Advocacy Campaign Planning Checkup

Does your association or charity have an advocacy issue that needs a campaign plan?  If so, you may find the checklist below of some assistance.  Alternatively, you may already be involved in a campaign and looking for ways to enhance your plans.

Short-term and simple advocacy goals may not warrant a campaign plan, although achievement of any policy objective needs a communication plan at the very least.

Where you have a complex and longer-term objective, for example, one that requires a regulatory or policy change by Government, you may want to consider putting together a campaign plan.  Each advocacy issue will require recognition of a unique set of circumstances and considerations; however, the following questions and suggestions offer a reasonable starting point for development (or review) of your campaign plan.checklist icon


  • What’s the issue or problem and why does it matter?


  • What change are you proposing to address the issue?
  • What’s your program logic or theory of change? Why do you believe your proposed action will lead to your desired outcomes?
  • Have you identified the short, medium and long-term outcomes you are seeking?
  • What’s your theory of winning?  How will you know when you have ‘won’?  On what basis can you argue it is reasonable for the community to expect your proposal to influence outcomes as you suggest?
  • How will participants’ knowledge, insights, dispositions or behaviours change?


  • What’s the context of the problem and what are its key features?
  • What’s the narrative/storyline and your key message?
  • What’s the opposing narrative and rationale?  Do you have rebuttals for opposing views?


  • What actions do you need to take, and by when?  Are there identifiable stages to the campaign?
  • What research do you need to do or have access to?
  • If the issue involves a regulatory change, how does this sit within the election and policy cycle of government?
  • Who is on the campaign team and what roles will they play e.g. who will be authorised to act as a spokesperson?
  • If your team is drawn from a consortium of like-minded organisations, what project governance and reporting arrangements will be required to keep each governing body in touch with (and sharing ownership of) the campaign?  Do you need to reach agreement on sign-off protocols before announcements are made or logos are used in publications or releases?
  • Who will you partner with?  Who are your high-quality influencers?
  • Who do you need to target for your key message/s?
  • Who will oppose your campaign and how are they affected?  How might you influence them?
  • How will you communicate with stakeholders and the public?
  • What events and communications activities do you need to arrange?  Do you need a campaign forum, newsfeed, website, vodcast or podcast?
  • How will you engage wider support for and participation in your campaign?
  • What resources will you need – funds; expertise; segmented mailing lists; technology including a database and social media vehicles; and media access
  • Who is contributing to the resource pool?  Are these contributions tangible or in kind?
  • What briefing notes and information sheets/infographics will you need, and have you outlined your key message, the top three supporting arguments, and two or three points of evidence for each of these? (You need to pass the ‘short and sharp’ test – could you explain it at a dinner or cocktail party?)
  • What training do your champions and advocates require?


  • How will you manage the project alongside your other commitments?
  • Do you need project management software that allows task and timeline coordination by team members?


  • Assess the measures identified when you designed your program logic or theory of change
  • Did your processes and activities achieve the desired objectives or did the objectives change during or as a result of campaign activity?
  • Check progress during the campaign (at stage completion) and at the end.


  • Recalibrate your campaign if necessary to sharpen your objectives and ensure you are seeking achievable outcomes.
  • When you judge that you have achieved your desired outcomes, celebrate with your team and thank your supporters and those who helped make it possible.


From now until 8 December, PolGovPro is offering a FREE no-obligation phone advisory service (up to 20 minutes) responding to your advocacy campaign plans.  Note – this offer is restricted to Australian associations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations.  If you would like some independent and confidential input to your campaign, just send a PDF of your current plan to me at along with your preferred phone number, and I will contact you within a week of receipt.

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If you would like any assistance with developing or implementing your advocacy campaign plan, talk to me about the support PolGovPro can offer – Mobile – 0419 347 599 or email me at the above address.

Garry Pearson

Garry is the Director of PolGovPro Pty Ltd (, which aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of policy and governance processes used by NFP professionals.


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