There has been an increasing need for a stronger common narrative by social service workforce advocates. Whereas a common narrative is differently defined by all, it necessarily requires a common understanding of facts and advocacy messaging. This foundation will allow for a more effective joint advocacy movement. Research supports this philosophy: joint messaging strengthens advocacy efforts within social and health issues. Recent developments on national and regional levels suggest that interest in strengthening the social service workforce is gaining momentum among policy and decision-makers, and a window of opportunity for leaders and advocates to increase support for the workforce currently exists.
The purpose of this Global Advocacy Toolkit is to provide advocates with a common set of tools and messages with which to bring about greater political and programmatic priority for strengthening the social service workforce.
This Toolkit is research-based, solutions-focused and includes lessons from behavioural science and original research on the most effective ways to communicate to policy and decision makers. It outlines the relevance of advocacy, communications and highlights concrete steps for the social services workforce Ambassadors, practitioners and researchers to develop their own context-specific advocacy plans.
How to use the Global Advocacy Toolkit
- The toolkit will provide you with research insights into what works when talking to policy and decision-makers and developing an advocacy outreach. After each section in chapter 4, they will provide you with guidance and tools to create your own context-specific advocacy plan. It can be adjusted to a specific issue and address national or regional settings. The last section of the toolkit provides you with additional advocacy tools that can be helpful for outreach to your target audience.
- What exactly do they mean when we talk about advocacy for the social service workforce? Advocacy aims at changing the pattern of decision-making, thus attempting to increase the probability of a specific decision being reached. For the social service sector, advocacy efforts go beyond basic policy change. Actors additionally protect rights, educate the public and encourage civil or political participation. Advocacy can seek fundamental institutional change and immediate gains for an organization or seek to address issues that need to greater focus to create policy change.
- When considering the social service workforce, it is relevant to note that they have three actors involved: the target audience, the social service workforce itself, and the vulnerable population it serves. The social service workforce represents the interests of vulnerable populations, advocates for their welfare and empowers them to be advocates for themselves. The social service workforce is advocating for greater political and programmatic priority because they have learned that a strong social service workforce increases the effectiveness of programs for vulnerable families and children. However, good advocacy is not a ‘one size fits all’ proposition. Advocacy for the social service workforce needs to be targeted and context-specific to resonate and move decision and policymakers to take specific actions in a wide range of contexts.