What’s Your Strategy?

Here’s another post in our New Year’s mini-series on advocacy planning and evaluation.

For many, one of the biggest challenges in advocacy planning and evaluation is determining how to get the most bang out of what is usually very few bucks.  With such limited resources, how do we determine what activities will take us the furthest down the path towards our ultimate goal?

If you are asking questions like this – you are engaging in strategic thinking (congratulations!).

Now, unsurprisingly, in the world of board games or business management there is a near endless supply of literature on the subject of strategic planning.  There is decidedly less so for public policy advocacy work.

Thankfully, the bountiful internet has once again provided for us.

Here is a wonderful article I dug up recently from the GIA Reader a publication of Grantmakers in the Arts.  In it, authors Martha Campbell and Julia Coffman sketch out a step by step strategic planning process for public policy advocates.  The target audience of the article is grantmakers, but the process really applies for anyone engaging in the work.  The steps they provide are:

  1. Choose a Public Policy Goal
  2. Understand the Challenge
  3. Identify Which Audiences Can Move the Issue
  4. Determine How Far Audiences Must Move
  5. Establish What It Will Take to Move Audiences Forward

(Step 1 certainly ties back to last week’s post on defining policy and advocacy outcomes.)

After laying out the steps, Campbell and Coffman provide a nifty chart that lays many of the most common public policy activities advocates use.  Its a great visual framework to help you choose the appropriate activity based on your target audience and desired outcome.

If you are operating with limited resources and capacity, it makes sense to focus your activities on the strategies most likely to achieve the change you seek.  If your activities are scattered all across this chart, maybe you can re-visit your plan with a critical eye to ensure you are deploying your resources and efforts as strategically as possible!

Tools to Support Public Policy Grantmaking – GIA Reader Spring 2010

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