An Advocacy Algorithm—For Today's Global Citizens

Bootcamp for NGO Reps, Global Citizens & Interns Leading Change At The UN & Intergovernmental Meetings
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  • Lectures 35
  • Length 12.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 5/2012 English

Course Description

Change Is In Your Hands

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead

This A to Z course is designed as a Bootcamp for civil society activists, interns, volunteers and global citizens called to make a difference at the United Nations and at other related international intergovernmental meetings where critical policies are being forged.

The focus is on understanding the UN Structure (today's pre-eminent peace building organization,) how it works, how to interact effectively with it, and how to make an impact there.

Students get rich in-depth lessons that include:

  • Over 12 hours in more than 30 lessons about the UN, its structure, decision-making, members, landmark documents....
  • A solid understanding of the global institution, it members, bodies, functions, the various decision-making procedures and more
  • Access to insider information that would otherwise take years to discover
  • Time saving links to hard-to-find resources
  • Strategic perspectives for those "walking the corridors"
  • Sections on advocacy, framing, how to build social capital, mobilizing resources and more
  • The one thing most NGOs do nothing about, but can make the biggest difference to your impact at the UN
  • And much, much more...

More importantly, the course carefully guides members of civil society so they can navigate the complex environment so they can make a difference.

Depth & Breadth

In the Advocacy Algorithm we cover a lot of territory, accumulating a breadth and depth of information, recommended strategies, know-how and insider tips and tricks that will shave hours, weeks or even months of time off your learning curve.

Plus the materials, downloads, resources and additional recommended resources and reading will satisfy those with a voracious desire to learn.

We provide downloadable mp3s, pdfs, difficult-to-find links,additional resources and juried texts. 

The Advocacy Algorithm deftly blends knowledge with know-how so that you can focus on leveraging you and your organization's strengths as global citizens and change leaders in the shortest time possible with these Advocacy Skills.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


The Why & What of the Advocacy Algorithm Course

Welcome to our online training!

Take a moment to watch this and then dive right in. If you haven't signed up for the Advocacy Algorithm intensive yet, just do it! 

And because there is real value in the "Express Course" we have added those 3 key (and FREE) videos in a really key place for that work, in Chapter 5 where we look at the "Mindset for Leading Change".

Again, WELCOME! You will gradually become more familiar with the site and the way the training moves along.

Pace yourself and enjoy learning!

Section 1: Footing, Perspective & The Basics For Successful Advocacy at the UN

The "what" and "why" of an algorithm for avocacy.

Getting you ready to dig into plenty of meaty information in the rest of the modules.


International Context. Context. Context.

Have you ever walked out to get an ice-cream cone with little but flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt when it was -15˚F and sunny outside? Few would. It is so obviously unwise. You get feedback on that the minute you set foot outside the door. Yet time and again, NGO representatives are surprised by the chill of many a diplomatic response. Largely, that is due to a major differential of perspectives and understanding between the NGO rep. and the diplomat. At least as different as that between a 70˚F indoor temperature and the -15˚F outside? Since NGOs are the ones seeking to engage diplomats, it is up to the NGOs to do the necessary work up front to adapt to the diplomatic mindset and "world" or priorities and concerns. Understanding that they have clearly been mandated to serve the best interests of their nation, that they have clear priorities and responsibilities, and that in general, NGOs are not very high up their priority list, helps NGO reps and teams adjust their strategies and approach. But how many NGO-representatives think of these things as they are preparing their letters, faxes, brochures, pitches and speeches? Are NGOs positioning themselves to help alleviate the burdens of the diplomats or are they approaching the diplomatic community to "get" something—recognition, support, approval, a picture— and so in fact being a burden and therefore creating an enormous gap and "temperature differential" between them?

