice 
concentrates on opinion and media research, message development, training, and the timely 
application of problem-solving and crisis management strategies. 

In recent years, his professional attention has been focused on making the case for high 
quality education as key to personal and national success; on the impact of religion on politics 
and justice; and on arming change agents with the most effective skills and tools to win.           Doug Gould

                     Meg Bostrom, Co-Founder, Topos Partnership
                     Meg Bostrom, co-founder of the Topos Partnership and President of Public Knowledge, is a 
                     veteran communications strategist with a unique perspective resulting from her rich and varied 
                     experiences as communicator, public opinion analyst, advertising agency executive, and 
                     political consultant.
  Meg Bostrom         
                     TheTopos Partnership specializes in innovative research that allows advocates to rethink issues 
                     from the ground up by unveiling deeply held beliefs that shape people’s understanding, and by 
                     developing strategies to flip the frame in more constructive directions. The organization has 
                     researched public understanding and developed reframing strategies for a variety of social 
                     issues, including art and culture, global warming, oceans, children’s issues, the economy, 
                     foreign policy, nuclear weapons, government, and taxes, among many others.
      Solutions
          Storytelling




By the Topos Partnership                   August 17 2010
for Child Advocacy 360 and Douglas Gould & Company
 Overview


1. Background
     Douglas Gould and Company

2. Findings
    Topos Partnership

3. Discussion, Questions, and
   Suggestions
    Methodology

• Background interviews
•    Six Focus groups
      -Philadelphia
      -Indianapolis
      -Boston

• Talkback testing

• Survey - narrative
  experiments
                  Considerations


Emphasize problems            Emphasize effective
                         OR
to terrify into action        solutions to inspire action
                      Considerations




• Default view is that parents
  are solely responsible for
  raising children

   “But it all starts with the parents,
   too, from the time they're little.
   The parents aren't involved,
   especially in their schooling. If
   they're not involved with them,
   they are going to end up
   [troubled].”
            - Philadelphia man
            Considerations

•   Make the important role of community
    and government more visible
Considerations


            • Default view
              emphasizes “my
              kids”
            • Inspire willingness
              to act on the
              behalf of all kids -
              not just one’s own
              - and including at-
              risk kids
Solutions Story Elements



 •   Connect to Community
 •   Big-Picture Thinking
 •   Necessary, not Nice
 •   Inspire Action
 •   Prove
Story Elements

1. Connection to Community
   • Community responsibility

   • Cyclical, give and get back




                   “You have a responsibility to be
                   involved in your town. We all did
                   volunteer work; we all did different
                   things over the years and that's part
                   of being a town is being involved.”
                                      - Boston man
 Story Elements

2. Big-Picture Thinking

  • Public structures for
    common good
  • Multiple programs


   “A community that is
   responsive to the needs
   of its citizens is a good
   community.”
              - Boston woman
Story Elements

                  3. Necessary, not Just Nice
                    • Economy forces necessity

                    • Understanding, not just emotion
                      (easily done but often neglected)



    “I think pain in children, pain in a lot of people
    sometimes cannot be expressed verbally . . . it's a
    different form of expression. That may be why it's so
    successful.”
                                          - Boston mother
    Story Elements
    4. Inspiring Action
    • It works and it is effective
    • Model behavior
      • My chance to give back
      • Citizen empowerment
“I bet a typical council meeting probably
gets 10 people. That was pretty impressive
that 150 people showed up. . .numbers
prove that they got something done.”
                               -Boston father
Story Elements
5. Proving Effectiveness

• Persuasion vs. “Proof”

• Sticky numbers
• Mechanism
•   “New” story
• Testimonials, anecdotes
                            “It has migrated all the way
                            down to Nashville, Tennessee
                            and other cities. I guess it had to
                            have a great impact for it to go
                            from one state to another state.”
                                     - Indianapolis woman
                       Stimuli: Inspections
Solutions Orientation
Improvement in Child Wellbeing
In the 10 years since the Blueprint for Children strategy was developed, children
across the metropolitan area are better off in a number of ways...
“There are many important things we can do as a community or state to help
make sure kids grow up to be good citizens, and the results we’re seeing in
response to all the hard work by people across this community proves it. I
volunteer because I see how our efforts help kids’ minds light up,” stated Pat
Johnson, a volunteer reading tutor at Springfield Elementary.
In response to research that showed gaps in the critical systems serving children,
citizens and organizations across the area came together 10 years ago to
develop the Blueprint and put in place the steps needed to fill the gaps. Over
the years, the systems and public structures serving children have been
strengthened…
According to city council member, Sean Walker, “We’ve proven we can make
a difference. Our kids are better off and that means our community has a
brighter future. Now other cities are looking to replicate what we’ve done. We
need to keep the momentum going.”
           Compared to Most Stories, this is More...
                              First Story Series




     51
                                    48
44                             45
          43

                    36                             Solutions Soft
               31                                  Solutions Hard
                                                   Problem - Outcomes
                                         26
                         20




Interesting     Unique         Motivating
Investment Shifts by Story Approach
           % 9 or 10 on 10-Point Scale




                          53
         48 49
                 44                 43 42
    41                         40
                                              Control
                                              Solutions Soft
                                              Solutions Hard
                                              Problem




  Invest in communities   Reduce government
                              budgets
     Raise Revenues or Cut Projects/Services
                Comparison by Story


     67




                                       Raising Revenues
                                       Cutting Projects
33




Control
     Raise Revenues or Cut Projects/Services
                   Comparison by Story


     67

                  57                             58
                                   56


             43               44
                                            41
                                                      Raising Revenues
                                                      Cutting Projects
33




Control   Solutions Soft   Solutions Hard   Problem
  Comparison in % Very Strong Support for High Tax/Quality
          % Choose statement: I would rather pay higher taxes and have
                 high quality public services and systems.



      Control                      45




Solutions Soft                                                      53




Solutions Hard                                              51




      Problem                                  48
       Government Impact on Children's Lives
What kind of impact does government have on most children's lives?

                                                      53
                       48
       46                               45
  42                               43
                  40

                                                 34
                                                            Positive
                                                            Negative




  Control      Solutions Soft   Solutions Hard   Problem
                         Efficacy
       Comparison % People Make a Great Deal of Difference

                                      47
                    46
  45




                                                        40




Control        Solutions Soft    Solutions Hard      Problem
Conclusions:
•   Tell solutions stories
•   Emphasize community
•   Avoid litany of problems or crises
•   Focus on root causes
•   It’s not just government’s role
•   Avoid traps
•   Focus on systems, not individuals
•   Talk about “effective programs”—provide proof
Solutions Stories Are:




• More Interesting

• More motivational

• Boost support for at-risk kids

• Increase support for
  government playing a
  meaningful role

• Increase support for
  public funding
Discussion, Questions and Suggestions
http://childadvocacy360.wordpress.com
      team@topospartnership.com



       www.douglasgould.com
        info@douglasgould.com

				
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