Deepening the Advocacy Bench

Any organization that has representatives in Washington, DC already recognizes the importance of advocacy. However, for small volunteer organizations whose expertise, analysis, and decision making is made at the membership level, improving participation and “deepening the bench” is a growing challenge.

One of CRD Associates’ clients, the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN), proactively identified this issue as one to address through its strategic planning and advocacy efforts. With the support of the John E. Lewy Foundation for Children’s Health, ASPN set up the Advocacy Scholars Program, designed to develop and cultivate future leaders who have an interest in the governmental processes affecting children’s health in general and advocacy for pediatric nephrology in particular.

Young members apply for the program. Those chosen attend national advocacy conferences and are closely mentored by leaders of the Society.

In return, these scholars commit to participating in the Society’s Public Policy Committee, serve as mentors to future Advocacy Scholars classes and agree to take on leadership roles in the future. This is, of course, just one way for organizations to foster inclusion and encourage greater service and participation. It is also a way to ensure institutional knowledge is passed on to the next generation of members.

ASPN’s program has been highly successful as Scholars provide positive feedback, input on advocacy materials and new ideas and fresh insight to ongoing policy discussions. The birth of this program brings the Society’s future experts.

Tailoring a program to the needs of an organization is something that CRD Associates specializes in –whether it’s establishing something new, updating an ongoing program or providing training for senior level executives, CRD can help make sure your members are getting the most out of your organization and that your organization is capitalizing on the talents of its members.

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