Common Cause Handbook

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The world currently faces some big, serious and growing problems - from global poverty, to human rights violations, to child abuse, to environmental destruction. Yet so far, we have been able to make only small steps towards solving them. Why? While the power of vested interests is clearly impossible to ignore, one major, connected and largely overlooked factor is the values that motivate people. This is a guide to Values and Frames for Campaigners, Community Organisers, Civil Servants, Fundraisers, Educators, Social Entrepreneurs, Activists, Funders, Politicians, and everyone in between. In working with national and international issues, many of us have often appealed to financial costs and benefits-or to people’s desire for status or security-to help spur lasting social and environmental change. Yet cross-cultural psychological research on human values reveals that this may be doing untold damage to the causes we care about, by reinforcing the very values that underpin unhelpful attitudes, policies, behaviours and institutions. We need a new approach: recognising the importance of values and frames; taking into account how the things we call for or do can help strengthen or weaken them; and making sure that, in doing so, we are all pulling together across different sectors. The need for trade-offs and compromises will remain-but we should make them in light of the bigger picture: an understanding of the values that will be essential to securing lasting change.

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