Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Advocacy Plan for NO MORE SNOW

Greetings from Washington, DC, where we have snow drifts of well over four feet, traffic jams of well over 4 miles and patience at an all time low. Seriously. Imagine living in a city where you haven't had mail for a week, where you take your life in your hands walking on the sidewalks and where you have to dig your way in to and out of any parking spot you're lucky enough to find (OK, I don't have to dig -- my husband does that -- but you get the point).

And I understand from the weather forecasters that it's not really over yet. There will likely be more snow before spring arrives.

Well, I've decided I won't participate in any more snow. I'm done with it. No more for me. To achieve that goal, I am implementing a four-step "no More Snow" advocacy plan based on the process outlined in my book Citizens in Action (like how I got the book in?). So, here it is!

Know What You Want: Well, I know what I don't want. I don't want any more snow. But that sounds a little too obstructionist to me -- a little too, dare I say it, "tea partyesque." So I'll say that I'm for clear skies, sunshine and 72 degree temperatures. That's my starting point. I can compromise from there but the issue of snow is absolutely non-negotiable.

Know Who You're Talking To: This is a little more difficult. Who is in charge of the snow? A higher being? The Republicans in Congress? The Obama Administration? I'm not really sure, but I'm tempted to blame the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to their website, "[o]ur reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them." That sounds pretty comprehensive, so I'll go with that.

Know How to Talk to Them: I like to use what I call the "SPIT" method of message development. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. S is for SPECIFIC. I SPECIFICALLY do not want any more snow. P is for PERSONAL. Telling a personal story is essential and I plan to develop a touching anecdote around the travails of my poor dog, Ozzie, in having to use the great outdoors as a restroom when it's all iced over. I is for INFORMATIVE. I'm in the process of developing compelling graphs, charts and one-pagers outlining the record breaking snowfall we've had this year. I will clearly and logically explain why continued snow is not an option. T is for Trustworthy. I'm not going to exaggerate or lie about the amount of snow. I don't need to. I will become the go to resource for reliable information on this critical issue.

Know How to Follow-Up: Now, I'm not stupid. I know that my first missive in to NOAA probably won't get the immediate response I want. Who knows? I might even be written off as a crazy person (hard to believe, but it's possible). So I'm going to start thinking now about how to follow up effectively. I think I'll invite NOAA staff to my neighborhood to see our unplowed streets, mounds of snow on roofs and poor, suffering puppies. Then I'll ask someone at NOAA to write an article for my newsletter, perhaps even ask a legislator on the appropriations committee to submit a statement to the Congressional Record about their support for the no more snow movement. And, of course, I'll post information to Facebook, Twitter and all the social networks to keep the momentum moving.

So, there it is. My four step plan. DC residents, are you in?

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