Learning to Advocate for Children and Families

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Ad vo cate (noun): a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.

When influencing the halls of power, whether those halls are in your town hall, your state capitol, or Washington, DC, advocacy makes a difference.  In this free webinar series, you’ll learn skills to be an effective advocate for issues that you care about to help you play a meaningful role as a coalition member, grassroots organizer, and leader.  From strategies for organizing like-minded people to methods for communicating messages to a variety of issue stakeholders, this series will teach you everything you need to start making an impact on matters most important to you.  Join us today and become a voice for your community’s tomorrow.

All webinars are one hour long and have live Spanish translation and closed captioning available.

This series is being facilitated by Catriona Macdonald, MPP,  President, Linchpin Strategies, LLC

Episode I: The Nuts and Bolts of Advocacy                                                                                                    Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at 12 PM EST / 9 AM PST

This webinar begins with an overview of why advocacy matters and how it makes a big difference for infants, children, and families and the professionals who care for them.  Over the course of the hour, you will learn the nuts and bolts of advocacy, including:

  • Information that policymakers need to make decisions, including how an issue impacts their constituents and supporters
  • The helpful facts, figures, and personal stories that narrate and frame an issue, so it is easily understood and relatable
  • How visible an issue is in the community and among constituents and supporters, and the range of opinions about it
  • How to contact and learn more about your elected officials and those working on your issues, as well as advocacy and community coalitions
  • Ways to have your voice heard by identifying and volunteering with (or creating!) advocacy and community coalitions engaged in your issues
  • Strategies and methods for connecting to officials when you find them, and how to keep your issue front and center

In small breakout groups, you’ll share your issue areas with fellow participants, and research how to contact your elected officials, like-minded advocacy groups, and community coalitions.  A resource list and tip sheet will be provided to all participants as a desktop reference guide for your advocacy efforts.

Episode II: Telling Your Story for Impact                                                                                                      Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at 12 PM EST / 9 AM PST

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to frame your issues and ideas to point toward solutions and tell your story for maximum impact on decision-makers and the policies they create.  Specifically, we’ll discuss in depth how to:

  • Share your expertise, know your audience, and identify your partners
  • Craft messages that resonate and paint a picture through details
  • Create assets for your issue by building connections

In small groups, you’ll work on storytelling about an issue and identifying the partners you may want to include in telling that story.  This webinar closes with a focus on making an actionable advocacy plan for your issue.

Episode III: It Takes a Village                                                                                                                              Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 12 PM EST / 9 AM PST

This webinar explores the strategies and methods for implementing an advocacy plan and being the most effective advocate you can be.  In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Strategies for finding and recruiting others in your community to join you as advocates
  • Ways to spread your message through social media channels and the press
  • How to understand the influence and impact of unexpected advocates
  • The roles of community leaders and influencers
  • Ways to leverage voting cycles and elections to deepen your impact

Facilitated by:  

Catriona MacDonald headshot

Catriona Macdonald, MPP,  President, Linchpin Strategies, LLC

Catriona Macdonald leads Linchpin Strategies, where she assists organizations in the areas of health, education, and disability in communicating their priorities and needs to audiences at all levels of government.

Since founding Linchpin Strategies in 2004, Catriona has led successful efforts to establish new medical research funds; protect small business opportunities from federal agency overreach and multi-million dollar competitors, and secure increases of more than $4 billion for early childhood education.

Catriona’s experience on Capitol Hill includes working for Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate Labor Committee; staffing domestic social issues and appropriations for Congressman Steny Hoyer, the current House Majority Leader; and serving as the Legislative Director for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the current Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Catriona’s experience in the executive branch includes working as a budget and policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She received her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

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Questions? Contact Michael Accardi at Michael.Accardi@childrens.harvard.edu