“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner
I am not afraid to raise my voice for honesty, truth, and compassion. I am committed, passionate and motivated when I advocate for change. Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!
What is advocacy?
According to Joyce Johnson, writing for Learning to Give, advocacy means to speak up, to plead the case of another, or to fight for a cause. Advocacy, she writes, describes a wide range of expressions, actions, and activities that seek to influence outcomes directly affecting the lives of the people served by the organization. Johnson further states:
“Reduced to its most basic level, effective nonprofit advocacy is about communication and relationships.“
An effective advocate influences key decision makers. This happens by moving them from understanding and empathy to action. Relationships and strategic advocacy communication underlie this movement.
Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!
“If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go!” The Cheshire cat in alice in Wonderland
A plan integrates all an organization’s programs, public education, and advocacy efforts. A long-term strategy positions an organization to be more proactive and strategic, rather than consistently reacting to the existing environment.
I am a firm believer in creating a strategic marketing communications plan. Your plan ensures your organization communicates effectively and meets your organizational goals and objectives.
Elements of an effective strategic marketing communications plan:
- Goals and Objectives
- Target Audience
- Tactics to Engage Target Audiences
- Create targeted messages
- Choose channels to deliver messages
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Work plan
Communications Matters created a model designed to help communication practitioners and their colleagues build a common language and a shared understanding of the role that social change communication plays in advancing lasting social change. This communications model is built around four central pillars: brand, culture, strategy, and action.
- Brand – Every social change organization, no matter its size or purpose, has three key assets that shape its identity: resources, reputation, and relationships.
- Culture – Communicating organizations cultivate certain qualities that make their work compelling to others. You may not have all in equal measure, but you need a minimum supply of each to succeed.
- Strategy – Successful organizations are consistently strategic (deliberate and intentional) about their communication choices, weighing several distinct, yet related, variables before they act.
- Action – Communicating should never be a one-way activity. Success demands a continuous, virtuous, self-correcting cycle of sending and receiving, plus the ability to cede control.
Social Media for advocacy:
AAUW, empowering women since 1881, suggests these 6 steps to social media for advocacy:
- Set your goals. Is your goal narrow (publicizing an event) or broad (building and engaging with a community or coalition)?
- Identify your target audiences.
- Select the social media platforms you plan to use. Make your choice based on your goals and target audiences. The most well-known are Facebook and Twitter.
- Gather resources and materials to create content and share.
- Find volunteers to help manage social platforms.
- Be sure and integrate into your marketing communications plan.
Blending traditional and new media for advocacy:
The POST Method, developed by Forrester Research, provides a framework for blending traditional and new media. It is really simple, yet profound in that it provides a user-friendly system for using traditional and emerging communications channels. The acronym refers to the four-step approach:
P is People
Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.
O is Objectives
Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.
S is Strategy
Strategy means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterward? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.
T is Technology
A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.
Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey with The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta. We expand opportunities in the lives of Jewish women and girls via effective grant-making, advocacy, and education through a gender lens. As co-chair of the education and advocacy committee, strategic advocacy communication is the framework I use to move decision makers from understanding and empathy to action.
Do you engage in advocacy? I’d love to know if you have any suggestions for best practices with strategic advocacy communications.
Please let us hear from you!