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ABCs of Advocacy:

Community Guide to Change


September 2015

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339

Provider of grant
funding for the series

ABCs of Advocacy
The Basics

Why engage in advocacy?


Because you want to change somethingpolicy, practice, rules, or behavior. They will
likely not change by themselves.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is all about influencing public policy


and/or practice.
When done by community members, it can
strengthen communities and societies and
empower people.

Decisions are
made by those
who show up.

According to Wikipedia,
Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence
decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy)
More simply:
Advocacy is problem solving.
Community Toolbox says advocacy
actively promotes a cause or principle
is a set actions which lead to a selected goal
Is one of many possible strategies or ways to approach a problem
a stand-alone effort or can be part of a community initiative or other initiative
can involve confrontation or conflict but they are not necessary elements (http://
ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/advocacy-principles/overview/main)

In which situations can you use advocacy?

Budget
Legislation
Regulatory and administrative issue
Systems
Community-level work

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339

ABCs of Advocacy

The Problem-solving Process

Step 1: Identify the problem


Determine what the problem is. The problem is not always obvious so spend time talking with others, identifying ideas about what the problem is, and refine.
This step involves doing research:
Understanding the breadth and depth of the situation, problem
Identifying the players including decision makers, allies, opponents
Knowing what laws, policies and practices are related to the situation or problem
Understanding the context surrounding the problem
Collecting data

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339

ABCs of Advocacy

The Problem-solving Process


Step 2: Identify the goal
State the goal, what you want to achieve.
Note: This is not a laundry list of strategies or ways to achieve the goal.

Example from real life


Several years ago, advocates for homeless individuals decided they could make a big
difference among the chronic homeless by focusing on ending homelessness among
veterans.
Their goal was to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

Step 3: Identify solutions, select the best, and implement


When you identify the solutions, do two things. First, list all the ideas you have. Second,
dont discuss them as they are being identified.
Once you have a list of solutions, you need to consider them against the resources you
have available along with other important considerations such as external forces and
deadlines.
External forces to consider include:
Your allies
Your opponents
Current political environment
Supporters who may not be allies
If this is a widespread public advocacy effort, how will you reach out?
If the goal requires legislation to be passed or changed, where are you in the legislative cycle?
If the goal requires government funding, where are you in the budget cycle?
Has the media weighed in on the issue?

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339

ABCs of Advocacy

The Problem-solving Process


Step 4: Assess, repeat Step 3 as needed
Did you achieve your goal? Yes or no, assess why. Use your plan as the guide to assess the effort.

The important thing is to


learn a lesson every time you
lose. Life is a learning process
and you have to try to learn
what's best for you. Let me
tell you, life is not fun when
you're banging your head
against a brick wall all the
time.

John McEnroe

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339

ABCs of Advocacy
The Plan

Create your advocacy plan


Community Toolbox has a terrific step-by-step on how to prepare you advocacy plan (see
http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/advocacy-principles/advocacy-plan/main).
From this page you will find a helpful checklist and list of tools needed.
Items on the checklist, for example, include:

What's the best way to plan?


Planning is done as a group
What should we plan?

Planning is done under six headings: goals; resources and assets; supporters /
opponents; targets and agents of change; strategy; and tactics

How do we plan for goals or objectives?


Objectives are SMART + C: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Timed;
and Challenging

How should resources and assets be included in the plan?


The following resources are included: funds; people currently available, and likely
to be available in the future; important contacts; and facilities

Selecting the target(s)


Selecting your target(s) is perhaps the most important decision to make, second only
to the goal.
Advocates typically target members of the Council of the District of Columbia and
not the mayor. Both have benefits.

Tish Atkins: latishaatkins@gmail.com (202) 827-8018


Susie Cambria: susie.cambria@gmail.com (301) 832-2339