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Planning for Policy Change

Create a calendar for your Policy Change Action Plan. The calendar should include scheduled meetings with your chapter and Roosevelt staff, as well as what actions you are going to take for each week.


Create a calendar for your Policy Change Action Plan. The calendar should include scheduled meetings with your chapter and Roosevelt staff, as well as what actions you are going to take for each week.

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Designing a timeline for Policy Change will not only create a clear road-map for your own work, it will make it easier to measure progress for your project.  

The goal of this section is to create a clear timeline for your own work, drawing on the mapping you have already done of the institution you hope to effect. 


Remember, coming into this stage of the process, you have already built out your power map, identified partners and allies, and built or joined a coalition. Now, you're looking to work with your coalition to draft a plan for how to move forward. There are two important pieces to this, both of which must be done in full collaboration with your coalition members: 

1. Defining your goals: Use the Strategies-tactics handout here. You're looking to establish 3 core goals or strategies that your team is moving toward with 3 tactics to achieve each strategy. For example: if the goal of your policy project is to move paid leave legislation through DC City Council, one strategy might be- get the Mayor to offer public support on the bill. Tactics for this strategy may include- 1 lobbying meeting with Mayor, 3 public Op-eds, 1 Public speaking event with Mayor. 

2. Build a schedule: It's vitally important next to lay out a semester wide timeline for the goals you listed above with specific week to week breakdowns on how to get there. Your timeline must also include key events, like Town halls, where you may be able to have an influenceYou will find a blank template and an example in the files tab. See below for the types of activities you should include in your calendar. 


Terms and ideas to consider for a calendar:

1. Institutional policy change process points: public testimonies, coalition meetings and benchmarks, information (like reports) being released, partner days of action, public meetings (like your board of trustees meeting), the institutional map you’ve already worked on (link), and more.

2. What you are doing to influence those events: blog writing, chapter events, lobbying, coalition meetings, other campus events, public testimonies, and more.  Be sure to tailor the calendar events to the needs of your project.  As much as possible, these tactics to influence the dialogue should be responsive to the larger calendar.  Tip: - a letter to the editor a week before a board of trustees meeting has a better chance of making a splash!

3. Check-ins and meetings: other Roosevelters, Faculty, Administrators, your coalition members, or other groups. 

Remember: Roosevelt has guides to achieve all of the above including lobbying, communications, fundraising, and direct action. 


  • Depending on which institution (state or city government, universities, etc.) your policy seeks to change, you need to identify the calendar it works off of and build your timeline around it.
  • You may have a difficult time finding an institutional calendar online - call your elected official asking them to send you the "Legislative Session Calendar" along with any "Committee Hearing Notices".
  • Finding the right person in your school’s administration can save you a ton of time.  A friendly administrator can not only help you understand processes, they can connect you to the people you need to speak with.
  • Start by organizing your timeline into months and then by weeks. Make it adaptable and flexible but keep it focused and stick to it. Remember the old saying, “a plan is better than no plan at all.” Be specific in filling it out but keep it broad enough to not be restrictive.


  • Wellstone Action has an excellent example of a timeline for a candidate seeking office. 
  • See the files tab (above) for examples from other Roosevelt chapters, non-profit advocates, and to access Roosevelt trainings, including example calendars from chapters at Amherst and Michigan.  You will have to create an account by logging in on the upper right-hand corner to view the files tab. 
  • The NYC Public Advocate Community Organizing Guide articulates the various institutional opportunities that you can organize around including things like community boards and more.


University and Campus:
If you are trying to get your University to invest money in a local credit union or CDFI, you need to influence a particular set of actors in the school’s administration and build a specific set of partners in the surrounding community.  To build a timeline, write out what actions you are going to take for each week to increase your influence. This includes blog writing, lobbying, coalition meetings, campus events, public testimonies, and more. This will help to keep you organized and on track.   Here is a hypothetical one-month calendar for this move-your-money campaign:


Week 1-

  • Check in with your Regional Team
  • Recruit new freshmen (Org Fair on Sept 2nd)
  • National issue group puts out a report on community banking

Week 2-

  • Write a blog piece or place an article in a campus newspaper
  • Schedule meeting with purchasing office
  • Research other important school stakeholders
  • Hold first campaign general interest meeting on campus

Week 3-

  • Attend on-campus lecture (Sept 17th)
  • In preparation for board of trustees meeting, research which board of trustees members are bankers

Week 4-

  • Staff Coach Check-in
  • Check in with CDFI Partner

State and Local Government: 
If you are trying to pass a state law that would make it so homeless youth have access to more state financial aid, which requires a change in statute, than you will want to build a coalition of supporters and put out a media message that you can use to organize around. Then, you should lobby public colleges leadership to include your policy in their agency budget request during the fall while the governor crafts the executive budget to be released in January. You will then want to lobby committee chairs for support before you testify at the budget hearings. Next you might want to hold an event or a rally to make sure it gets into the final budget voted on by the legislature. All of these steps should be placed on a calendar like in Example 1.