Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Effective Advocacy: Guidelines for the NEA Fine Arts Task Force

1. Conducting Advocacy Research
A. Gather initial information about a social problem or issue. This includes beginning research to understand the problem. (A Declining Focus on the Arts in our schools)

B. Define the problem. Three step process: 1) Become aware of the issue, 2) Refine the problem within the small group/organizational context, 3) Determine problem priorities.

2. Design the Advocacy Campaign

A. Recognizing the campaign’s outlet (How will the campaign be disseminated?)—Via NEA Today and affiliates

B. Determining the systemic changes (i.e., new or modified programs, policies, and practices) the group hopes to bring about. [Include the specific changes (e.g., arts-infused curriculums) sought by the Advocacy Campaign].

C. The action steps required (Who will do what by when to bring about the specific changes to be sought)

3. Identify Resources and Assets

A. The number and kind of people who are available and committed (Identifying partners; groups or individuals w/ a shared vision)

B. The financial resources available

C. The communication technologies, facilities, and other material resources available

D. The information and ideas that could be helpful

E. Other assets that can be used to support the effort

4. Indicate Potential Allies and Opponents

A. Identify likely allies and how they will support the effort

B. Identify likely opponents and how they might resist or oppose the effort
(1) State the likely purposes of the opposition
(2) Outline tactics that may be used by the opposition
(3) Indicate how the opposition can be countered

5. Identify Targets and Agents of Change

A. Describe the targets of change in light of anticipated allies and opponents (i.e., those whose behavior should change). Indicate how conditions should be changed to affect their behavior.

B. Describe agents of change (i.e., those who can contribute). Indicate how conditions should be changed to support their engagement in the effort.

6. State the Strategies and Tactics of the Campaign

A. Identify those strategies that will be used. Based on the particular situation

B. State the specific strategic goals and tactics that will be used.

C. Review the effectiveness of the planned strategies/tactics
(1) Are available resources and allies being optimized (i.e., Does it take advantage of the group's strengths? Engage its allies? Deter opponents?)
(2) Is the campaign flexible (i.e., Does it permit adjustments with changing situations)
(3) Is it likely to work (i.e., Does it bring about the desired effect with the issue and with opponents?)

7. Describe the evaluation of the Advocacy Campaign

A. Clearly state what indicators will signify "success" (e.g., in bringing about systemic changes in school curriculums).

B. Describe how measures of success can be obtained (e.g., commissioning new studies/research and comparing with existing data).

C. Indicate how the initiative will make sense of the results (e.g., how data will be analyzed; how those affected will be involved in interpreting the information).

D. Describe how the information will be used to improve the effort (e.g., feedback will be provided to leadership and membership)

8. Implement the Advocacy Campaign!

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