Steps in the Process for Achieveing External Buy-In
- Engage your key community allies. If you completed the planning section, you might have already addressed this step by assembling a UWSF team. But if not, having community members on board that are naturally receptive to the principles of UWSF will help you start down the path of least resistance.
- Don't hold back your excitement and passion for the UWSF initiative.
- Listening and learning from your community partners will inform and infuse your presentations with pertinent examples.
- Introduce UWSF wherever possible. Articulate your belief in the potential community benefits that UWSF offers. Work on building your relationships and open your discussion to your entire community, not just your established partners.
- "You build a foundation. You have your relationships, within your organization, within city government, within county government, within human service agencies, with your parent groups, with your family resource centers." Barbara Frye, High Point
- Find a well-connected community member to champion UWSF, whether that person is in local government, business, or a nonprofit.
- Parent engagement can be accomplished through many avenues including the use of Community Cafes.
- Create an orientation. This is your chance to sell UWSF and the benefits for your community to those who are interested. Keep in mind that some people will be happy to buy in after a standard orientation, but some will require more detailed exposure to the principles before coming onboard. That said, you might find that creating both a stand-alone orientation and a more detailed series of informational meetings will prepare you for various needs.
- These sessions should be infused with protective factor language. And your presenters should be fully versed in UWSF and comfortable with the terminology.
- Prepare a clearly outlined meeting agenda that specifies attendees, dates, and other pertinent information.
- San Antonio found that a worksheet can be used to assist participant engagement in the meetings. The worksheet helped participants internalized the information presented and how the protective factors align with their current programs (Ex., "From what you just heard presented, where do the protective factors fit in and how?").
- Conduct the orientation sessions. During your sessions you will be supporting the use of UWSF and the protective factors as a flexible framework. This means discussing the ways to embed UWSF including buy-in, allocation process, training, self-assessment, community cafés, workplace integration, communications, and marketing.
- Using the worksheets discussed in step three helped the participants focus on the protective factors, and helped them retain the concepts.
- Meeting evaluation sheets used at every meeting can help ensure participants were able to assimilate the UWSF principles. It also allowed staff to tweak the subsequent meetings according to this feedback. For example, when evaluations came back indicating that too much information was being presented in a short time frame, the team adjusted their strategy.
- Agency volunteers began to integrate Protective Factors language into their vocabulary and use the terminology with confidence.
- Keep your UWSF discussions alive. After your orientation session(s) are complete, you might help participants celebrate success, build on the energy created during the orientation, establish learning networks (i.e., joint projects, restructuring their allocation process), or keep in touch in other ways. Consider reconvening participants from the orientations to discuss progress, success, and hurdles. This can give you a chance to offer additional insight and assistance.
- UWSF lives on in whichever strategies you choose to follow through on, continually looking to expand your audience as it would make sense, growing network of people committed to these ideas.
- Highlighting accomplishments within the community can help you maintain momentum for the Strengthening Families framework.