More About Context

Today, context awareness is one of the drivers in computer science and there are extensive efforts to help our hand-helds and mobile gadgets be as context-aware as possible. Mathematically the "logic of contexts"* is utilized in the development of algorithms for computing—all part of the endeavor to both simplify and enrich interaction in the computing environment to match that of typical human interaction. Because context awareness is so natural for humans in familiar environments, we often fail to take adequate note of its role as we step into new ones. In this lesson we are underscore the importance of context and encourage discovery of, and learning about the unique and complex UN environment. What mathematical formulas associated with the logic of context highlight, is that contexts are to be treated as formal objects, as realities distinct from others. And this is no less true for all the seemingly invisible components of the UN context. What this means for us as we go to the United Nations and plan to engage people and organizations there in an effort to bring about change, is that we need to factor in all those un-obvious components of the UN context along with the physical environment, the nature and positions of the persons we interact with, our goals and objectives, our resources and capacities. But what are they? How can we learn about them? What are those "invisibles" the diplomats are immersed almost 24/7? Context at the UN has historic, demographic and network components in addition to the set of roles and relations of each individual. So if NGOs go to the United Nations, armed only with theiragenda, goals and objectives without awareness of or regard to the substantive realities (context) of those they are seeking to influence, their efforts and investment will fall far short of their desired goal. Even golfers take into account the winds, the declination of the green, the length of the turf and more when shooting for the hole. Without this same attention and awareness of context, no matter how noble and sacrificial an individual or their organization may be, disregarding "what's going on in the head, body and heart of their UN prospect" will undermine the possibility of accomplishing the changes sought at the UN, and so, in humanity writ large.**

Paying Attention to Anothers' Context is to Contribute to A Reality Larger Than Our Own

Some would say that such striving for larger, inclusive thinking is what is needed to "lead." At least being aware of our environment both visible and invisible is a first step to determining effective and strategic actions that can bring about change. And change for the greater good is, after all the reason for NGOs to be active at the UN.


UN Multi-Media —

Additional Reading & References

Ammerman, Nancy T. Studying Congregations: A New Handbook.Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998. Print.

Audinet, Jacques. The Human Face of Globalization: From Multicultural to Mestizaje. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. Print.

*Buvac, Sasa and Mason, Ian A. The Propositional Logic of Context, 1993 Internet resource.

** Judd Smith, Karen "The UN: Humanity Writ Large", The UN at 60: Challenge and Change. Washington, D.C: Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, 2005. Print. An internet articleUN@60: An article—The UN: Humanity Writ Large


In this lesson we look at one valuable and practical way to anchor your learning experience. By choosing an area of concern that is "yours" you can become an expert (for your organization.) In addition, it is a practical way to work your way through this course, focus your learning and to emerge with some significantly expanded knowledge, clarity and confidence. By making a choice and focusing on your chosen area of expertise as you work your way through the modules, you will better grasp the lessons and begin to build your own portfolio of knowledge that will serve you well at the UN and beyond.


CONGO Committees Conference of NGOs Working Committees —

ECOSOC's Subsidiary Bodies —

NGO-DESA: NGO Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs
That part of the UN Secretariat that services the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) —

Subsidiary Organs of the General Assembly —

ECOSOC's Functional Commissions —


This lesson covers some of the basics of where the UN is today both geographically and some aspects of its evolution. First, we take a quick tour from the Arcadia Conference in Washington DC to Dumbarton Oaks, San Francisco and New York. We also take a look at what the UN looked like the first time Trygvie Lie moved into UNHQ in 1950 and a news reel from 1946 during the UN's time in Lake Success, NY. Now the windows are coming down off the facade (November 2010) during its first major renovations since it's opening. But we review more than the geography so you can better know the place you are walking into.


United Nations Day —

UN Information Centers (UNIC) —

Local Offices, Programmes and Agencies —

UN Association —

NOTE: The photos of the early UN are courtesy of the UN Photo and do not ascribe a photographer. Some of the images of the UN flag; the UN landmark building; general views of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the International Court of Justice; and photos of UN peacekeepers in action are from the UN Photo library (and freely available for use.) Others were taken by myself over the years.


In this lesson, we look at the growth of UN membership and its implications, where the Missions to the UN are and how to find them. We take some time to look into the "inner landscape" of  Ambassadors' and diplomats' worlds so we can understand how to connect (rather than alienate) diplomats and UN staffers.


Growth of UN Membership: —

Finding the Missions Websites: —

Membership in Principle Organs —

The UN Blue Book —

Vattel, Droit des Gens —

Section 2: UN Structure & Decision Making

This lesson looks more in depth at the Charter of the UN:

  • what it is
  • how it gained it’s “legal personality”
  • a little about what that means to the nations that signed the charter
  • the components of the charter

Does the charter enable the UN to “stay relevant” to the times?

