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Participating in Federal Public Policy: A Guide for the Voluntary Sector

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Module 3 - Where Do You Want To Go? Developing a Strategy To Influence Public Policy

  • know how to develop a strategic policy position relevant to your organization's mission
  • know how and where to gather facts to substantiate your policy position
There are many problems that your organization may care about but not all of them are issues that your organization should or can undertake. An issue is a problem that meets most or all of the following criteria:
  • affects your organization and its constituency in a tangible way
  • fits into your organization's plans or mission/mandate
  • is specific

To be successful it is important to identify and put your energy in to the one or two key public policy issues that you believe are absolutely vital to your constituency. Remember that effective public policy influence requires sustained input over a period of time. Significant changes in public policy take a long time to initiate and even longer to implement. When deciding whether or not to tackle an issue, remember to ask yourself these questions:

  • How important is this policy, or this policy process, to accomplishing our mission?
  • Is this part of our planned public policy development strategy or a "one-shot deal"?
  • Is this effort to influence policy going to improve our chances of success in achieving our primary mission?
  • Do we have the appropriate resources (human, financial and time) to commit to this initiative?

This module will help you formulate a strategy and develop some key messages for your organization, direct you to the appropriate resources to build an effective case for your policy position and help your organization to better influence public policy.

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Last Updated: 2019-11-21