THE CARETAKER PHILOSOPHY - A COMMUNICATION PLAN

"NONE OF THE ABOVE" ELECTORAL OPTION

PURPOSE,  PRINCIPLES AND PROGRAM

Vision or Mission Statement


Our core message is derived from our vision or mission statement. The core message is clear, concise and compelling. The core message so far is, "Individual and collective enlightenment through planetary peace and prosperity." This in turn leads to more questions:

∑ Why should people care?

We are all people and people's well being is the first priority of all good government. "people who have an opportunity to contribute to their community, see results, learn from consequences and feel regenerated from the enthusiasm of living a life with meaning with others." (Schemata - woodwork)

∑ How is it important in their lives?

It would remove fear and improve health. Also promote lifetime learning which is natural. People are born to learn. Through education, people can become skilled and interchangeable in roles they value.

∑ How is the process of public participation relevant to the local community?

Because it would identify the local needs at the street level and recognize the historic confusions which have persisted up the eve of the twenty-first century. The response would be to encourage creative opportunities through local initiative programs and the like aimed at re-ruralization, local food production and infrastructure. Utility service management around solar and alternative energy sources are clearly recognized as we re-organize our energy sources.

∑ How is it used to arrive at good management of collective affairs on the planet by broad-based public participatory democracy.

On a broader base an understanding within the community that enabled us to see ourselves not merely as planetary crew but a people in a relationship with a planet which is their mother and the sun which creates a surface chemistry in which we all enjoy our measure of conscious experience. This suggests a philosophy, attitude which has a chance in Canada as perhaps nowhere else in these times. Co-operation works. Competition is stressful to people, wasteful of planetary wealth and deprives people of their human rights.

The Core Message

Our core message is Honourable Settlement with the aboriginal people through an understanding of a philosophy that people's good nature and people's shared ideals provide a vision for many of a good life which does not rely on the Government as it is now and the economy as it exists now. In these times it takes a bit of thinking to see what constitutes the good life. Current confusions exists because of people's effort to do things the way they always have been done without good management support or even rational explanation.

The caretaker philosophy reminds us of the facts of our life situation as people born on the beautiful and fragile surface of a planet, livened and sustained by the influence of the sun very much the holistic or holy spirit of surface chemistry. It returns us to the simple understanding that biological life processes sustain us not our jobs unless they are vital to the provision of goods and services not our bank accounts. When people co-operate, that is act together, they do so because they share intentions, have a common picture of an outcome, a vision of a future that finds it's home in the hearts of many of us from so long ago.

The intention of the "None-of-the-Above" option is to re-energize the collective intelligence of the people of British Columbia by involving them in Direct Democracy.

There are 4 essential components to consider in defining the core message:

∑ The objectives of the organization over the next 6 months.

To re-open correspondence with Lt. Governor, Premier, Attorney General and leaders of other political parties and seek their support for the "None of the Above" option on the ballot for the next Provincial election.

∑ How the objectives are supported by communications.

Grass roots activism, networks of people, published booklets, meeting in legislature in Douglas Fir Rm. a electoral reform group from Ottawa.

∑ Outline the communication goals and objectives.

Send out letters on "None of the Above" option for a private response. Hold a news conference on the response from letters and the issues.

∑ Define the fundamental core message about the organization.

In existence since 1972. It has a None-sectarian spiritual base. Its a philosophy and not an attempt to form or defeat the political parties but present an opportunity for a Caretaker government while issues pertinent to our times are addressed.

∑ State the core message in a sentence that is memorable and repeatable.

One people, one planet, one purpose, peace.

It is essential to try and get other organizations involved to support the "None of the Above" option because it will give them an opportunity to overcome deficiencies in government responsiveness to the challenges of the times. However, therein lies the difficulty.

For example, many organizations have a bias against any movement to affect the nomination and election of officers which are current practices. Inherent in this system of election and selection of candidates is a bias which favours political backroom deal making.

By random selection, the result of a "None of the Above" majority in a poll, a man and a woman would be selected from that body of voters to be regional representatives for a constituent assembly.

In formulating a core message and communications plan it is helpful to answer certain hard questions:

∑ Why do we want to reach the public?

Time for structural change and redefinition of values and principals which are the foundation of the quality of life that we enjoy.

∑ What do we want to accomplish?

Local self-sufficiency and the leisure society.

∑ What is our organization all about?

Grassroots organization since 1972.

∑ What is it we really do?

Advocate intelligent and creative alternatives to current capital driven policies.

In describing what you do list 2 or 3 examples that are really important.

Prototypical, technical, development of ultralight structures and transportation alternatives: people powered, solar powered, and hydrogen powered, ecology sustainable lifestyles. People in landscape with honourable settlement with Aboriginal people.

Look at what you have in common with other community groups such as:

∑ Service to the community.

As Caretakers we try to assist on a personal level.

∑ Involvement of people

Seeking common understanding with emphasis on Lore rather than Law.

The human element requires personal involvement and participation. The core message needs to be accessible from the audience perspective and answer the question:

∑ Whatís in it for me?

Peace of mind through a sense of meaningful participation towards community and planetary well being.

The core message needs to be backed up by 3 examples that best illustrate the role of the Caretaker organization and the benefits of the "None of the Above" option in a way that will be understood by the audience and have meaning to them.

A clear philosophy understood by common people will simplify the decision-making process and public participation.

The slogan, " One People, One Planet, One Purpose, Peace" and the phrase, "Individual and collective enlightenment through participatory democracy and the None of the Above random selection process" is difficult to grasp and raises certain questions:

∑ How do you do Caretaker government?

∑ What is Caretaker government?

∑ What is an example of Caretaker government?

