On July 28, 2020, CURA presented the second entry to our “The Art of Advocacy” webinar series, Choosing Your Battles: A Framework for Developing Strategic Advocacy Priorities. The following speakers weighed in on strategies for prioritization to help organizations successfully achieve their advocacy goals:
- Natalie Tietjen, Manager of Federal Policy, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Anne Woodbury, Co-Founder and CEO, CURA Strategies
- Scott Leezer, Vice President of Government Relations, CURA Strategies
- Casey Dillon, Managing Supervisor, CURA Strategies
The webinar, now available for download covered how organizations should approach choosing an advocacy goal—a process neatly packaged in CURA’s proprietary Issue Prioritization Rubric—and evaluated a variety of case studies in how this approach was utilized to create successful campaigns. Read on for a summary of what we covered, and for helpful links to download resources to help you prioritize your advocacy goals.
The beginning of any good advocacy campaign is developing clear goals and initial strategies to accomplish them. However, deciding which advocacy priority an organization should undertake isn’t always readily apparent—this is where CURA’s Issue Prioritization Rubric comes in. Organizations should use this rubric to:
- Determine which issue to advocate for when there are multiple options and resource bandwidth is limited
- Justify the decision to advance (or not advance) a specific policy issue with internal leadership
- Identify the potential leverageable message points for an advocacy strategy
- Recognize the weaknesses of the issue against which to buttress
- Determine where additional research or information gathering is needed
After using the Issue Prioritization Rubric, organizations should have a clear picture of the strength of a given advocacy goal in the current political climate. The rubric, along with a recording of the presentation, is available for download here.
The CURA team covered two notable client examples of the power of strategic advocacy issue prioritization: ensuring Medicare coverage for opioid treatment programs with Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR); and expanding federal pediatric cardiomyopathy research with the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF). In both cases, the organizations had overarching goals—expanding access to opioid use disorder treatment and supporting families whose children are affected by cardiomyopathy, respectively. However, each needed to land on a specific, tenable policy goal—which is where CURA’s Issue Prioritization Rubric came in. It not only helped CURA and the organization decide on a single “winnable” goal, it also helped shape the strategy and messaging of each campaign. Each case was a success—opioid treatment programs are now covered by Medicare, and our advocacy on behalf of CCF has led to more than $37 million in federal research funding for cardiomyopathy.
Partner Spotlight: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
AFSP, an organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, has won a variety of advocacy victories at both the federal and state levels, including the passage of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, mandatory suicide prevention training and policies for schools and mental health parity in insurance coverage. AFSP updates their policy priorities every two years for each new Congress through a system of internal review. The priorities are initially crafted based on the policy landscape (which can vary at the state level), overall interests of the organization and the needs of the population.
A recording of the webinar, as well as CURA’s Issue Prioritization Rubric, are available for download here.
The Art of Advocacy is a webinar series spanning summer and fall 2020, offering a look at CURA’s “secret sauce” for our integrated approach to public affairs with a focus on government relations and advocacy engagement. You can find upcoming webinar dates and more information on the series here.
Finally, don’t forget to register for our next webinar: Thought Leadership is Dead: Long Live Thought Partnership, on August 25.