  • Now may IGOs have international status and legal personality
  • The international landscape is very different than 1945
  • Can it cope with the challenge of transnational crime & terrorism?
  • What of the challenge of the  borderless information age?


Discuss either with a colleague or by making your own notes:

  • Read Chapter I, Article 2 Paragraph 7 and Chapter VII (& especially Article 39) in relation to the Rwandan Genocide. How would you have voted if you had been in the Security Council at the time of the plea for help from Rwandans?
  • Your reading of  Chapter VII and Article 39 in particular: How well can the SC deal with terrorism and similar transnational crimes that “threaten the peace”?


The UN Charter —

Suggested Reading and Resources

United Nations Today. New York: United Nations Dept. of Public Information, 2008. Print.

—Matheson, Michael J. Council Unbound: The Growth of UN Decision Making on Conflict And Postconflict Issues After the Cold War. Washington, D.C: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2006. Print.

—Welch, Gita H, and Zahra Nuru. Governance for the Future: Democracy and Development in the Least Developed Countries. , 2006. Internet resource.

—Annan, Kofi A. In Larger Freedom. New York: United Nations, 2005. Print and available online here. Governance ReportAvailable online here (and also in print)


The UN Charter outlines the main organs of the UN, their composition, voting, functions and powers, and their relationship to one another. In this video we go over the six organs to introduce you to them. This sets the scene for more in depth look at the various organs later, but meanwhile provides some basic information that is always useful. We then encourage you to "learn by teaching" in your homework!


  • Review this video so you are clear about the 6 principle organs of the UN & where they came from.
  • Ask 2 or 3 others today if they know the 6 major organs of the UN and explain to them all 6 if they do not.
  • Which one is the only one not located in New York?
  • Who heads each one and how are they elected, for how long?


UN Charter —

UN General Assembly Resolution 377 (V) "Uniting for Peace" — ares377e Uniting For Peace

UN General Assembly —

UN Security Council —


Trusteeship Council —

International Court of Justice —

UN Secretariat —

Suggested Reading and Resources

United Nations Today. New York: United Nations Dept. of Public Information, 2008. Print.

The NGLS Handbook of UN Agencies, Programmes, Funds and Conventions Working for Sustainable Development. Geneva [u.a.: NGLS, 2000. Print & Online Resource. The NGLS Handbook


This lesson connects you to the "rules of procedures" for the 3 main deliberative bodies and then reviews, very briefly, the "shift" in the decision making process that has taken place at the UN in two of these. The Security Council stays close to its original procedures in its process. (A later lesson will review some of the unique ways the SC has evolved and some of the implications of that.) Here we take a little time to look at consensus as a decision making process and some of what it can mean to NGOs working at the UN.


General Assembly — Security Council — ECOSOC — ECOSOC's Committee on NGOs —


What might be different when you plan how to get your NGO approved by ECOSOC’s Committee on NGOs if... You knew you had to get a simple majority vote to succeed, or You needed to make sure there was no-one that would stand up definitively to oppose your NGO (and table your progress, possibly indeterminately—effectively denial of status.) Possible action steps: Find out who is on the committee — which nations may be supportive, which not. What are the relations like between those who are supportive and those who are not? Why don’t they support you? Perception or substantive issues?

Additional Reading and References

—Sidhu, Gretchen. Intergovernmental Negotiations and Decisions Making at the United Nations: A Guide. New York: United Nations, 2007. Internet resource.

—Drucker, Peter F. Managing in the Next Society. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002. Print.

—Kreitner, Robert, and Angelo Kinicki. Organizational Behavior. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008. Print.

—Daft, Richard L. The Leadership Experience - Fourth Edition. Sos Free Stock, 2004. Print.

—For some additional perspectives on consensus as a decision-making process there are quite extensive resources on the US National Defense University website such as: Consensus Team Decision Making NGLS Book on UN Decisionmaking. A link to an online resource


Having previously looked at the decision making process in the 3 deliberative bodies, we now look at the Secretariat, the funds and programmes and related organizations in order to understand how these all work into the big picture of the UN and which main organs they relate to. This adds another piece to our understanding of the United Nations and the ways it works worldwide. Download the Chart of the UN System.


