Advocacy Engagement – Rapid Response Process

Society for Prevention Research Rapid Response Advocacy Action Items Procedures

The SPR Rapid Response Advocacy Action Procedure was implemented (November 2, 2017) as an action item of SPR Strategic Plan Goal 3.

Goal 3: Influence Prevention Policy; SPR will influence policy through promoting and supporting research on the use of prevention science in public policy and service systems at the national and local levels (e.g., through health, education, child welfare, justice, drug and alcohol, mental health, welfare). SPR will develop new and leverage existing partnerships to advance prevention science and its use in informing policy.

  • Objective 1: Implement “Rapid Response: advocacy action procedures for sign-on letters, listservs to members, etc.


1. Any SPR member may generate a proposal regarding a policy position which they think should be adopted and/or advocated by the Society. Examples of policy position actions may include but are not limited to the following: post a statement of a policy on the website and social media; request a sign-on to a letter generated by an individual, a committee, another organization; request for a letter of support; send a listserv to encourage members to contact their members of Congress regarding a specific piece of legislation; join an advocacy coalition, send a letter to a public official; and respond to a NIH RFI. Frequently these are submitted to the SPR President who would forward to the chair of the Advocacy Committee.

a.) The chair of the Advocacy Committee brings the proposal to the Advocacy Committee for vetting.  When the proposal is not time-sensitive it can be discussed during its next monthly committee conference call.  When it is time-sensitive the 48 hr. Rapid Response Procedure is implemented. The Advocacy Committee must fully review all facts contained in the proposal.

b.) The Advocacy Committee will vote to determine if the proposal should be submitted to the SPR Board of Directors.

2. Only the SPR Board of Directors has the authority to endorse an action or officially adopt a policy position.

3. Proposals submitted to the Advocacy Committee should include:

a. A brief description of the policy issue or request.

b. A brief explanation of the link between the policy issue and SPR’s mission and strategic plan.

c. The specific action(s) proposed, identification of the person(s) or group who will be asked to take action (Advocacy Committee, Membership, SPR Board), and a requested time frame, with the basis or justification for such timeframe (sign-on letter to a public official).

d. Any available web links to information regarding the policy and the people or organizations involved, or relevant data regarding the issue including any available position papers.

e. Arguments offered in opposition to the position recommended for SPR, including policy statements from others, data, and a list of opponents.

4. Rapid Response Process- when there is 96 or more hours.

a. The proposal is submitted to the Advocacy Committee for an email vote with a response time of 48 hours or sooner if possible. The chair of the Advocacy Committee and the Executive Director put forth the email vote. If the Advocacy Committee approves the proposal via an email vote it is submitted to the SPR Board of Directors for an email vote with a response time of 48 hours or sooner if possible.

5. Rapid Response Process – when there is 24 to 48 hours to respond.

a. The chair of the Advocacy Committee, the President, and the Executive Director put forth the email vote. The proposal is simultaneously submitted to the Advocacy Committee and the SPR Board of Directors as an email vote.

b. Voting process

1. A simple majority vote is required to vote a proposal up or down. Votes received after the deadline, but before the reports by the Advocacy Committee chair, are tabulated and are included in the final count.  This practice reinforces the importance of voting.  And it also builds a culture for both the Advocacy Committee and the SPR Board to expect this participation.

2. All votes are via email and “reply to all” for transparency; questions/comments can be shared so there can be a discussion if needed.

c. The Executive Director reports the results of the email votes via a follow up email. The Advocacy Committee chair provides a report during the next Advocacy Committee call and the next SPR Board of Directors call.

SPR Advocacy Rapid Response Guidelines (PDF)

SPR Rapid Response Flowchart (PDF)