Entry for June 05, 2006

This  photo  of Nancy Amidei by Kathy Sauber  in the October 19, 2000 Univeresity Week at the University of Washington is from the October 10  celebration that year  when then-Seattle Mayor Paul Schell declared it “Nancy Amidei Day”  to honor this 

extraordinary individual and her creativity, hard work and perseverance.

Abraham Lincoln once said, speaking in the first Lincoln-Douglas debate

…public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes or decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”

As Amidei’s vita shows,  she has worked her whole career on public policy. I came across her name today as a theorist on the characteristics of effective social change organizations in a paper evaluating Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP).  VDAP, along others including even the conservative Rutherford Institute, is protesting Virginia’s scheduled June 8 execution of Percy Walton on the grounds that he is a mentally retarded schizophrenic.

Her theories attracted my attention given my current sense of “What’s an ordinary person to do?” that follows in the wake of disclosures of money interests lobbying to end the estate tax, privatize the internet and promote nuclear energy of which I’ve written in the past few weeks.

Thankfully, we have folks working on our side like Amidei, who is currently, senior lecturer UW’s School of Social Work and the director of the School’s Civic Engagement Project (CEP), sponsored in coordination of OMB Watch (where whe serves a board member) and the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI).

CEP develops materials, offers training and provides hands-on experiences in  policy-making. Amidei authored the CEP’s So You Want to Make a Difference (revised 2002). 


On of the board members CLPI is on the staff of the Advocacy Insitute, which has a slew of resources available free of charge, including a newletter.  The online archive of past issues is here.   This month’s newsletter includes this sage advice:

If you’re working strategically, then your communications, like your other advocacy efforts, will focus on two types of audiences:

  • Decision makers, those that have the power of authority – formal or informal – to make or to block change, and
  • Pressure makers, those that have the power to influence or pressure decision makers or other pressure makers, and to raise public opinion about an issue

The newsletter provides detailed resources on how to conduct media advocacy and links to articles such as “Getting Ready for Media Advocacy or How to Get Your Ducks in a Row” by Makani Themba Themba-Nixon of the Berkeley Media Group


Also of interest is “Mobilizing Public Will for Social Change”, a June 2003 paper by Michigan State  University’s  Charles T. Salmon, Lori A. Post and Robin E. Christensen commissioned by Media Evaluation Project of the Communications Consortium Media Center. The Media Center also commissioned “Writing a Media Analysis”, by Douglas Gould, who has a strategic communications agency geared towards progressive non-profit advocacy.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: