The importance of providing oral health care to children should be an easy sale.

The fact that it improves their overall health and enables them to thrive in the classroom and the community is something around which nearly everyone can rally. Because building and sustaining school-linked oral health programs requires voices, expertise and resources from a variety of sectors, people need to know that these services align with their values.  This is where public will becomes an essential pillar of your program.

Metropolitan Group, an agency that specializes in promoting social change, defines public will building as “a communication approach that builds public support for social change by integrating grassroots outreach methods with traditional mass media tools in a process that connects an issue to the existing, closely held values of individuals and groups.”

In “Building Public Will: A Five-Phase Communication Approach to Sustainable Change,” Metropolitan Group outlines how this approach leads to deeper public understanding and ownership of social change and creates new and lasting community expectations that shape the way people act, think and behave.