These guidelines provide guidance to SRM members and
sections who propose or prepare advocacy statements on
behalf of the parent Society (hereinafter referred to as Society)
or its subunits (Sections and Chapters). The guidelines that
follow were designed to ensure that:
SRM’s external advocacy will be ethically and professionally
sound;advocacy statements will not degrade the
SRM’s reputation as the most reliable source of scientific
information on rangeland resources; rangeland related
scientific information will be used appropriately when
members address rangeland resource issues; and advocacy
statements will be widely supported within the SRM
because they will be technically correct, respectful of
alternative views, and consistent with SRM Policy
Statements, Position Statements, Bylaws, the SRM Code
of Ethics, and Standards for Conduct for SRM Members
Providing Public Service.
Members and Sections planning to influence an external
issue and to invoke the credibility of the SRM or its members
shall adhere to the SRM’s Bylaws, which state:
Sections, in their speech, writing, and action shall conform
to the principles, policies, and objectives of the
Society, as set forth in its Articles of Incorporation,
Bylaws, or duly approved statements of policy and principle
(SRM Bylaws, Article VII. Sections, Section 6.)
The purpose and functions of a Chapter shall, in general,
be the same as those specified for Sections, and in all
their actions and activities Chapters shall conform to the
principles, policies, and objectives of the Society as set
forth in its Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, or duly
approved statements of policy and principle (SRM
Bylaws, Article VIII. Section Chapters, Section 5.).
Each Chapter and Section shall have the authority to formulate
statements within the area of its jurisdiction and
consistent with Society Policy Statements (SRM Bylaws,
Article XI. Policy, Section 7. (g)).
A. What is Advocacy?
Advocacy may be simply defined as arguing for a cause,
often on behalf of others. Arguments may be written or
expressed orally, and sometimes they must be developed reasonably
quickly. Advocacy is on its strongest ground when it
is based on a hierarchy of instruments used as official expressions
of SRM views.
The principal instruments are SRM Policy Statements,
Position Statements, legislative briefing statements, and
Policy statements are general statements of principle about
resource topics that explain and justify the SRM’s perspective
or attitude in largely philosophical terms. Policies generally
have a long life span, perhaps 10–20 years. Policies may be
approved by the Board of Directors or referred to the membership
for ballot vote.
Position statements are specific stands on specific issues.
They are prepared by experts, scientifically documented, and
rigorously reviewed. They must be consistent with SRM policies,
and are approved by the Board of Directors.
Legislative briefing statements include written statements
detailing specific stands on specific items of legislation. These
are developed and approved like position statements, with
which they must be consistent. Legislative briefing statements
also include testimony made before legislative committees
and other information provided to legislative bodies. Anyone
offering such testimony or information as a representative of
SRM, or a section or chapter of SRM, must ensure that it is
consistent with SRM policies. SRM Board of Directors
approval must be given before a member represents SRM in
providing testimony or information.
Resolutions are issue statements that are peer-reviewed by
committees and approved at an official Society or Section
meeting. They are less analytical than position statements or
legislative briefing statements but must be consistent with
SRM position statements and policies.
Position statements, legislative briefing statements, and resolutions
become void when the issues they address become
moot. Use of any of these instruments to promote the principles,
policies, and positions of the SRM may be considered a
form of advocacy, especially when it is used to influence public
B. Criteria for Advocacy at the Parent Society Level
The following criteria shall be used to determine whether it
is appropriate for the SRM to prepare an advocacy statement
on an issue, and they provide a checklist of the steps needed to
properly arrive at a statement on a particular issue. The criteria
were developed to ensure, without unnecessary restrictions
on advocacy, that a member does not improperly attribute personal
views to the Society or one of its Sections or Chapters.
Sections or Chapters preparing statements on a position
should consider the additional criteria outlined in the subsequent
- The issue is pertinent to SRM’s goals and objectives as
stated in its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
- The importance of the issue warrants the effort of SRM’s
officers, members, and staff to address, given the existence
of other issues. Urgency may be a factor if failure
to act will place a resource in jeopardy.
- The appropriate organization level of SRM was considered
to address the issue (ie; parent Society, Sections,
chapters). Considerations include the geographic limits
of the issue and the locations of experts able to prepare
an accurate position.
- Significant membership support for action is evidenced
or known, or if not, the reason why members are
unaware of the issue is legitimate.
- Alternative views on the issue were considered.
- Administrative resources and funds to pursue the action
to completion are available or can be secured.
- Consideration has been given to joint action with other
concerned organizations in order to strengthen the position
C. Guidelines for Subunits on Development of
Sections or Chapters should adopt internal procedures to
manage the development and advocacy of policy statements,
position statements, legislative briefing statements, and resolutions.
The internal procedures should address the criteria
used to select issues. Procedures should provide sufficient
guidelines for quality control, such as peer review, of written
products that advocate a position or action. Subunits should
consult SRM headquarters to develop a mechanism for relaying
and promoting their policies and positions to all concerned
parties. The following steps provide procedures for developing
and advocating subunit policy statements, position statements,
legislative briefing statements or resolutions:
- A member or committee raises a formal concern or issue.
- The subunit’s executive or other committee reviews the
issue based on the following questions:
- Is the issue pertinent to the subunit’s goals?
- Do (or will) subunit members support the position?
- Is the position consistent with parent society position?
- d. Does the subunit have adequate expertise and technical information to develop a position?
- Have alternative views been considered?
