Create a Plan

Now that you have a regulatory overview, supporting data, and stakeholder map, you are now in a position to design an implementation strategy for your advocacy work.

Learn from Others

We exist in a rich network of charities, non-profits, and NGOs, who are more than often readily eager to share their knowledge and experience with their own advocacy strategy development. Is there a particular campaign that you admire? Why not reach out to the team who developed it and learn from their approach? Understanding what did and didn’t work for others enables your organisation to use your valuable time and resources effectively.


Better Together: Assembling Coalitions

A coalition is a temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons, or states for joint action. Coalitions allow you to broaden your support base, pool your resources and expertise, and leverage your organisational strengths, respectively. While coalitions are crucially important, it is also a big task to build an effective one. When assembling your own coalition, consider some of the following:

Attributes of Effective Coalition Members:

  • Willingness and ability to work in a collaborative manner
  • Clear understanding of what they can offer (e.g., time, relationships, reputation)
  • Clear understanding of what their needs and requirements in the coalition
  • Willingness to share resources and power
  • Ability to identify creative solutions to problems
  • Ability to address conflict  constructively
  • Sufficient staffing to ensure timely decision-making and task completion


Source: What Makes an Effective Coalition? Evidence-Based Indicators of Success. TCC Group. March 2011.

Building Consensus

Advocacy is a long process. In many cases, you may find that the most time consuming and challenging processes is that of building consensus amongst your stakeholders or coalition partners. Everyone has different ideas and priorities, and trying to meet as many needs as possible is no small feat.

  1. When engaging in this process, start with a clear and defined introduction of the issue.
  2. Invite all parties or individuals to express their needs and priorities before discussing a solution.
  3. Explore all solution options. Weigh up the pros and cons of each suggestion.
  4. Work together to converge on a proposal that works for everyone.
  5. Be prepared to compromise, however, have a clear understanding of your own non-negotiables. Present your case, and use the data that you have compiled in your research to support you.

Building consensus helps to create a sense of shared power, develop win-win solutions, and ensure that everyone’s voice and perspective is heard and respected.

An excellent resource for facilitating this process can be found at:

Image, four hands holding each other's wrists


Now that you have consensus on what you are trying to achieve, the next step here is to set some clear goals that will guide you through your strategy. These goals should be SMART goals, where SMART is an acronym for:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound


Specific: A specific goal is one that is clear and unambiguous. We know exactly who is involved and what the purpose is.

Measurable: Decide how you are going to measure your progress or the success of this goal.

Achievable: The goal should be realistic, it should be likely that you will be successful with regard to timeline, capacity, etc.

Relevant: Each goal should advance you towards implementing the change you seek.

Time-bound: Apply deadlines that will keep you on track.

The acronym Smart
Fig.3: SMART Goals

Pick your lobbying avenues and tools

Now that you have defined your SMART goals, decide exactly how you are going take action.

The Legislative Cycle

Firstly, however, you will need to consider what stage of the legislative cycle the law you are trying to change is currently at, as this will affect your level of influence in policy development. The legislative cycle generally follows the following steps:

  1. Concept: An agenda or plan for a certain law has been established
  2. Proposal: A legislative proposal is drafted and developed
  3. Adoption: The proposal is passed and written into law
  4. Implementation: The law is then carried out in society
  5. Evaluation: The law in practice is reviewed

It is important to note that your level of direct influence on policy change is highest in the planning stages, i.e. before the law is drafted.

Circular arrow with the words concept, proposal, adoption, implementation, evaluation
Fig 4: The Legislative Cycle

Examples of Lobbying Avenues & Tools

There are 4 main kinds of lobbying avenues: Administrative, Legislative, Campaign, and Judicial.


Deciding on the most appropriate lobbying avenue will depend on the stage at which the law is at in the legislative cycle, as discussed in the previous section. It is encouraged to plan to use more than one avenue, as this will increase your chance of success.


The different tools associated with each of these avenues are outlined in the template below:


Cause/Issue: The problem you are trying to solve
Goal: What outcome are you looking for at this stage of your advocacy strategy?
Avenue Tool(s)
Administrative Ombudsman complaints, Freedom of Information Act requests
Legislative Influencing legislative outcomes through public consultation fora
Campaign Petitions, communications, contacting politicians


Legal challenge

Table 1: Template for developing your strategy

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