Make a plan
No matter the advocacy work, big or small, it helps to develop a plan to be as strategic and efficient as possible. The steps below will help guide you through this process. These steps have been modified from the National Council for the Social Studies advocacy guidelines with additional tips from the resources listed at the end of this section
11 Steps to Advocacy
- Identify the type of advocacy you want to conduct (e.g. support important initiatives in local community, fight against regressive legislation, get a new hire for a folklorist in your academic department, publicize a new program, event, or book, etc.)
- Determine key audiences (e.g. legislators, journalists, podcasters and bloggers, the general public, co-workers and colleagues, etc.)
- Assess what those audiences currently know or believe (e.g. What has press been publishing on the topic? What have politicians said on the issue? What do strategic plans at organizations and universities reveal about related priorities? What can a web search reveal?)
- Establish measurable objectives for each audience (e.g. Legislators will approve a particular bill, institutions will apportion funds and space for an event, your program or research project will be written up in local media, the job ad will be rewritten to exclude language that requires a PhD in English or Anthropology).
- Gather data to make your case (e.g. comparative data from similar projects, quotes from stakeholders about the importance of the work, testimonials from local leaders or scholars)
- Define a message for each audience. While a consistent message can be highly effective, tailoring your message to a particular audience is always a good practice (e.g. significance of folklore scholarship to the Arts and Sciences, importance of the preservation and exhibition of folk arts to local legislators, relevance of folklore in the modern world on a podcast).
- Use the most appropriate medium for reaching your audience (e.g. journalists may prefer email pitches, politicians may prefer phone calls, university deans may prefer a white paper or face to face meetings, constituents might prefer town hall meetings).
- Determine the communication activities to deliver your message (tweet about your upcoming program, pitch a story to a local media outlet, write an op-ed for a regional paper, email a mailing list of supporters, call your legislators, etc.).
- Decide what resources are needed to complete each activity (e.g. time to develop materials, additional people with specific skill sets like design or tech skills, budget for printing, transportation).
- Establish a timeline and responsible party for each activity (deadlines are key but consider adding benchmarks along the way to chart progress).
- Evaluate whether you have reached your objectives (track your goals and progress; goals reached are useful data for future initiatives).
The Advocacy Action Plan Workbook: Created by the American Library Association, this is an easily adapted workbook to help you develop a clear and robust advocacy plan.
Campaign Canvas: From vision and strategy to storytelling and metrics, the canvas ensures you’ve touched on all the essentials of an effective campaign.
Six Elements of Open Campaigns: This worksheet outlines the many ways in which a campaign can be opened up for wider ownership, leadership and participation.
The Mobilisation Integration Toolkit: To win big, teams need to work seamlessly together. Take a look at systems and tools used by Greenpeace offices around the world.
CouncilOfNonprofitsEverydayAdvocacyResources: Includes toolkits and case studies of advocacy efforts by Non-profits.