The organization also has an outreach program and this in turn leads to more questions:

∑ How do you do outreach?

∑ Why do you do outreach?

∑ Who are you trying to reach?

∑ Whatís an example of outreach?

Conceptual Bridges

Examples are conceptual bridges that help people understand what you do. It is important to pick examples of things people do in their daily lives and are familiar with. This is what "humanizing the message" is all about. Examples bring people in as do issues and concerns of the neighborhood.

Some examples of the Caretaker Movement that the public might be aware of:

News Media Model

If you are part of the story the news media will come to you.

The media panders to the audience and ratings, particularly TV news. As human beings we want to know what is a threat to us. The threat inherent in the story makes a better story. The media usually reports on exceptional events. To gain access to news media coverage requires that your message be put in a form that they will accept as newsworthy.

Some things are dynamic and will rivet public and media attention. Yet, some things offer opportunity but there is a danger of tying your wagon to a negative horse.

Establish Your Agenda

The key to effective communication is to establish your agenda which comes from your core message and mission statement. The core message must be short and able to be expressed in 30 sec., about 90 to 120 words with no more than 3 key points as examples to establish your agenda.

Unless you are prepared to deliver the message nobody else will do it. Somebody has to say it or there is nothing to report.

Issues Management

Central to a communications plan is an issues management program that identifies all critical issues and how to respond. A procedure must be established that deals with rumor and personal opinion.

From a communications perspective everyone should speak from the same sheet to deliver the party line. Questions should not be answered outside the policy of the board.

The risks inherent in personal opinion is you demonstrate an organization that hasnít got itís stuff together. Like the issue of Multiculturalism. There are a lot of different perspectives on what Multiculturalism means. It wonít go away unless all the organizations agree on the same message.

Bring Audience into the Discussion

In your message you need to think of ways to bring your audience into the discussion with examples such as, "One of the main problems immigrants face is isolation." This is an example of an "us and them" statement. The bridge is to use common everyday words and expressions such as, "to help people in community."

It is important to keep in mind that people tend to remember the first and last example and forget what is in between. Therefore, limit examples to 3 key points. Donít give a long list of answers. Always pick 2 or 3 examples and always use them. They are an illustration of a point. The example you want to talk about is mentioned last.

The key is to find ways to structure the core message and examples to increase a sense of connection with the audience. The purpose is to get your message out to the public in a meaningful and interesting way.

The Single Statement

The message of the Caretaker Movement and the "None of the Above" option is an overarching program that involves individuals and the community in a public participation process. The key questions are:

∑ What does building community have to do with "None of the Above?" option.

∑ Whatís the purpose?

∑ What are the principals?

∑ What is the program?

∑ How will you do it?

In defining the core message ask yourself, "If I could only tell one thing what would it be?"

∑ What is the one statement you can live with over time?

For example, the message of ICBC is, "Taking the risk out of road transportation." They do it in a variety of ways.

The core message must be memorable, easy to believe and deliverable. Everything else is a way of illustrating the message.

COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

There are lots of ways to do communications planning.

Step 1 - Management Objectives

Write out the management objectives and mission statement of your organization.

Very few organizations are in the business of communicating. Their purpose is to provide services. Communications can only help facilitate and support management objectives.

The communications plan is judged by how well it supports management objectives for the duration of the project. The key question is:

What do you hope to achieve?

What do we want to achieve this year that is different from last year?

Partnerships are essential to the success of most projects and require common management objectives. The questions to ask are:

∑ Where do we have common grounds?

∑ How can we work together?

Step 2 - Communication Goals and Objectives

You have to distinguish between management objectives and communication goals and objectives. For example, the management objective may be to increase funding and partnerships. The communication objective would be in part to garner letters of support from interest groups and businesses.

It is useful for the organization to develop a communications plan and define the issues the organization is faced with. This involves establishing goals and measurable objectives for your communications plan that support management objectives.

For example, if the management objective is to increase the number of volunteers then the communication objective is to inform the public through a volunteer campaign.

The right people have to know you need volunteers, funding and partnerships so there has to be some kind of communication program to reach those groups and build support.

Step 3 - Define the Audience

Communications is all about building relationships. It is critical to determine who you need to build relationships with to meet management objectives. The right message has to be delivered to the right people at the right time.

The question you need to ask:

∑ Who do we need to hear our message?

The most important consideration is to reach the primary audience, stakeholders, partners and those who provide funding. The secondary audience are those who you are serving and the news media.

Step 4 - The Message

Communication requires a message and an audience to build relationships. Who you are and what you do is the core message. The key questions are:

∑ What do we need to say and to whom?

∑ What do we need to communicate about our organization and projects to build relationships.

∑ What kind of relationships are we trying to build?

∑ What do we need to do to reach people?

∑ How will our communications objectives help us achieve our goals?

For example, the overall objective of Big Brothers is to help kids without a father to have a male to build a relationship. The secondary objective is to find families to match up kids.

For the Caretaker Movement the objectives might be:

∑ to reach residents within a certain communities within the BC then Canada, to get their response to our questionnaires and their participation

∑ to increase awareness of our projects in the community

Due to the large Chinese and ESL population in the area the communications effort would change and have to be culturally sensitive.

Step 5 - Tools and Costs

It is important to choose communication tools by effectiveness in getting the message out to the right people and cost. The key question is:

∑ What are the media tools and activities required?

∑ What is our budget?

∑ How can we stretch our budget?

Partnerships can help with cost and co-promote your projects. The question is:

∑ Who communicates with the audience we want to reach?

∑ How can we form partnerships to share costs of producing and distributing materials?


Do you agree with this philosophy?

PLEASE send us e-mail, with your name and any thoughts regarding these issues.

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