List all the organizations related to the UN that you can think of. Look at the chart and see what organ is their main contact. Look up one of the organizations on the chart that you have never heard of BUT that interests you and find out: what they do, who they serve, it’s head, and follow them in the news for the next few months. Consider what you are finding out against the following objectives for being effective at the UN:1. Developing knowledge of your NGOs work, projects and programs 2. Utilizing knowledge of the agencies, funds, programmes or subsidiary bodies of the UN that your NGO's work aligns with 3. Knowledge of how your NGO’s work UNIQUELY contributes that sets it apart from all other organizations and approaches.

Suggested Reading and Resources

United Nations Today. New York: United Nations Dept. of Public Information, 2008. Print.

The NGLS Handbook of UN Agencies, Programmes, Funds and Conventions Working for Sustainable Development. Geneva [u.a.: NGLS, 2000. Print & Online Resource.

—Walker, Ronald A, and Brook Boyer. A Glossary of Terms for Un Delegates. Geneva: UNITAR, 2005. Internet resource. The NGLS HandbookAn eBook version


This is perhaps the shortest of the lessons thus far (maybe) but there are some important points made about 1:30 minutes in AND around the 15:45 minute mark and how to use the Advocacy Algorithm for "knowledge management" and not just for training. By and large, however, this lesson provides a quick review of the UN Offices, expanding your further the "lay of the UN land."


UN Office-Geneva — UN Office Nairobi — UN Office-Vienna —


Go back to each of the UN Office homepages and spend 5 minutes looking around, researching the information available through that Office. In Geneva, find one agency that interests you and explore it’s website—to broaden your own understanding of the scope of the work being done by the United Nations and its “family.”

Section 3: Decisions, Documents & Lobbying Intergovernmental Meetings

Now you are really starting to get into the detail of the UN. We cover a lot in this lesson, from Landmark documents to thinking about how the Security Council now functions quite differently in terms of expanded authority and scope since the end of the cold war. The we take a look at simple and yet very useful instruments the UN produces in terms of its International Days, Weeks, Years and Decades that give you additional ways to bring attention to bear on issues that your NGO works on that leverages the weight of the UN! Enjoy.


The UN Treaty Collection — Landmark Documents 1945: The United Nations Charter — 1948: Universal Declaration of Human Rights — 1950: Uniting for Peace — ares377e 1979: Verbatim Record of the 107th Plenary Meeting, 34th Session of the GA Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women — A/34/PV/107e 2000: Millennium Declaration (& The MDGs) —


  • Have you read the UDHR? Do you know what it says?
  • What about the GA Resolution/377 Uniting For Peace?
  • What do you know about the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women?

The MDG Summit was held during the 65th Session of the General Assembly during its High Level Segment September 20-22, 2010 to further the process of reaching the goals specified by 2015. The MDGs have been, and continue to be a needed focus in the coming years. This lesson goes of the basics of the MDGs, what they are, what their targets are and how they are connected with the Millennium Declaration.


The Secretary-General's Millennium Report "We The Peoples" —

The Millennium Assembly —

The Millennium Summit —

2000: Millennium Declaration —

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —

2010 MDG Summit —


  • Which of the MDGs (where applicable) is your NGO contributing to?
  • Find and review the MDG Summit outcome document, read it. What are your thoughts about this document in light of what you now know about the
  • MDGs? ( )
  • Go to the NGO responses to the MDG Summit and read some of their responses (don’t read this first... ).
  • What did you discover? ( )

Resolutions are the central to the way the UN works. They become the base for current work, the focus for working through many differences between Member States and for working together on issues that challenge everyone.

Whether you are researching how a particular issue has evolved, are looking for the language that the UN currently uses on today's hot topics, wanting to understand how well (or not) you believe the UN and its Member States are dealing with pressing issues, you will need to review and look at document to see what is really happening. Even if you hear media reports on what is happening at the UN or in international relations, you will often need to check what is really being said. And that is where UN documents come in. They are vital in the overall work, evolution and accomplishment of the UN. Of course, they are not everything, but knowing how to "read" them, where to find them and what it has taken to get them there is very important for those with a serious interest in the UN to understand.


