Progress is fueled and driven by community advocacy. It is a call on the public to pay close attention to problems, find out the appropriate solutions to be taken and coordinate efforts to propagate change. It involves strategically reaching out to people with an appeal to take specific action in order to achieve a larger goal in mind.

Some examples of community advocacy include organizing efforts to stop local businesses from using Styrofoam for take-out orders, lobbying for the implementation of environmental protection rights or asking for safer conditions in the workplace.

In his many years of community advocacy for several projects, Jason C. Guck presents a few things that have helped him in this journey and steps you can take when starting out on community advocacy. This article will provide you with basic steps you need to take when starting out with community advocacy. We delve into practices that will get you to your desired goal. Let’s begin.

What is community advocacy?

Advocacy is mostly about realizing change, most often in a bigger picture. Some may take a short time to complete while others may take years to finish especially those that might require amending some laws. Whichever the case, there needs to be a solid plan set in place to ensure that this is seen followed through till the end. Here are five steps in executing a successful advocacy campaign.

Steps to setting up a successful campaign.

  1. Set a clear goal

You need to have a clear definition of what success looks like for your campaign. This will be your reference point and will guide you in the future decisions that need to be made. The goal must be extremely specific and very clear to the audience. It also needs to be measurable to help you track your progress and know when you have reached your goal. The same appeals to the duration of the campaign. This needs to be very vivid to help you strategize on your next steps. For example, saying that you want a bill to pass is simply not enough. It has to be specific, measurable, realistic and time bound. Getting 5 Congressmen to sign on the environmental safety action plan before the end of the year is much clearer and specific.

  1. Identify your target audience.

It is essential that you identify the people you need, and who are in a position to effect the change that you want.  The target of your advocacy should be the people who would drive the change defined in the goal. This could either be an individual like a business owner or someone in local authority. It could also be a body or a group of people like state senators.

Once you’ve identified the target audience, you will need to delve a deeper understanding of who they are. As a marketing expert with 20 years in the telemarketing industry, Jason Guck, former 5LINX owner recommends knowing your audience like the back of your hand. This involves a detailed profile on how they make their decisions, what or who informs their decision making. These are some questions you might need to look into:

  • Who are they and where they live
  • What are their general beliefs and their general view of the world?
  • Their age and who their friends are
  • What policies do they stand for/ against?

When you’ve found the person or people to target, you want to create a target profile to better understand who they are, how they make decisions and the people who influence those decisions. Now, there needs to be a clear line guided by relevance to the kind of  information sourced about your target audience. Your goal will define the relevant information and this kind of information is quite useful in crafting messaging that spark your audience into action.

  1. Build your team

These are people who will have most influence on your intended target and decisions you will make for the campaign. Here are some crucial roles that Jason Guck believes to be quite pivotal when running a successful campaign.

Campaign administrator– This is the person responsible for ensuring that everyone is working as per their timelines. They are also the contact person in case of any queries or clarifications.

Campaign marketing lead– They are the go-to person for any form of messaging that goes out publicly and works closely with creatives such as designers to come up with the message.

Volunteer coordinator- They interact closely with campaign supporters and volunteers to ensure everyone clearly understands the messaging. They also train volunteers on the appropriate actions that need to be taken and how they can share messages to friends and family.

It also helps to get support from different people like general members of the public to help push your message to your intended target.

  1. Create a timeline for your goals

Every campaign needs to have a time of completion. It is important to be mindful of the time your team will take to finish projects whether they are wired to succeed or not. This will need a sit down to discuss appropriate timelines for projects. It is also advisable to account for more time in case any edits or adjustments that need to be made.

Community advocacy can be frustrating for the most part, that is why the most important thing is to have a goal that drives you. This is what will keep you going when you meet bumps along the way. However, it is also one of the most rewarding things when change is effected and when social good is gained.

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