Reframing newsletter

Telling a Cohesive Advocacy Story

September 7, 2017
Congress returned to Washington this week with a long list of legislative priorities, including a Hurricane Harvey relief package, FY 2018 spending bills, and raising the debt-ceiling. Overhauling the tax code could also make it onto Congress’ fall agenda. The human service sector has an important role to play in sharing with the public a cohesive story that explains how these policies will affect our nation’s physical, emotional, economic, and social well-being.

Alliance for Strong Families and CommunityIn a recent opinion piece published in The Hill, Susan Dreyfus, President & CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and an NHSA board member, provides a thoughtfully framed commentary on the collective impact that policy proposals related to Medicaid, the federal budget, and charitable giving tax incentives would have on health and well-being. Dreyfus uses the Building Well-Being Narrative throughout the piece to establish why these policy decisions matter to the public and to explain how various policies and programs work together to influence well-being. Following are just a few well-framed excerpts from “The Federal Budget is a Reflection of Our Nation’s Health Values.” We encourage you to read the full piece and consider how you can apply similar strategies to your advocacy communications in the coming months.

Excerpts from “The Federal Budget is a Reflection of Our Nation’s Health Values”

Value of Human Potential – Establishes early in the piece why the public should care about the federal policies and normalizes the need for a range of services and supports:

Whether you are talking about access to quality healthcare, housing, transportation, education, nutrition, job training and jobs, safety and permanency — these are all interconnected and necessary for individuals to reach their fullest potential.

Construction Metaphor – Uses construction concepts throughout the piece to explain what we all need to thrive:

As leaders in the health and human services sector, we know that individuals, families and communities are more likely to achieve their full potential when they have a strong foundation that enables them to thrive, no matter their current situation, socio-economic status, or geographic location.

That means having access to key building blocks, like gainful employment, affordable and preventive healthcare, safe and nurturing relationships and environments, and quality education are essential.

Construction Metaphor – Extends the metaphor to explain how existing and proposed policies can undermine well-being:

Our work to build, restore and sustain that foundation is now in jeopardy across too many fronts. We must reverse this course and recognize the cumulative impact these proposed policies will have for families and communities, not just today but well into the future.

Solutions – Closes with a specific call to action that reinforces the ways in which we all benefit from the human service sector:

The federal budget is a reflection of our nation’s values — and those values must include: investments in our human capital and the social determinants of health; increased incentives for charitable giving; and access to quality, preventive, and affordable healthcare for everyone.

As vital partners to government, community-based health and human services organizations serve as beacons of light in tens of thousands of communities across America. Policies and financial investments that strengthen the health and human services system and recognize the vital role our sector plays will lead to better outcomes for the families and communities we serve, which in turn, will lead to a stronger economy and healthier America.