UN Documents Page —

Terms used in Resolutions — Terms-Resolutions.pdf

UN Terms — UN Multilingual Terminology Database

UN Thesaurus — UN Thesaurus

UN Research Guide —

Online Training Tutorials for how to use the Document Systems

Quick Links

Document Symbols


What is this document?
— CCPR/C/ALB/2004/1 Using the Quick Links, can you find a recent resolution on “Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture.”

  • What is it’s document number?
  • When was it adopted?
  • When was it circulated as a printed document?

This lesson starts to pull together many of the aspects that you have been studying as separate components so far. It may remain a little conceptual for those who have not spent much time in advocacy or community mobilization before. But we start this two-part look at lobbying intergovernmental meetings primarily from the perspective of the key points that NGOs need to pay attention to both in preparing for going into meetings and during the meetings.


The UN Organizational Chart and Links to Commissions, Programmes, Funds etc.

Chart of the UN System


  • What would you have to do to get a clear mandate from your organization to represent it on a particular issue? One phone call? A series of meetings? Formation of a committee within your own organization?
  • Given that you already have an anchor for your work, research what commissions, international meetings or annual sessions of ECOSOC (for example) would be appropriate for you to participate in?)

Recommended Reading:

How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings 


In this session we go over:

  • Why participate
  • How to participate
  • How to be effective
  • Brackets and what they mean (in the drafts of the outcome documents)
  • Practical issues


The UN Organizational Chart and Links to Commissions, Programmes, Funds etc.

Chart of the UN System

NGO Conference Calendar of Events and where to register —


  • Do you plan to attend a UN conference in the near future? If so, write down 2 specific things you can plan to do in advance.
  • Put those actions into your scheduler. Now.

Recommended Reading:

How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings 

Section 4: A Change of Pace

In this session we go over:

  • Reality constructed through our relationships
  • Beliefs underpinning our experience and "reality"
  • An element of thinking needed to get you to your goals
  • Strategic plans that do not take beliefs into consideration—a recipe for success?
  • 8 pivotal beliefs


  • Make a point of continuing to observe (and differentiate) in your own thinking between your “debilitating” beliefs that undermine your ability to reach your goals and those that help you move forward and “grow” your success.
  • Perhaps you can think of one other belief that you have that you know is “not quite right” but it keeps popping up. Remember, we are not talking about the big philosophical beliefs here, but the small, functional ones...

A look at the UN as a "Member Organization"

In this session we go over:

  • Permanent Missions to the UN
  • Permanent Observers
  • How nations and organizations become members
  • What are countries joining?
  • Membership dues and responsibilities


The UN Charter (Membership) —

The UN Blue Book —


  • How does the UN compare with other membership organizations that perhaps you are a part of? What are the similarities and the differences?
  • Given that the UN is not a “government” what are your thoughts about there being a “world government”?
  • Given that the UN is an agreement of nations to work together for peace, security and good neighborliness, what do you think could make it “work better”?

Getting into the "shoes" (and minds) of those in diplomatic missions...

In this session we go over:

  • Permanent Missions to the UN
  • Missions, Embassies and Consulates
  • Diplomatic Titles, Ranks & International Relations
  • Diplomatic Focus of UN Missions
  • One Secret about the UN that many countries utilize to their advantage... and how NGOs and individuals can benefit from this too

Homework: None today... but

  • Perhaps you might consider the benefits of utilizing the UN as a place to "educate" your members while benefiting from their contribution as volunteers to your NGO's work at the UN.

Getting into the "shoes" (and minds) of those in diplomatic missions...

After we go over a few elements of protocol and the value of understanding the "norm" for diplomats are introduced to two protocol manuals. One is provided by the UN Office of Protocol, and the other by the UN Secretariat (ST/DCS/4/Rev.1). The two manuals can be downloaded from the links below. We then take a bit of a "walk in the diplomats' shoes" endeavoring to help give a fuller picture of the tasks and responsibilities that they have... and with this understanding, NGOs can better begin to refine their outreach strategies to the missions. This drives home the importance of the "Express Course" and the need to make the effort to package your NGOs strengths and services in a manner that enables the diplomats to see the NGO as a way they can achieve (part) of their goals quicker, faster and better. In this way, NGOs become solid allies instead of "people at the UN who don't really know where they are or how to help."


