Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Program Development Guide

Intra-organizational Advocacy

Chapter Navigation

1. Organizational Culture

2. Administration

3. Intra-organizational Advocacy

4. Financial Management and Models

5. Organizational Integration

6. Scaling-up a Program


Intra-organizational Advocacy

Getting buy-in from staff and leaders of your organization is a necessary first step for starting or strengthening a peer support program. In many cases, it requires an ongoing, consistent intra-organizational advocacy effort in the face of resistance from managers and health professionals that do not recognize the value-added from peer supporters. Often, challenges arise because staff and organizational leaders are not able to understand the important and yet complementary roles of peer supporters to health care systems.

For example, managers may have concerns about reporting and job procedures, whereas professionals may worry about misinformation, mishandling of patients, and disrupted relationships with patients by the peer supporter. Organizational leaders may have difficulties assessing the benefits of peer support-related activities from a financial standpoint. Without proper intra-organizational advocacy strategies, peer supporters are not able to effectively serve their targeted populations. As a result, there will not be adequate technical support (e.g., training, supervision) and funding to sustain the program/service.

Familiarizing yourself with the evidence of peer support is a good start for promoting peer support within your organization. In terms of concrete steps, the Advocating and Planning for a Behavioral Health Program toolkit developed by a work group of the National Peer Support Collaborative Learning Network (NPSCLN) shares a set of core elements for planning a strategy that are applicable to peer support programs in general:


  • Establish a working group to develop a strategy and plan activities.
  • Identify your audiences (pro, undecided, and against).
  • Minimize the opposition or find areas of common interest as often as possible.
  • Refine positions to achieve a broader consensus.
  • Develop SMART objectives (specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic and time bound).
  • Position your issue to offer key decision-makers a unique and compelling benefit or advantage.
  • Identify your resources and plan to build coalitions and mobilize support.
  • Plan the activities that are the most appropriate for your intended audience.
  • Plan for and combine multiple channels of communication.
  • Give the proposed change an appealing name that is easily understood and designed to mobilize support.


Advocating and Planning for a Behavioral Health Program toolkit by an NPSCLN Workgroup: Section 2 Obtaining Buy-in (pg 19) The section addresses how to plan an advocacy strategy to enhance buy-in and respond to resistance. The content is applicable to peer support programs for mental health and other conditions.
Diabetes Initiative’s Building the Business Case for Self-Management This resource teaches program managers how to present a financial and nonfinancial business case, which may be used for intra-organizational advocacy.
What is Peer Support? In this video, an international assembly of medical and public health experts explain why peer support is important to the present and future of chronic disease self-management, prevention, and health.
Tell Your Story – Personal Accounts of Peer Support This document features a selection of personal stories about individual and collective impact of peer support shared by of peer supporters, program staff, and recipient of peer support around the world.


© 2020 | Peers for Progress

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