Developing policies and demands is a critical step to addressing the COVID-19 housing crisis. However, that is just a first step. The next step must include identifying and working with validators to help both spread your message, lend it credibility, and act as a voice in public and directly to your intended audience.
How to identify validators: To identify validators, you should think whose buy-in do I need in order to see my message reach its intended target and for my policies to be enacted. Validators are organizations and individuals who publicly and in private can act as spokespeople for your ideas and whose opinions both your target audience and the relevant public trust.
Two types of validators: There are two types of validators you want to keep in mind when thinking of the best way to spread your message and achieve the goals you set. The first is a public validator, which is often a group or organization, or critical person within a group or organization, who has the presence in the community to immediately add substance and credibility to your message. For example, if a goal is to have a governor issue an eviction moratorium local validator groups may be the ACLU, faith based organizations, community groups, or local activist groups who have a presence in your particular community. Validators can also be people who have expertise in your subject area, such as professors, doctors, or current and former public officials.
A second type of validator may be less public but has the access to the official to be a “whisperer,” as to what steps should and can be taken. Identifying these types of validators can be a little more difficult and require analyzing your target’s audience’s history or Twitter followers. You want to identify whose opinion matters to your target audience.
Counter-validators: As important as it is to identify who can be on your side in reaching your goals, it is also important to identify who may try to stand in your way, either publicly or privately to your target audience. You want to be proactive in identifying such possible counter validators and developing a plan to have your validators to be in a place to either directly or indirectly address any potential concerns raised by a counter-validator. For example, if a local politician will come out against your message, you want to have a local politician of your own be ready to respond.
How you can help your validators: Your role is to provide all the information to the validators that the validator could possibly need to be in the best position possible to speak about your message and help you reach your goal. If you have a detailed plan you want a local governor or official to adopt, you want to make sure your validators have the plan with sufficient links to all supporting documents, a brief backgrounder that summaries your plan, a list of critical talking points, and responses to frequently asked or anticipated questions.