How Small Nonprofits Make Big Policy Waves with Alison Stewart

The Small Nonprofit

30-01-2024 • 38 mins

Advocating for change seems daunting, especially when you're working with limited resources and a small team. What if you knew the insider strategies to make a significant impact in your community and get your voice heard at city council meetings? In today's episode, we'll pull back the curtain on the power of local engagement and show you how a small team can pedal their message to the top.

Join us as we chat with the super inspiring Alison Stewart from Cycle Toronto. Her passion for sharing the joy of biking paired with her desire to make Toronto a vibrant cycling city led her to take on several volunteer roles since 2013. Her background includes senior leadership roles in the post secondary sector which saw her develop strategic plans that focused on supporting the diverse needs of international and domestic students on the one hand, while also securing funding and developing government and community partnerships on the other.

Key Episode Highlights:

  • The Importance of Personal Stories: Alison spotlighted the strength of personal testimony in influencing policy. By encouraging community members to share their experiences during city council deputations, Cycle Toronto demonstrates the real-world impact of policies on individuals, adding a human element that stats alone can't convey.
  • Strategic Relationship Building: Developing collaborative relationships with city councillors and other stakeholders, as Alison outlines, is critical. Even if some aren't naturally aligned with your mission, finding mutual goals can lead to progress you might not achieve otherwise.
  • Leveraging Volunteer Passion: Alison's own journey from volunteer to advocacy leader exemplifies the multifaceted potential of volunteers in a small charity. They are not just a workforce; they're potential future leaders who bring energy and new insights to your core mission.
  • Effective Messaging Across Mediums: Whether it's supporting communications or getting involved with municipal staffers, clear and targeted messaging is pivotal. Alison's work on providing relevant and compelling content speaks to the importance of how you present your issues to the world, essential for any small nonprofit.
  • The Power of Collaboration: Alison and Cycle Toronto show us that partnerships extend your reach. By aligning with other organizations, community groups, and leveraging varied advocacy approaches, small nonprofits can amplify their influence and achieve common goals.

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