Resolutions Writing Tips
As RMA represents all rural municipalities in Alberta, having resolutions that are provincial in scope supports an effective advocacy process. An effective resolution is detailed and factual and includes clear, concise wording. Understanding the issue as presented in the operative clause is imperative to ensure that RMA’s advocacy efforts are focused on the intent of the resolution. This document provides tips on how to complete the required components of a resolution per RMA’s Resolution Process Policy [pdf].
The resolution title should provide a clear indication of the resolution’s intent. It should, at a glance, provide the reader an understanding of the topic matter and the desired outcome (example: Protection of Aquifers and Water Supply in Coal Bed Methane Extraction). In general, shorter resolution titles are more effective in capturing the attention of RMA members when voting, and of government during RMA advocacy efforts.
The preamble provides context for the resolution. It concisely identifies the situation or environment prompting the resolution, as well as its impact or significance. Where practical, include:
This contextual information is provided through a series of ‘whereas’ clauses, in which each piece of contextual information is provided in a separate clause. Including multiple pieces of information in a single clause can add unnecessary complexity and make the intent of the resolution more difficult to grasp. There is no limit as to the number of ‘whereas’ clauses that can be included in a resolution, but similar to the title, prioritizing a concise preamble that focuses on the most important background information will support a more effective resolution.
There are two main kinds of resolutions: policy and directive. A policy states the opinion of the group (in other words, that RMA take a specific position on an issue and base their general advocacy efforts on that position). A directive is a call to action (in other words, that RMA makes a specific submission, forms a specific partnership, etc. in relation to an issue). Consider the result you want and phrase the resolution accordingly. This clause should be succinct and complete. In isolation from the preamble and background, the reader should understand the resolution’s intent exactly. These clauses can contain the following aspects:
This section provides more in-depth information of the context and environment. Fundamentally, it includes and expands on all the relevant information contained in the preamble, such as:
In general, effective resolutions include a background that links the issue to the sponsoring municipality, rather than provides only a generic overview. Including an example of how the issue is impacting your municipality, as well as how these impacts could be felt by RMA members across the province, will strengthen the credibility of your resolution.