AdvocaCY ACADEMY

Train, track and communicate with your volunteer advocates all on one platform!

Organizations Empowering Advocates with Advocacy Academy

The Advocacy 101 Course

  • 60 minutes of content delivered in nine video lessons taught by award-winning advocacy professionals
  • Short quizzes reinforce the key points
  • Advocates receive a certificate of completion
  • Downloadable lesson transcripts and resources
  • Welcome page with your branding
  • Repository for custom materials and video links
  • Password-protected for controlled access for your advocates
  • Unlimited seats for one price. See more
Perfect for Fly-ins, Hill Days, Ambassador Onboarding, and more!

Team Leader (that’s you!) Dashboard

  • Team and advocate progress tracking in real-time through a visual dashboard
  • Advocates can be added and removed easily at any time
  • Automated custom welcome email with login details unique to each advocate
  • Segment content and information by creating multiple teams
  • Update teams easily with group email distribution
  • How-to training videos and instructions
  • Personal account liaison for high-touch set-up and troubleshooting
Are You Ready to Start Using Advocacy Academy?

Testimonials

We’re not the only ones who believe that the Advocacy Academy is the perfect solution for Hill Days, Fly-ins and advocacy ambassador training!

Lessons and Instructors

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • The definition of advocacy
  • The difference between advocacy and support
  • The types of patient advocacy 
  • The stages of advocacy

Instructor: Anne Woodbury, CEO and Founder of CURA Strategies

A 30-year D.C. veteran, Anne began her career on Capitol Hill working for the Speaker of the House. She helped start the Center for Health Transformation where she served as Chief Health Advocate and co-authored Saving Lives and Saving Money, a book on transforming American health care. For the last 17 years, Anne has been working as a consultant to health care companies and organizations to build their reputations through advocacy and public affairs programs. She helped launch 12 advocacy coalitions on a wide range of topics such as diabetes, opioid addiction, mental health and employer purchasing.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • The importance of the advocate’s voice in government
  • Examples of advocacy in action

Instructor: Michael Lisowski, Government Relations Specialist

Michael Lisowski has over a decade of experience working on federal public policy. From drafting legislative language and passing bills to coordinating with coalition partners, planning fly-ins, advocacy days and roundtables, Michael has participated in all facets of the legislative process.

He gained in-depth knowledge of health policy while working for former Rep. Joe Heck, D.O. (NV-03), an emergency room doctor. As Senior Legislative Assistant, Michael forged bipartisan relationships to help move Dr. Heck’s legislative priorities through the 113th & 114th Congresses.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • How to plan their story
  • The S.P.E.A.K. model for effective advocacy storytelling

Instructor: Anne Woodbury. CEO and Founder of CURA Strategies

A 30-Year D.C. veteran, Anne began her career on Capitol Hill working for the Speaker of the House. She helped start the Center for Health Transformation where she served as Chief Health Advocate and co-authored Saving Lives and Saving Money, a book on transforming American health care. For the last 17 years, Anne has been working as a consultant to health care companies and organizations to build their reputations through advocacy and public affairs programs. She helped launch 12 advocacy coalitions on a wide range of topics such as diabetes, opioid addiction, mental health and employer purchasing.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • How to effectively advocate for your cause to policymakers
  • The basics of how Congress works

Instructor: Patrick Meade, Congressional Outreach Specialist

Patrick is a communications professional specializing in congressional outreach and advocacy, working with health care industry clients to achieve their advocacy and business goals.

After graduating from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics, along with Economics, and having interned for two members of Maryland’s Congressional delegation, Patrick joined the CURA team, where he performed in-depth research on the incoming Freshmen Members of the 117th and 118th Congresses for CURA’s Health Policy Profiles. Patrick supports the day-to-day government relations and communications efforts of CareDx, the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation and Nozin.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • The different types of congressional offices
  • The professional titles of different positions and their responsibilities
  • Whom to contact for a specific type of request

Instructor: Sydney Shepherd, Congressional Outreach Specialist

Sydney Shepherd
Congressional Outreach Specialist

Sydney has deep experience in implementing integrated grassroots/advocacy and government relations campaigns for nonprofit groups. Prior to joining CURA, Sydney worked as a Policy and Advocacy Specialist at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) on their Hospice Action Network (HAN) program. She managed the organization’s My Hospice Ambassadors Program, strengthened skills as a registered lobbyist with a focus on children’s hospice issues, served as the primary liaison for NPHCO’s Council of States, and grew HAN’s grassroots network.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • How to conduct a successful meeting 
  • How to maximize the impact of an advocate meeting

Instructors: Sydney Shepherd, Congressional Outreach Specialist

Sydney Shepherd
Congressional Outreach Specialist

Sydney Shepherd has deep experience in implementing integrated grassroots/advocacy and government relations campaigns for nonprofit groups. Prior to joining CURA, Sydney worked as a Policy and Advocacy Specialist at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) on their Hospice Action Network (HAN) program. She managed the organization’s My Hospice Ambassadors Program, strengthened skills as a registered lobbyist with a focus on children’s hospice issues, served as the primary liaison for NPHCO’s Council of States, and grew HAN’s grassroots network.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • The timeline and cycle of the appropriations process
  • Steps advocates can take to help shape congressional appropriations decision-making