Review both manuals so you know what they cover and glean even greater understanding of the work of the Missions to the UN.


Manual of Protocol — UN Correspondence Manual —

Other Reference Books:

Diplomat's Dictionary (Cross-Cultural Negotiation Books)


How can NGOs Influence International Agendas, Processes and Outcomes?

It is still a question for many, how much influence NGOs have in international negotiations and their outcomes. In this lesson we begin to look at some of the ways that NGOs do influence global affairs in a globalizing world. While there are few definitive outcomes (as there are in life) NGOs are not inconsequential. Finding the ways in which NGOs can more predictably influence negotiations and outcomes is one of the quests of academics and NGOs (and governments) alike. We begin to explore the ways in which NGOs do influence global agendas and policies and the ways that NGOs can strategically plan to do so. But this endeavor is not completed in this lesson. It will continue into lesson 21. But do get started here!


Believe it or not, this is the first lesson with NO homework!


NGO Diplomacy The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations Edited by Michele M. Betsill and Elisabeth Corell Foreword by Felix Dodds

NGO Diplomacy Conference Final Report —


Starting with the Stages of Influence...

Starting with stages of influence we look a little closer at what we mean by influence, stages of success, and the evidence that we might find of NGO success in influencing international agendas, negotiations and processes. The we continue with:

  • What we mean by influence & the kind of evidence of it there may be
  • A quick assessment of effect of some elements of influence
  • A framework for strategic NGO impact


  • What kind of an NGO do you consider yours is: environmental, social movement, community based?
  • What kind of influence does your organization have at the global level? Or can yours have more impact through the local/national levels or the collective international activity as it deals with the global commons?
  • Is your agenda already on the UN’s agenda? If not, how might you get it there?

Recommended Reading:

NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations 

Section 5: Mind Set: The Ground of Change
This 3-part video tutorial goes over the 3 things you must do before you set foot inside the UN—that is if you plan to make a difference in the global dialogue, policy development and actions taking place there. Now perhaps you have already watched these before you began the course. But I would stro…

This exercise is intended to help you "get into the mind" of your key prospects. Now you generally won't find diplomats and staffers sitting in the Vienna Cafe just waiting for you! BUT by going there—in your mind, really working on getting in touch with the diplomat's mind-set, vocabulary, interests, needs, worries and concerns, you WILL be better equipping yourself to figure out how to speak to them in a way that gets their attention!

That's the first step. Take notes. Stop and start the video. Think it through. Write down phrases and key concerns that you think your NGO's work can directly address... from their point of view. Enjoy that cup of coffee and know that you have started to the journey to more effective communication. It's up to you! They won't do it for you! Their mind is elsewhere. This is your work, communicating to "the world."


Now you have their attention...

because whatever it was you just said to your prospect, because you spoke to their sweet spot of need, their eyes are now on you. This is your moment to captivate them in less than one minute with your Corridor Brief. Now you need to let them who you are, what you do and how in a way that captivates! Here's the formula.

The 2nd step...

Again, take notes. Stop and start the video. Think it through. And then go away from this video with your noted. Over the next few days, revisit what you wrote daily. Sit with it. Refine it. Hone it. Talk with your colleagues. Get a really tight, really compelling “corridor brief” that you can remember without batting an eyelid. Be ready to give it at a moment’s notice. Then watch what people do next!


Even when people are interested in your organization and even believe that it is the best choice of organizations to work with, IF you don't make it easy for them—risk free—then you were another "nice idea" to them, and their work will move them forward. Now you need to let them that you and your organization are serious about working with them. You need to show how you are making your organization's success available to them!You must be:

  • easy to work with
  • low maintenance (for them)
  • help them look good to their colleagues, at least in the sense that they are working with experts in the field who are capable, resourceful and savvy
  • able to help them easily recognize (without a lot of thought on their part...they don't have the time or the interest) that you are a great organization for them to work with. Even if you know that, they don't so you have to make this obvious by how you take care of the diplomat and/or their staff.

