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Getting to Yes:

Advocating for Your Library

Laura K. Lee Dellinger
Jennifer Gilstrap Hearn
Nikki Schardin

Understand what advocacy is and why it is important and who can
Understand when to employ advocacy strategies instead of public
relations or marketing approaches
Understand basics of framing theory and how it influences decision
How to ask the right questions in preparation for your advocacy
How to identify audiences and pathways to influence them
Understand basic forms of persuasive proof/support
Apply the learnings above to specific problems

Learning Objectives
Overview of the Workshop
Morning: Lecture
Advocacy as Inquiry and Argument
Afternoon: Breakout Sessions
Identifying the Answers and Framing Arguments
Definition: Communication
Practical and necessary art
Four elements: speaker, listener, message
and occasion.
Definite and specialized attempt to persuade
Ultimate purpose of all communication is
audience response.
Definitions: Communication Practices
Public Relations: building mutually beneficial
relationships over the long term

Marketing: causing transactions to occur that satisfy
human needs/wants in exchange for something of

Advocacy: advancing a cause or proposal using
argument to do so
What is advocacy?
Supporting a cause or proposal
Using argument to do so

Focus of Library Advocacy
Turn passive support of libraries and
librarians into educated action by
Text originates from ALA Advocacy, A Framework for Planning for Future Activities. Prepared by Nancy

Who can be an advocate?
Your staff
Your board
Your community partners
Why should you be an advocate?
Ambassador for the library (both locally and globally)
Reinforcing other communication efforts
Reinforcing community/customer experiences
If the people closest to the cause dont do it, why
should anyone else?
Knowledgeable about the library and its needs and
Influential community stewards

How to
Ask the right questions
Build a strong argument
Reach out to the audience

Advocacy as Inquiry: Asking the right questions

What is the problem and WHY is it a problem?
What is our solution?
What do we want?
Who can give us what we want?
Why should they do so? (Benefit to them, alignment w/
values, etc.)
What do THEY need to know in order to take the action
we want?
Who is the best person to tell them our story?
How can we get them to listen to that person(s)?

What is the problem?
What is the cause?
How do we want to solve it?
How is our solution going to address the broader
needs (community values = constituency values)?

What do we want?
Community action or involvement
Public policy change
Build political and public will
Create new library advocates

Who can give us what we want?
Who needs to be engaged and take action to achieve
Identify their needs, interests, values and level of
Identify their channels of communication, trusted
advisors, and willingness to act
Who can give us what we want?
City or County elected officials
Community leadership
Why should they take action?
Benefit to them/their constituents
Alignment with their values
Alignment with constituency values
(remember: customers = constituents)
Who is the best person to tell our
Chosen based on the needs of the audience
Most direct pathways
Most impacted parties
Aligned with their values

What do they need to know to take
the action we want?
Go back to the why? Then explain how our plan:
Benefits them/their constituents
Aligns with their values
Aligns with constituency values
(remember: customers = constituents)

Framing Theory
The manner in which we process new
information is related to our deeply held
worldviews and assumptions
the way in which the world is imagined
determines at any particular moment what men will
do. (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1921)
Framing Theory
How we process information
People are not blank slates
We use mental shortcuts to make sense of the world
Incoming information provides cues that connect to
the picture/stories in our heads
Once these pictures/stories are evoked, we stop

Framing Theory
So, why ARE all TV nannies British?
Framing Theory
How we process information
Pictures connect with certain enduring,
deeply held cultural values
Freedom, privacy, opportunity, etc.
Images, stories and values constitute the
frames we associate with specific issues
What do they need to know to take
the action we want?
Speak in the language of the listener.
Connect to existing frames.
What? (problem)
So what? (why and how solution remedies/pros + cons)
Now what? (take the action)
Round 2:
If not, THEN what? (reinforce harm of inaction + benefit of

Make a strong argument

Having one vs. making one
Systematic establishment of chain of reasoning in
support of ones position.
Burden of Proof is yours: cant assume people will
make the linkage between what you have to offer and
what they care about, you have to make that link for
Must have blended proof: reason + emotion, evidence
of satisfaction of the audiences needs

The 4 Ps



Personal credibility and commitment

Ethos: character, competence and goodwill

Advancing the cause for the purpose of

benefiting others, not just the self


Establish a new situation or change an
existing state of being
Fact (that something is real/true)
Value (that something is of utility and
deserving of support)
Policy (that a choice should be made in
support of a proposal)

Primary Audience: who can make the choice
for which we are advocating
Secondary Audience: who influences the
primary audience and who can help us
advance our case
What type of support can you offer?

Qualitative Evidence
Opinion Leader

Quantitative evidence

Getting your argument heard
or How can we get them to listen?
Direct Connections/Outreach
Meetings & one-on-one
Roundtables/Forums/Town Halls
Letters /e-mail
Fact Sheets & Frequently Asked Questions
Media (as Channel and Influencer)
Letters to the Editor/Opinion Editorials
Editorial Board Visits
News and Features
Library as media

Break for Lunch

Whats required for effective

Break-Out Sessions
1. Define the problem and your solution
(Frame the issue) :30 minutes

2. Refine your audience :30 minutes
Identify their needs, interests, values and level of engagement
Identify their channels of communication, trusted advisors, and willingness to

3. Create Your Message (Your argument) :30 minutes
What, Now what, So what . . . Then what?
Build your message using balanced forms of proof/support

4. Identify the best messengers :20 minutes

5. Determine your approach : 15 minutes

6. Report Out

Break-Out Sessions

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