Section 06: Developing your advocacy roadmap

6.1 Developing your advocacy roadmap

  • You have identified your advocacy goal.
  • You have decided on your overall approach based on your analysis of the issue, the political and social context you are working in and the context within your organisation.
Now you need to think about the sequence of activities and the outcomes of these activities that will move things from where you are now (current situation) to where you want to be (advocacy goal achieved). This is your advocacy 'road map'.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: two people on a journey look at a map. One points at teh "advocacy goal" which is still a long way away, beyond the hills.

6.2 'So that' tool for developing your advocacy roadmap

Try developing your advocacy roadmap with a simple device: `so that’ (`in order to...’). By using the 'so that' technique, you can think through the chain of actions and outcomes that could lead to the achievement of your advocacy goal.
  1. 1.
    Take a large sheet of flip-chart paper and some post-it notes
  2. 2.
    Write your advocacy goal at the bottom of the paper
  3. 3.
    Write down the first action you plan to take on a post-it note and place it at the top of the paper
  4. 4.
    Write `so that’ underneath
  5. 5.
    On another post-it note, write down the outcome of this action and stick it underneath the words `so that’.
  6. 6.
    Repeat the exercise until you have reached your goal at the bottom of the paper
  7. 7.
    The `so that’ technique will help ensure there is a clear connection between your actions the and anticipated outcomes of these actions. This is important, given how unclear and undefined the road to change can be in advocacy.
Work backwards?
Some people prefer to start from their advocacy goal and work backwards to where they are now, by using the connector 'if’.
Example: "the law will be changed if we can persuade enough parliamentarians to support our amendment" – and so on.

6.3: Planning for potential `detours’ in the roadmap

Your roadmap probably won’t go exactly to plan.
This is because advocacy is all about influencing powerful actors (e.g. parliamentarians, government ministers, ordinary citizens, journalists etc) over whose actions you have little control. Moreover other developments and events in the external context over which you have no control may send the whole roadmap into disarray (e.g. snap general election, reshuffle of key government minister etc).
So, be prepared for dead-ends and for certain things to go into reverse – requiring a a `detour’ and alternative actions at certain points in the road.
The key to effective advocacy is flexibility!
`Political chess’ tool to help you anticipate alternative scenarios:
  1. 1.
    Try to anticipate what you would you would do if the opposite happens to the outcome you had anticipated as a result of each of your actions (alternatively ask your colleagues to do this)
  2. 2.
    Now try to think what action you would undertake in response, if the opposite to what you were expecting were to happen.
Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
Nelson Mandela

6.4: Identifying the interim `milestones’ in the roadmap

The 'so that' roadmap tool will help you identify the interim outcomes or 'milestones’ you should try to secure on the way to achieving your advocacy goal. This is important because your advocacy goal may take a long time to secure – especially if it involves a major new policy or a change in the law. Having a sense of the short-term and medium-term outcomes to be secured will enable you to measure progress (and demonstrate this to others, including donors) - even if the advocacy goal at the end of the road remains elusive.
Possible outcomes to seek – on the road to securing the advocacy goal
  • Civil Society outcomes: the capacity of local NGOs to advocate is strengthened; improved cooperation between civil groups; a coalition established to advocate for change on this issue
  • Partnership outcomes: the formation of regional or international networks on the issue; constructive relationships established with government officials
  • Political and democratic outcomes: civil groups gain recognition as legitimate actors; increase in the space in which NGOs can advocate; NGOs’ access to governments and other institutions improves; greater freedom of information.
  • Organisational outcomes: increased profile of your organisation; respect as a credible source of information; increased funding
Divide up the outcomes you will seek into:
  • Short-term outcomes (eg. to be secured in 6 months);
  • Medium-term outcomes (eg. in 1 year);
  • Longer-term outcomes (eg. in 2 years).
Then insert the activities you will undertake to secure each outcome.