This is the third step.Again, take notes. Stop and start the video. Think it through. Brainstorm with your staff and volunteers about ways that you can make the Member State's experience of working with you smooth, pleasant and productive!

Then plan that luncheon in the dining room!

Section 6: Advocacy & Change Leadership

This lesson introduces the topic of advocacy. It links advocacy with the capacities of:

  • Framing
  • Building and using social capital
  • Mobilizing resources

It also introduces what I call the "plus 1" capacity of "generative leadership." Having the skill sets needed to be a solutions-focused leader, sets you apart from most advocates. This lesson reviews a very powerful empowerment map that when employed, even in small ways, can effect significant changes and move the advocacy process forward.


  • Which point caught your attention most, or had you NOT thought about before that might be useful to you?
  • How?

Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world. In politics, frames shape our social policies and the institutions we form to carry out policies. To change our frames is to change all this... Re-framing is social change... George Lakoff


  • What is the main/most powerful frame your NGO uses to convey the importance and effectiveness of its work?
  • Are there any parts of your NGO’s “story” that inadvertently undermine its central contribution in your key target’s mind?

Recommended Reading:

Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives

Community Leadership Handbook: Framing Ideas, Building Relationships, and Mobilizing Resources


Social Capital... —Is important to efficient functioning of modern economies and stable liberal democracies. —Strengthens society. —Is a base for cooperation across sector and power differences. —Helps shape regional development patterns.


  • Take this grid and make your own personal plan for developing one “high level” relationship that is important for you. (Ideally you would do this with your NGO team as well... in time.)
  • Schedule the FIRST “way point” on that plan as an activity to be accomplished within the foreseeable future. — Make sure you put a date and time to it!
  • Email your action, date and time to me! (This is not for me... it’s to help you be accountable to yourself :) And yes, I would love to see your plan unfold and hear your progress!

Recommended Reading:

Community Leadership Handbook: Framing Ideas, Building Relationships, and Mobilizing Resources 


Taking Action/Developing Strategies for Mobilizing Resources —When you have assessed your resources and are working to increase awareness of your services or an agenda, you can decide which strategies to use to mobilize resources.


—This is an extra pdf on Mobilizing Resources(provided by the World Bank.) However this is geared toward the mobilization of general resources rather than those specifically for advocacy.


  • What is one of your NGO’s objectives at the UN and what kind of mobilization might be needed to achieve this?
  • Who are the main stakeholders in this objective?
  • Do you need to build a coalition or does your NGO have sufficient social capital to effect the changes alone?

Recommended Reading:

Community Leadership Handbook: Framing Ideas, Building Relationships, and Mobilizing Resources 

Section 7: Developing Your Team

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has... Margaret Mead


  • What do you think is the key theme of your NGO’s work in the UN context? (This may differ from local presentations of your NGOs work.)
  • How do you think you might be able to succinctly, convey that in a “sticky” way? —The way it is conveyed? 
—An “idea whose time has come”?
 —A counter-intuitive story from the field?
 —Innovative outreach methods consistent with your OBSI?

Recommended Reading:

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Power and Persuasion: How to Command Success in Business and Your Personal Life 


In my paying job there isn’t much challenge, not enough opportunity for achievement, not enough responsibility; and there is no mission, there is only expediency. Answers to Peter Drucker when he asked the volunteers: Why they do this?


  • IMAGINE: What is your BIGGEST hope for your NGO at the UN?
  • What role could volunteers play?
  • What would you include in an orientation and education plan for your volunteers?
  • What resources would you need?

Recommended Reading:

Managing the Nonprofit Organization

365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating and Rewarding Your Volunteers: A Complete Guide for Non-Profit Organizations

The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer 


Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage both because it is so powerful and so rare. Patrick Lencioni The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team


  • Do you recognize any of the dysfunctions in any of the teams you participate in? Note which ones, and get ready to pay attention to what can be done.
  • Would you like to see those team efforts pick up pace and accomplishment and BE exciting?

