Power Prism

About The Power Prism

Power-building for advocacy and sustainability
M+R helps public interest organizations accomplish their goals through advocacy. We will help your organization with our full suite of comprehensive, customized training and coaching services, utilizing a framework called the Power Prism® . Our approach has empowered advocates nationwide with the tools, tactics – and confidence – needed to plan and win campaigns.

Campaigns can be for policy change, such as passing state and local smoke -free laws; for organizational change, such as reinvigorating a Board of Directors; or for capacity-building change, such as giving a foundation's grantees the training, tools and coaching to build strategic relationships with key decision-makers, work with and through the media, and build strategic coalitions.

Developed in 2001 by campaign co-conspirators, Lori Fresina and Judy Meredith , 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" is an essential lever through which we can apply pressure on decision makers in order to reach our policy goals. The Power Prism® has been used effectively by M+R clients such as Habitat for Humanity, The College Board, Clean Air Task Force, Susan G. Komen Advocacy Alliance, the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, the American Heart Association, Community Catalyst, Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and many others. Regardless of one's experience, the Prism has been proven to be a valuable tool for planning, executing and evaluating an advocacy campaign.

The Power Prism® helps clients stop and think about expanding their power through activating any or all of the 6 advocacy tools, rather than working in a laser-beam 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.

M+R trains its clients to integrate each of the 6 advocacy power tools; to look comprehensively and strategically at every event and opportunity within their organizations; and, to approach everything they do as a potential power-building opportunity. This helps them not only achieve greater advocacy outcomes but also builds their organizational capacity and ensures their long-term sustainability.

Training and Coaching Formats
M+R can tailor and adapt its training and coaching services to meet a client's particular needs. The following are some popular formats:

  • 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 particular 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: M+R designs 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. M+R works 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. The best advocates for an issue are rarely the professional advocates – they are those professionals who care enough about their issue to take it to the next level: The school counselors who advocate for college and career readiness policies; the physicians and nurses who advocate for obesity prevention and tobacco control programs; and, the city planners who advocate for affordable housing and a healthier built environment. M+R specializes in helping groups of professionals accomplish public interest goals with tailored training and coaching to help them succeed at persuading key decision-makers to give them what they want.

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