Instructor: Scott Leezer, Government Relations Specialist

As Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Scott provides comprehensive public affairs and government relations services. Scott’s commitment, specifically in the areas of heart disease and veteran health, earned him PR Week’s 2019 “Most Purposeful Agency Professional.” He also led the Honor the Gift coalition, to secure lifetime Medicare coverage for immunosuppressant drugs for kidney transplant patients, which received a SABRE Award for Health Care Campaign of the Year: Pharmaceutical and PRSA’s Silver Anvil for Public Affairs Campaign of the Year. Earlier in his career, Scott served as a former health aide to Senator Dick Durbin, who is currently a member of Democratic Senate leadership.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • How social media is used by Congress
  • How social media can be used to reach congressional members
  • How social media can be used to recruit other advocates

Instructor: Scott Leezer, Government Relations Specialist

Scott Leezer
Government Relations Specialist

As Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Scott provides comprehensive public affairs and government relations services. Scott’s commitment, specifically in the areas of heart disease and veteran health, earned him PR Week’s 2019 “Most Purposeful Agency Professional.” He also led the Honor the Gift coalition, to secure lifetime Medicare coverage for immunosuppressant drugs for kidney transplant patients, which received a SABRE Award for Health Care Campaign of the Year: Pharmaceutical and PRSA’s Silver Anvil for Public Affairs Campaign of the Year. Earlier in his career, Scott served as a former health aide to Senator Dick Durbin, who is currently a member of Democratic Senate leadership.

In this lesson, advocates will learn:

  • Why media coverage is important
  • How to write an op-ed or letter to the editor

Instructor: Erin Berst, Media Strategist

Erin is a communications professional specializing in corporate communications for companies and organizations. She is experienced across communications disciplines including social and digital media, though she is particularly passionate about writing and earned media. She frequently places op-eds in various outlets including beltway/policy, healthcare trades, and mainstream publications. Erin is part of the award-winning team who won Media Campaign of the Year for their management of the media relations for the annual Scientific Meeting for the American College of Cardiology.

Pricing and Plans

All plans come with access to the Advocacy Academy 101 course, a branded organizational home page, and all the tracking, organizational and support features in the team leader dashboard.
For a limited time, all plans come with unlimited course seats!

Each plan has a $500 set-up fee. If your subscription lapses, we’ll waive the set-up fee if you reactivate within 12 months of your subscription ending. Email us at hello@advocacyaccelerator.us to renew.

Are You Ready to Start Using Advocacy Academy?

FAQ

Each organization has their own uniquely branded organization page. CURA will create a profile for the team leader(s) for each organization who will have access to a user-friendly administrative portal to register advocates one at a time or by uploading a .csv file (we can also do it for you). Once the team leader(s) register their advocates, the advocates will receive an email with their login, password and link to their profile, which will lead them to your organization’s branded course home page. If an advocate loses the accessibility information, they can easily re-send it to themselves.

The real power of the platform for the purchasing organization comes in the management, communication and tracking functionality. As the team leader, you can toggle between viewing the progress of the team as a whole or of each individual advocate. You can easily communicate with your advocates and create specific teams if you want to segment your advocates. You can also upload specific organizational resources—issue briefs, additional videos—to your page to augment the core advocacy training provided. Once the advocate finishes the course, they will receive a certificate of completion. Your organization also has the ability to uniquely brand the certificate.

It may seem complicated, but we promise, it is not hard to administer. We will get you set up in under a week—less than 24 hours if necessary. We have online training for you as the team leader and you will receive a dedicated account liaison—yes, a real person, not AI—to help you get started and troubleshoot any issues.

CURA Strategies exists to transform health care. By partnering with clients to accelerate adoption of solutions and ideas, we will help people live better, healthier, longer lives. In short, we help mobilize your mission through breakthrough strategic communications and advocacy services. As former Hill staffers, we know how powerful volunteer storytelling can be. If an advocate wants to invest time to learn how to tell their story effectively to a policymaker, we are proud to invest in them.

The Advocacy Academy platform is a powerful tool for government relations professionals to train, track, educate and communicate with their volunteers. The subscription fee offsets the cost of the staff time necessary to help onboard new organizations, including creating their branded page, training them on using the software, and helping them get the most out of their subscription. We will also be re-investing the money to creating new training courses.

We created a flexible pricing structure in 3, 6 and 12-month intervals with a one-time set-up fee. You can view the pricing here (LINK to the place in this page). Our subscription intervals are based on the different use cases of organizations. Although some organizations use the platform all year to communicate with advocates and onboard new ambassadors, others use it once a year to train advocates before their annual Hill Days. You should not pay for the service when you don’t need it. So if your subscription lapses, we welcome you to reinitiate your membership anytime without paying additional fees by emailing hello@advocacyaccelerator.us.

