Four members of the RESULTS UK grassroots network are attending the RESULTS International Conference in Washington DC (22-25 July), our annual celebration of our advocacy mission, where members of the RESULTS family from across the world meet, re-energise ourselves, and share challenges and successes.

In this first of a series of blog posts, ​Attica Kone, a campaigner with the London RESULTS Group, shares what she learned from a session on building practical advocacy skills to engage others.

This morning I had the opportunity to participate in the workshop on Building Advocacy Training Skills to Engage your Community. I already understood that my role as a grassroots advocate is to create supporters, advocates, leaders and champions. This includes working with our MPs, assessing where they are on a scale as a ‘champion’ for international development, and move them up from being potential opponents to neutral, supporters, advocates, leaders and maybe even champions!

I learned a useful tool on how to write letters and make phone calls to elected representatives, called the ‘EPIC’ model. EPIC stands for:

Engage: Give the reason why the matter or issue you are talking about is important. You should start with your personal story – why does it matter for me?

Problem: Describe the problem including facts and figures.

Inform: Explain what has been done or is being done to improve the situation and describe the actions that need to be supported.

Call to action: Ask your representative to take action to support what is being done.

During the session, I learned some great tips on how to connect with your elected representative:

  • We must focus on building a relationship, not only passing on a message
  • We should always ask a yes or no question – will you support X?
  • We should make a plan to follow up with our representative after the meeting
  • When planning for the meeting, it is important to anticipate any objections or concerns and find potential answers, so do your research!
  • If during the meeting the MP raised any concerns, we should ask for their reasons before we can reply with more convincing arguments.

It was a very rich experience, with lots of practical activities and detailed explanations. I now feel more confident in taking actions and I even believe I have been empowered to train other people on advocacy!