Advocates can face both strategic and personal challenges when engaging with decision-makers and elected officials with differing views on public health policies. Constructive dialogue in these instances requires them to find and build on shared values and common ground with policymakers, and to care for their own needs, feelings, and sense of safety. To support both policy progress and advocates’ well-being, we created a research-driven guide and training that helps them assess decision-makers’ mindsets and priorities and explore, in less polarizing ways, policies that support children and families.
MG used the science of archetypes, which are typical examples of a person or group, to more fully understand the idea of “conservative decision-makers.” Initial archetypes drew on research from Pew and others and were informed by our conversations with message researchers, a political scientist, and influencers with conservative and progressive viewpoints.
The result is Finding Commonalities and Solutions With Decision-Makers, an online resource that includes not only the topic-focused messaging and information on archetypes and nonpolarizing-communication practices mentioned above, but also access to recorded training modules, live webinars, and technical assistance, so advocates feel more equipped to constructively engage with conservative elected officials during policy conversations, either on topics we created messaging for or others.