There is no limit to the number of advocates you can invite to take the Advocacy 101 course. Yep, you read it right. We are excited for people to use the system. The more advocates we can train quickly, the faster we can improve health care—the core mission of CURA Strategies, the creator of the Advocacy Academy.

We understand that you only want to pay for the Advocacy Academy when you need it. That is why we have flexible pricing. Also, you can easily reactivate your subscription without paying any additional set-up fees by emailing hello@advocacyaccelerator.us within 12 months of your subscription ending.

This virtual boot camp is designed for volunteers or non-government relations professionals—patients, executives, physicians, providers—who want to raise their voice in Congress about critical health issues. The training will help them make the most of every interaction with policymakers and their staff and give them tools to amplify their advocacy using local and social media.

The typical buyer is a government relations professional or patient advocate leader from a patient advocacy group, trade association, medical society or corporation who has experienced one or more of these scenarios:

  • You want to make sure your advocates are prepared to share their story with policymakers
  • You need a fast turn-key solution to ensure your advocates are ready to go
  • You are expending a lot of political and financial capital to host a Hill Day
  • Your last Hill Day did not generate the results you wanted
  • You are frustrated that people are not showing up to your live training webinars
  • You want to offer a prerequisite training before investing in their trip to D.C.
  • You not sure how or don’t have time to train your advocates
  • Your advocates are nervous and unsure of their roles and responsibilities
  • You want to professionalize and modernize your training

The Advocacy 101 course will help you educate and train your advocates to be ready to speak with policymakers. But the platform offers much more than that to organizations. For example, subscribers can view in real time who has taken the course, how much of the course the volunteer has completed, and if they passed the quizzes. You can also add your own materials and video links and customize your home page with your branding.

The course has a 9.1 net promoter score from the volunteers who have taken it (1-10, how likely are you to recommend this course to others). With the 60 minutes of content provided, advocates will have the foundation they need to understand what needs to be shared in the final training step: the specific facts and call to action around which they are advocating. You can do that through your own video or upload specific issue briefs and videos you create, or hire CURA to help you create them. The nine courses of Advocacy 101 are broken up into 4 different sections:

  1. Defining advocacy and its importance: Advocacy is different than support, it requires action. There are many ways to advocate. We review some examples of advocacy in action and give real-world examples of how front-line advocates have moved the needle with their storytelling.
  2. How to tell their story: The meat of the training is the S.P.E.A.K. model for storytelling to Congress.
  3. Congressional facts: For most advocates, it’s been a while since they were in civics class. Advocates may not fully appreciate who they are meeting with, how they impact policymaking, or how the specific call to action will help advance an issue. We cover the basics of Congress, committees, congressional staff and both the legislative process and the all-important appropriations process.
  4. Amplifying advocacy through media: Advocacy should not stop with meetings. So much can be done through local media and social media to keep the issue alive and educate and recruit other advocates. As a health care consulting firm focused on communications, marketing and public affairs—of course this must be included in our course.

After advocates complete each of the nine courses, they will be asked to take a quiz to reinforce the key points. Once completing the entire course, they can download a certificate of completion. The certificate can be customized with your branding if you choose.

Volunteers advocating at the local and state level will absolutely benefit from taking Advocacy 101. Most of the examples referenced in the content are related to federal/congressional advocacy, however, two of the 9 classes are entirely Congress-specific—The roles of Congressional Staff and How Congress Works. The content of the other 7 classes—the importance of advocacy, storytelling, how to conduct a meeting with a policymaker, and leveraging media—are relevant for all levels of advocacy. So yes, the course will help advocates be more effective at all government levels. 

There is a lot of value in the core offerings, including a 60-minute course with unlimited seats, a uniquely branded home page, advocate tracking functionality, the ability to upload links to documents and videos in a resources area, and a personal account liaison to help you with set up and troubleshooting.

We have been asked about other functionality and in short, the answer is YES! For the last eight years (check out our Honor the Gift case study) we have partnered with health care organizations of all shapes and sizes to build their grassroots, government relations and advocacy programs from the ground up. Advocacy Academy is an off-shoot of CURA’s core services inspired by an acute need we see in the market for professional, online, trackable training classes for our long-time clients. Why not make it available to everyone?

Some of the most common requests, we have accommodated for additional fees:

  • Add your own custom videos to the course and include quizzes and tracking
  • Customize the certificate of completion with your own unique branding
  • Partner together to create custom videos and content
  • Augment the online training with in-person training and webinars
  • Manage Hill Day support including scheduling and staffing congressional meetings
  • Build year-round ambassador programs from the ground up
  • Create a robust ambassador online hub with all the Advocacy Academy features plus a community discussion board, video/webinar repository, calendar of events, and widget for advocates to “find others near me” and beyond
  • Develop issue briefs to be used in congressional meetings
  • Develop an advocate toolkit offering branded visuals and template copy to use on their social channels during a Hill Day
  • Writing op-eds and conducting media outreach to advance awareness for your policy issue
Are You Ready to Start Using Advocacy Academy?