About The Power Prism®
Power-building for advocacy, equity, and sustainability
Originally developed in 2001 by campaign co-conspirators, Lori Fresina and Judy Meredith, the Power Prism® became the bedrock of the successful
advocacy consulting practice built by Fresina and Diane Pickles (see photo on right) during their 12 years at M+R Strategic Services where the
suite of applications grew and evolved to meet changing needs of their clients. At its core, the Power Prism® is a step-by-step framework for
recognizing and acting on opportunities to build momentum in an advocacy campaign. It's all about learning to make it easier for decision-makers to give you what you want.
The Power Prism® is built on six "power tools" of advocacy that help
individuals and organizations convert even the smallest event into a power-building opportunity. Each of the "power tools" can apply pressure
on decision-makers in order to reach our policy goals. The Power Prism® has been used effectively by organizations such as the American Heart
Association, Human Rights Campaign, Community Catalyst, Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts, Let's Grow Kids – Vermont, and many others.
Regardless of one's experience, this framework has been proven to be a valuable tool for planning, executing and evaluating an advocacy campaign.
It's simple: This common-sense framework prompts advocates stop and
think about expanding their power through activating any or all of the 6 advocacy tools, rather than working in a linear fashion. Too often,
organizations move from Point A to Point B within an advocacy campaign without considering other opportunities to build power and "squeeze more juice" out of an event.
Some ways our clients use the Power Prism®:
- Campaign Planning: There are a number of campaign planning
tools in the Power Prism® suite to help identify the right campaign goal and build a winning comprehensive action plan for your
coalition, staff, and volunteers. We strongly recommend that the campaign plan be treated as a living document - changing as the campaign changes.
- Campaign Assessment: Whether at a critical point during the
campaign, or as a retrospective analysis, this framework challenges advocates to look at all key advocacy campaign areas to see where
they excelled, whey they fell flat, and what they would do differently next time – if anything. A good campaign assessment
informs important resource decisions around staffing, strategic partnerships, and inclusion of the communities intended to benefit from the proposed advocacy goal.
- Staff & Volunteer Training: Train advocacy staff and volunteers
to prepare for strategic campaigning. Immersing a staff/volunteer team in a highly interactive training format allows team members to
work through relevant scenarios together and to develop shared understanding of advocacy strategies. Frequency of trainings
depends on staff/volunteer turnover and schedule of regular convenings.
- Single Training Sessions: Half-Day Training Sessions include a full
overview of issue-campaigns and the power tools of advocacy, as well as "drill down" session tailored to a client's unique issues and opportunities.
- Follow-Up Technical Assistance & Coaching: Booster Webinar Trainings help our clients focus and refine their efforts around
specific aspects of advocacy (i.e., grassroots, coalition building, decision-maker advocacy, and so on). These booster sessions
support clients as they move from planning into implementation and help to reinforce the use of each 'power tool' until it becomes a matter of habit.
- Customized Coaching: This can be done in person, over the
phone, or via webinar and is focused on helping our clients build detailed strategic plans, troubleshoot issues and challenges, and
identify new tactics. Often, this format works well for senior leaders who do not have an internal peer group with whom to strategize, problem-solve, and plan.
- Advocacy Toolkits: We design tailored advocacy toolkits and
templates on everything from writing letters to the editor to developing strategic advocacy plans to meeting their Members of Congress face-to-face. Let us meet your needs.
- Leadership Primer: Often, when organizations decide to add or
grow policy advocacy as a key mission advancement strategy, there is internal discomfort among staff, board members, and
funders. They may fear it will impede fundraising ability, invite
controversial media coverage, or just simply resist any change to the way things have always been done. A dramatic
cultural shift can be required to maximize the investment in policy advocacy. We work discreetly with staff leaders, board
members and key funders to manage the transition in a way that honors the past structure while promoting advocacy as a means of contributing to greater mission advancement.
- Grantee Capacity Building: Nonprofits, public agencies, foundations and associations benefit when their grantees and
members have the skills and resources to sustain their efforts long after a grant cycle ends. Helping those funders shore up
their investments by building the advocacy capacity and sustainability of its grantees is a win-win.
- Professional Development: What if every physician received training in advocacy while in medical school? Or if every
teacher was required to demonstrate basic advocacy proficiency as a condition of certification? Or if every urban planner
started their job with a working knowledge of what it would take to accomplish their goals in a political context? Imagine
how those content experts could advance their missions faster and better through advocacy. Perhaps someday, advocacy
skills-building will be offered as a standard component of higher education, but until then, we must provide on-the-job
training to engage the experts in fighting for those causes they hold dear.