Recommended Reading:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series) 


Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage both because it is so powerful and so rare. Patrick Lencioni The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team


From Good To Great —


  • Review the 6 dysfunctions
  • How might awareness of the “solutions focus frame” help keep you on track with the 5 team dysfunctions?
  • Pick ONE tool of ONE dysfunction that you can investigate to see how it could help your teams develop new strengths

Recommended Reading:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series)

The One Minute Manager

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The Leader's Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative 

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Instructor Biography

Karen Judd Smith, Professor, Pansophic Change Leader

Dr. Karen Judd Smith - Professor, International Speaker, Social Activist, Personal Development Trainer, and moderate “Pansophic” (Pursuer of a wide range of scientific and philosophical studies) draws on the wisdom of the ages and the ongoing evolution in science and religion to unlock useful and practical approaches to dealing with challenges and changes!

Over the course of her professional life, she could not help but notice how ineffective it was, on every level of human interaction, to focus on problem solving alone. Her research led her to integrate several transformational concepts, one of which is Solutions Focused Brief Therapy, along with her foundations in physics and theology.

Turning many closely held assumptions on their head, she develops algorithms for various challenges. Whether pursuing advocacy at the United Nations or changes to some of our personal abusive behaviors, she brings deep insights, easy-to-use steps and systems... all with a signature twist of humor.

Professional and Personal Background

Dr. Karen Smith originates from Australia where she grew up on a dairy farm in the Hay plains of New South Wales. She graduated from Methodist Ladies College and earned a degree in Physics from The University of Melbourne. She furthered her exploration into the mysteries of the universe, earning both a master’s and ministry doctorate in Theology. Grounded in the practical realities of farm life, steeped in both “hard” and “soft” sciences, she has led a wonderfully varied life, spanning two continents and successful career choices that included a 17 year presence at the United Nations.

Her love of nature led her early on into ocean exploration where she garnered a captain’s license from the Coast Guard. She then spent several years developing ocean education for young and old alike, imbuing her programs with not only the science of ocean navigation, but also it’s deeper, more mysterious essence. Her students not only learned how to read maps and navigate boats, they were also made aware of the ocean’s ability to evoke contemplation and awe, whether scuba diving beneath its surface, sailing for pleasure upon it, or making a living by fishing from it.

From there, she ventured into a travel and tour a business, alongside her husband’s work as a hotelier in the New York area. It was here that she was eventually drawn into the dynamic promise of United Nation’s work. Per her abilities as an educator and trainer, she developed programs for UN Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) that helped staff and volunteer members connect to the formal structure and protocols of international Ambassadors and their offices.

This led to her to develop, “The Advocacy Algorithm for Global Citizens” an Online Training and Advanced Education Course with 36 teaching modules introducing the United Nation’s history, structure, protocols and critical “how-to’s” per creating a successful NGO office environment that can translate into meaningful interaction with key leaders in the UN environment.

In the “meantime,” she raised 3 children with her husband and, consistent with her love of beauty and movement, found the time and energy to continue a lifelong passion where she transformed ballet training as a youth into ballroom dance. She has often competed and won several medals in Pro-Am events (she was the amateur, but nonetheless, dancing with world class professionals and champions).

NOTE from Dr. Karen: “Thoughts on Life”

Life is not really so much about having things as it is about doing things. I firmly believe that real power is not in the positions and/or titles that one might gain, rather it resides in each person’s own heart and mind. Leadership is about taking charge of our daily choices, even when, perhaps especially when, we are confronted with daunting setbacks or traumatic experiences.

I have worked with people at the international level, some whose stories of the turmoil in their homeland would wrench your heart. And yet, many of them chose to rise above and move beyond. Their courage always inspired me and remains one of the well springs for my Solutions Mastery Training.

My lifelong work, and continuing passion is to help people effect change by activating and empowering what lies within each individual. I’ve seen it over and over again how we shape our lives by what we choose in the “small” moments of everyday life. But, these seemingly insignificant choices accumulate into changes that profoundly affect us, for the good or otherwise.

In Physics we learn that the “small is everything” for where would we be without all those little atoms that contain even smaller quarks and even smaller energy packets? What happens in the nearly invisible micro-realms also occur in similar manner in the macro-level of human life. I believe, rather I KNOW we are capable of making small accumulating changes that create pivotal moments in our lives through which we can then make seemingly surprising quantum leaps forward.

I’ve seen it in my own life, and in others, hundreds times over.

I’d love to see it in your life, too. So, let’s get on with it!

All the best,

Dr. Karen

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