Friday, August 01, 2008

MacGyver's Approach to Grassroots Advocacy

Believe it or not, I did a webinar yesterday on how MacGyver might approach grassroots advocacy. For the uninitiated, Macgyver was a larger-than-life fictional character in 1980's television who was constantly getting out of tough situations with everyday tools -- like he'd attach a ball point pen and a paper clip to a battery to generate a force field (not really, but you get the drift).

I generally think of him as the poor man's James Bond. He didn't have a fancy workshop dedicated to creating special spy devices. He just used whatever was laying around to achieve his goals.

At any rate, I think we have a lot to learn from Macgyver about advocacy, and I boiled down his approach to five basic principles, specifically:
  • Leverage: Getting an elected official to move is sometimes as much about the force you apply indirectly as the direct pressure.
  • Tools: I outlined some quick and easy advocacy tools that anyone can use -- for free!
  • Knowledge: Macgyver always had obscure knowledge about chemistry and the like. The legislative process is almost as obscure and effective advocates (especially those leading campaigns) would do well to have as much background as possible in the process.
  • Risks: Macgyver always took risks -- sometimes their necessary in advocacy as well.
  • Luck (and persistence): Anyone can make their own advocacy luck through the mastery of leverage, tools, knowledge and risks. The persistent application of these approaches will ensure that any advocate can get out of a bind - just like Macgyver.

If you want to know more about the webinar, you can download the PPT on our social network page. And happy advocating!

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