- Is the urgency of the issue so great that the officers or executive committee would have to act without full membership approval?
- Would the subunit be willing, and does it have the resources, to follow through?
- Do geographic boundaries and other aspects of the issue make subunit involvement appropriate?
- Should other subunits or entities be involved?
- Do the potential benefits of taking action outweigh the risks?
- When the subunit determines that the issue is appropriate
for action, it:
- subjects the issue to further development if necessary,
- solicits an independent review (necessary for all but the most minor issues; the greater the sensitivity and importance of the issue, the more intensive the review should be), and
- takes the recommended action and notifies SRM headquarters.
- The actions taken by the subunit may include (but are not
necessarily limited to):
- sending a letter with a request for action or comments;
- drafting and sending a resolution;
- preparing a position paper, legislative briefing paper, or policy paper (copied to SRM headquarters);
- referring the issue to SRM headquarters with recommendations;
- recommending an educational forum;
- taking no action but providing supporting rationale to proponents.
D. Accountability and Oversight
The SRM must be assured that when members advocate
their own interests or personal opinions, they clearly distinguish
their views from those of the SRM. Members must not
leave the impression that personal views represent the Society
or subunit views. When a position is identified with the
Society or subunit, some level of review is essential to ensure
quality control and membership concurrence with the position
expressed. However, this must be balanced with the equally
valid concern that an overly lengthy or structured review
process interferes with SRM’s ability to act or respond quickly
The following guidelines address the accountability for and
oversight of advocacy activities:
- New subunit leaders should attend the orientation and training that is to be provided for emerging leaders at annual meetings of the SRM, and when possible at the Section level. Training sessions should include a section on the sensitivity, policies, and oversight associated with advocacy.
- When it develops, reviews, and promulgates advocacy statements, each subunit must conform to the SRM’s established position on the subject and to the overall policy on development and advocacy of SRM positions, as stated at the beginning of this chapter.
- When possible, the subunit’s executive committee should review the relevance and urgency of advocacy statements, the appropriateness of a response by the subunit, general membership support, minority views, available resources, and potential for achieving the desired effect.
- In an emergency, when lack of action may result in serious harm to a resource, the SRM president and/or other officers, including the executive director, should be consulted. With their concurrence, the executive director or a subunit member should forward the best professional opinion or position to appropriate officials. Prior consultation with SRM experts or concerned subunits should be conducted by whatever means possible. If time permits, membership approval should also be obtained.
- Except for emergency resolutions, subunit resolutions advocating a position must undergo a rigorous review by an appropriate number of independent experts knowledgeable on the subject. Subunits advancing resolutions are directed to follow the guidance provided in SRM Bylaws, Article XI. Policy, Section 7. Resolutions submitted by subunits for adoption by the SRM at its annual meeting will be considered by the Public Affairs Committee, which may solicit additional independent reviews.
- For each formal position taken, the organizational sponsor Society, Section, or Chapter should be clearly identified so there is no confusion as to the position’s source. Trail Boss News October 2002
E. Authorized Representation
The SRM and its subunits must have mechanisms to ensure
that their letterheads, logos, and other identifiers are used for
advocacy purposes only as specifically authorized pursuant to
the SRM’s advocacy policies and procedures. It is emphasized
again that when members present an SRM position, they must
state the position accurately, identify the SRM organizational
unit responsible for it, and refrain from embellishing with personal
opinion unless the opinion is identified as such. All of
the foregoing is to be guided by the SRM Bylaws and Code of
F. Education and Outreach Need
The SRM’s advocacy guidelines must be conveyed to newly
elected officers and representatives at all SRM organizational
levels. Newer members entering leadership positions often
lack exposure and sensitivity to SRM’s concerns about advocacy
of issues. Longtime members may find advocacy a new
experience in the SRM, even though many other professional
societies have assumed advocacy roles for many years. For
these and other leaders, the SRM should develop training and
information programs that foster awareness of and adherence
to established advocacy protocols.
Training and Information
The SRM will offer leadership orientation each year at the
annual meeting, and at as many subunit meetings as opportunities
permit. This instruction will cover advocacy procedures
as well as introductions to SRM’s Bylaws, Policy Statements,
Positions Statements, Legislative Briefing Statements,
Resolutions, Code of Ethics, and Robert’s Rules of Order. It
will cover any training materials and documents that have
been developed by the SRM and its subunits as well as manuals,
videos, or other media that record current positions or
roles. All members, and subunit officers in particular, are
encouraged to attend any such orientation available to them.
Subunit leaders and developing leaders should stay abreast
of SRM advocacy activities as published in Rangelands, The
Trailboss News, and other SRM communications. They are
expected to become familiar with the legal ramifications,
risks, and liabilities pertaining to their professional activities
as representatives of the SRM. Before engaging in any advocacy
action on behalf of the SRM, members should be thoroughly
familiar with these guidelines and with all related
material in SRM Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. To
help members and officers to become familiar with the positions
of the SRM at all levels, a central registry of Policy
statements, Position Statements, legislative briefing statements,
and resolutions will be maintained on the SRM homepage
In addition to the above training, the SRM will offer continuing
education workshops at the annual meeting regarding
legislative affairs and formulation of public policy. Members
and officers representing policies and positions of the SRM or
its subunits are expected to present themselves and their positions
in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism,
including but not limited to matters of dress, language,
demeanor, and sensitivity to the rights and opinions of others.
Subunits are encouraged to institute multi-year progressions
for elected officers or multi-year presidencies to expand corporate