Module 5: Amplifying your voice – getting decision-makers on board!

February 10, 2021

Module 5 was focused on concrete ways to learn how to engage with decision-makers and people of influence in order to amplify the impact of your project!

The goal of this module was to:

  • Identify the steps to engage decision-makers in your CAPs
  • Create a message to reach out to decision-makers about your CAPs
  • Understand your sphere of influence and how you can lead change

THE FIVE STEPS

1. The Why

2. The Who

3. The How

4. The What

5. The Follow-Up

These steps are not linear, or in a straight line, but they go forwards and backward as you go through this process – and that's ok! Amplifying your impact takes time and is not a clear cut process, but a creative one! These steps are just recommendations to help break down the process so you can see where you're heading!

ALWAYS START WITH THE "WHY"

The "why" is linked to human rights and your reason for doing what you do. It is at the heart of what you are doing and should influence everything that you do. People don't necessarily connect with what you are wanting from them (the what), but they connect with the purpose of your project (the why).

"[F]igure out what the "why" is for you, because jumping from the "what" to the "do" is meaningless if you don't know why. Because when it gets hard, when it gets tough, when your friends walk away from you, when your supporters forget you, when you don't win your first race -- if you don't know why, you can't try again." - Stacy Abrams
The Golden Circle proposed by Simon Senek

THE "WHO"

The actors in your sphere of influence

These are the people who are part of your personal or professional networks who are affected by your projects, but also those you have a certain level of influence on. Our spheres of influence also intersect with those of other people – so in reality you don't always know who can be reached in your "sphere". In effect, it can end up looking like our "Covid" bubbles – where you don't know where your ideas will end up and it can have a big ripple effect.

Activity #1: Mapping your Sphere of Influence

Now it's your turn to create a diagram of your sphere of influence! With this short activity, you can classify people in your spheres of influence according to different categories. To do the activity, you can download the image or print it, and write in each circle people you know who you can influence. (Ex: your teacher, your local coffee shop where you have coffee every morning, your cousin who works for a certain company, etc.). To download the activity, click here.

Activity #2: Level of Impact and Engagement

Now that we have built our spheres we need to think about the actors in our spheres to see where we have the most influence to act strategically. There are two things that you have to consider when engaging decision-makers: their level of impact and their capacity to be engaged. This table demonstrates these spectrums. For this activity, you can think about the decision-makers you would like to involve in your project and where they are located on this graphic (e.g. one of your teachers can be easily engaged and have a high level of impact). To download the activity, click here.

THE "HOW"

Deciding your approach

We are focusing on private communication options (between two people or in small groups) and not on messages that will be shared on social media or public campaigns. While we recognize that media with larger audiences are useful and effective, we need more time to talk about the issues associated with social media, cyber security, and online culture which can be very damaging for those who want to talk about justice and social causes as it involves the safe use of the internet.

THE "WHAT"

Creating your message

As seen previously, it is always necessary to begin your message with the "why", because it is with the "why" that people will connect with your goal and want to collaborate with you. They will not connect with your "how" or your "what", but only with the "why". That's why it as to be at the heart of your message.

Activity #3: Exercise to write your own message

We offer you a small activity to create your own message for decision-makers. You can fill in the template below to create your own personalized message. To download it, click here.

THE FOLLOW-UP

Make a plan for following up with those you reached out to keep them informed and remind them of your cause!

You can:

  • Send a follow-up email or phone call
  • Send a picture of your group in action