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WU Agendas and Steps for Activating Change Paper

WU Agendas and Steps for Activating Change Paper


Title: The Agenda Funnel and Its Role in Advocating for Change

Introduction: The process of advocating for change, especially in the realm of social problems, requires careful consideration and strategic planning. This paper delves into the concept of the agenda funnel, the importance of context when advocating for change to decision makers, and how the ten issues outlined by Jansson play a crucial role in activating change concerning a selected social problem.

  1. Concept of the Agenda Funnel: The agenda funnel is a concept that illustrates how issues gain attention and move through various stages to ultimately influence the policy-making process. It represents the narrowing of options and the filtering of ideas as they progress from public discourse to policy implementation. The funnel typically consists of stages like problem identification, policy formulation, agenda setting, decision making, and implementation. At each stage, certain factors, such as political feasibility, public opinion, and advocacy efforts, come into play and can either advance or stall an issue’s progress through the funnel.
  2. Importance of Context in Advocating for Change: Context plays a pivotal role when advocating for change to decision makers for several reasons:

    a. Understanding the political climate: The political climate and the attitudes of decision makers can significantly impact the likelihood of success for advocacy efforts. Assessing the current political landscape helps advocates tailor their strategies to align with or counter prevailing ideologies.

    b. Identifying key stakeholders: Knowing who holds influence and power within the context of the social problem is crucial. Decision makers often respond more favorably to advocates who can demonstrate an understanding of the relevant stakeholders and their interests.

    c. Framing the issue effectively: Context influences how an issue is framed to resonate with decision makers. Effective framing involves presenting the problem in a way that aligns with decision makers’ values and priorities, making it more likely to gain traction.

    d. Timing: The timing of advocacy efforts must be attuned to the context. Pushing for change at the right moment, when decision makers are receptive, can significantly enhance the chances of success.

Now, let’s explore how the ten issues outlined by Jansson are important when trying to activate change regarding a selected social problem:

  1. Timing: Timing is crucial because launching advocacy efforts at the opportune moment can maximize their impact. Understanding when decision makers are more likely to be receptive to change is essential. For example, advocating for mental health reform during a national mental health awareness month can be more effective in garnering attention and support.
  2. Coupling: Coupling refers to linking the social problem with broader issues or existing policies. By demonstrating how the selected social problem is interconnected with existing concerns or policies, advocates can make it more relevant and appealing to decision makers. For instance, linking substance abuse prevention with healthcare cost reduction may garner support from decision makers concerned about healthcare budgets.
  3. Framing and Finding a Title: Effective framing and choosing a compelling title for the issue can shape public perception and garner support. For example, framing climate change as a “climate crisis” and using titles like “Green New Deal” can capture public attention and generate enthusiasm, which can then influence decision makers.
  4. Negotiating and Bargaining: Negotiating and bargaining are essential when dealing with decision makers. Advocates must be prepared to compromise and find common ground to advance their cause. For instance, when advocating for gun control measures, advocates may need to negotiate with lawmakers who have opposing views to secure their support for incremental changes.
  5. Assembling Early Sponsors and Supporters: Building a coalition of early sponsors and supporters is crucial to gain momentum. Having respected individuals or organizations endorse the cause can lend credibility and influence decision makers. In the case of advocating for affordable housing, having local community leaders and nonprofit organizations as early supporters can sway policymakers.
  6. Routing: Routing refers to determining the most effective path through the agenda funnel. Advocates need to identify the appropriate channels and decision-making bodies to target their efforts. For instance, if advocating for educational reform, determining whether the issue should be addressed at the local, state, or federal level is essential.
  7. Media Coverage: Media coverage can amplify the message and put pressure on decision makers. Advocates should work to secure media attention for their cause. For example, highlighting personal stories of individuals affected by a lack of healthcare access can create a compelling narrative that resonates with the public and decision makers.
  8. Setting Key Endorsements: Securing endorsements from influential individuals or organizations can bolster the credibility of the advocacy effort. Decision makers often pay attention to endorsements from respected sources. For instance, having medical associations endorse a healthcare reform proposal can sway lawmakers in favor of the policy.
  9. Coalition Building: Building coalitions with other advocacy groups and organizations that share similar goals can increase the collective impact. For example, when advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, forming alliances with civil rights organizations can broaden the advocacy base and exert more pressure on decision makers.
  10. Building Momentum: Sustaining momentum is crucial throughout the advocacy process. Advocates must continually engage and mobilize supporters to maintain pressure on decision makers. For instance, using social media campaigns, rallies, and petitions can help sustain momentum and keep the issue in the public eye.

In conclusion, the concept of the agenda funnel, the consideration of context, and the ten issues outlined by Jansson are all integral components of effective advocacy for social change. By understanding how these factors intersect, advocates can navigate the complex landscape of policy influence and increase the likelihood of successfully addressing pressing social problems.

WU Agendas and Steps for Activating Change Paper



Submit a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

Briefly explain the concept of the agenda funnel.

Why is context important when advocating for change to decision makers?

Using the social problem you identified earlier in the course, explain how the 10 issues Jansson outlined are important when trying to activate change regarding the selected social problem. Provide 2–3 sentences for each of the 10 issues:

  • Timing
  • Coupling
  • Framing and finding a title

Negotiating and bargaining

Assembling early sponsors and supporters

  1. Routing
  2. Media coverage
  3. Setting key endorsements
  4. Coalition building
  5. Building momentum
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