Paul Shotton

7-Steps of Advocacy - 7 Evaluate - How to evaluate & improve-advocacy-7-evaluate

Step 7: Successful advocacy is reflective and agile

Step 7 of the 7-Step advocacy method concerns Evaluation.

The first 6 steps of the 7-Step advocacy method have been concerned with preparation and action: How do you prepare to engage and then how do you best engage. In step 1 we discussed the importance of priorities and KPIs and in step 6 we looked at how you best manage all of your advocacy workstreams. The final step of our method is all about ensuring you have a structured approach and commitment towards evaluating and reviewing your advocacy campaigns at regular milestones and upon completion. You should always evaluate your work across the first 5 steps of the 7-step advocacy method. Successful advocacy is reflective and agile, and must monitor, evaluate and review constantly.

7-Steps of Advocacy - 6 Engage - How to manage your advocacy

Step 6: Campaign management matters! Make your advocacy relevant, realistic and reactive

Step 6 of the 7-Step advocacy method concerns Managing.

In a world where we are constantly required to deliver more with less, how you manage is extremely important. Across people, processes, technology and finance clear management is key. Advocacy Strategies must be well structured, and action plans relevant and realistic with built-in feedback channels, evaluation methodology and a corresponding readiness to adapt. Dashboards keep you abreast of progress; they can also be a useful communication tool within the team. Advocacy teams collaborate best where they have clear roles and targets.

7-Steps of Advocacy - 5 Engage - How to engage with your stakeholders

Step 5 – Making the right engagement choices to maximise success

Step 5 of the 7-Step advocacy method concerns Engagement.

The first 4 steps of the 7-Step advocacy method have focused on preparation. When you engage with your stakeholders you translate all the data, analysis and outputs from your prioritization, intelligence gathering, stakeholder mapping, messaging and information management into engagement actions. In this blog we will outline the two main approaches to engage. In doing so we will try to answer: How can you make better engagement choices and build a balanced advocacy strategy that maximizes your chances of success?

7-Steps of Advocacy - 2 Intelligence - How to get the information you need

Step 2: Intelligence Gathering

In our last blog post we shared our views on best practice around priorities, objectives, and KPIs in Public Affairs. Prioritization is the central foundation of your advocacy strategy because it defines the boundaries and sets the point on the horizon for every other aspect of your advocacy, including today’s post on intelligence gathering. Your priorities and objectives define the scope of your intelligence gathering. A scope that resources demand be narrow and focused. The tighter the scope, the fewer resources consumed and the higher quality delivered by your intelligence gathering.

7-Steps of Advocacy - 1 Prioritize - How to identify & define priorities

Prioritization: The Foundation for Successful Public Affairs

Prioritization is the first step of our 7-step method. As an advocacy professional you might ask yourself: how do I identify and define priorities? Most Public Affairs practitioners have had a problem with prioritization. Often, we have too many issues and too many competing priorities, and invariably insufficient time or resources to deal with even half of them. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Identifying, analyzing, and selecting priority issues is akin to building your home on solid foundations; the campaigns you build require strong foundations in the form of a limited list of carefully selected priorities. In short, you cannot succeed in advocacy without being able to identify and manage a targeted list of priorities.

An Advocacy Method to Deliver Success

In this post we argue that the cornerstone of advocacy success is the use of an advocacy method to build your advocacy strategy. Our shared belief in the transformative power of an comprehensive advocacy method led to the development of the 7-steps of advocacy method and the creation of Indeed, both of us had already developed methods of the advocacy process and we are not alone in doing so. For Alan it happened in the context of his book: How to Work with the EU Institutions: A Practical Guide to Successful Public Affairs in the EU within which he, and Aaron McLoughlin, proposed an advocacy process to help empower people to more advocacy success. In parallel, Paul, who teaches public affairs and advocacy to university students and advocacy professionals, developed an 8-step method. The 7-Steps of Advocacy Method is the culmination of these two initiatives.