As you go through the steps in your advocacy journey, it is likely you will begin to identify actions you can take to help bring about change.
Developing a plan for your advocacy depends on how clearly defined your issue or cause is. Your plan of action is never fixed or set – it grows and develops as you learn, and you will need to constantly revise your plan based on the experiences you have.
Keeping in mind all the information you have collected through research and personal engagement, ask yourself the following:
- Who are the main decision-makers I need to engage with and what is the best way of engaging with them?
- How can I influence the decision-making process?
- Who influences the decision-makers, such as media or different groups, and how should I engage with them?
- Who of my peers can work with me at this early stage?
- What is the best way of gaining support for my cause and how should I engage with people to encourage this?
- Who could influence the outcome of my cause, either positively or negatively, and how should I engage with them?
- What sensitivities should I be aware of when engaging with different people?
- Who will I need help or support from?
It doesn’t matter how clear or blurry your plan may seem at this stage, you just have to start somewhere. Things will become clearer as you go and the more you engage, the more you will find opportunities to promote your advocacy.
Start by developing a structure like the one below:
|Narrative||Markers of Progres|
|Goals||What long-term outcome am I trying to achieve?||How will I know my goal has been achieved? What targets will have been achieved? What would have changed?|
|Key Actions||What needs to happen for my goal to be achieved? Are there any external stakeholders we require?||What markers will I use to know that I am on target for reaching my goal?|
|Activities||To Do List||Responsibility||Date|
|List the activities that should be carried out||Break down each activity into individual steps||Who from your team should take on this responsibility?||Set deadlines or timeframes for activities|
You can already identify the goal and you probably have some ideas about the key actions...but you’ll notice something important in this table too – markers of progress.
Putting markers in place is important because they set a target for what you are trying to achieve, and they determine whether you are on track.
Here’s what we mean.
If your goal is the inclusion of girls in schools in your area, how would you know if you were on track for achieving this? Good markers of progress could be an increase in the number of girls attending school, girls becoming more confident in their academic work, possibly a change in the school’s policy, or hearing the topic being discussed by lawmakers. By achieving these things, you would know you are on track for including girls in education.
Markers can also be tricky. In some cases, people set targets that don’t match the goal and as a result, they don’t achieve the overall goals of their advocacy. For example, if your goal is the inclusion of girls in education, your marker could be a change in the school’s policy. But the policy might not actually be implemented – so girls are still not attending school.
If you’re at the beginning of your advocacy process, you still might not be clear about what specific action you can take, and you might not be able to identify the activities. Don’t worry, this is one of the sections that will be developed as you go, and you will need to come back to this at various stages of your advocacy process.
In order to achieve our advocacy goals, it’s important that we constantly assess whether we are on track towards achieving our desired outcome. Let's have a look at monitoring activities.