Advocacy Basics: Five Basics for Effective Advocacy Messaging

Effective advocacy messaging starts with a clear campaign goal or objective. Having an advocacy software platform is critical in achieving that objective alongside creativity and ingenuity of advocacy practitioners. Aside from the focused goal and your advocacy tool, there are some best practices when it comes to crafting effective advocacy messaging for campaigns ranging across the issue spectrum. Here are some details to consider when creating your advocacy communications:

1. Informative

Your advocacy messaging should have an informational component that tells the audience of a policy development. Your audience or stakeholders should never have to ask why you are contacting them. Your messaging should directly relate to a current happening and you should provide the basic context, timeliness of the message, and summarize the goal or objective with clear connections to the core of the message i.e., bill, regulation, hearing, etc.

2. Emotional

After you lay the groundwork with information, effective advocacy messaging will connect to a human emotional appeal. Do you want your advocates to get fired up about a new tax that hurts their pocketbook? Do you want your advocates to feel empathy for flood victims? Do you want your advocates to feel that their rights are being threatened? By leveraging an emotional appeal in your advocacy messaging, you are taking a step to ensure that they do not gloss over the message without considering the personal and societal implications of the policy. The emotional appeal also sets up the action.

3. Actionable

Most advocacy campaigns in the modern era have a goal or objective that is tied to a number of actions or advocate participants. In order to drive those numbers up, your advocacy messaging needs to be actionable. Even in informative messages, there should be a secondary and tertiary way for advocates to remain active and involved with your organization. You may prompt an advocate to sign a petition, write to Congress, or even share with a friend to donate or sign up for an event. Irrespective of the type of action your advocacy messaging should be rooted in a main action and subsequent actions that allow advocates to rise up the “ladders of engagement”. Without an actionable appeal your advocacy messaging runs the risk of being a general update or press release.

4. Segmented

Effective advocacy messaging is always targeted and tailored to a segmented audience. Informational “blasts” aim to reach the greatest number of people while advocacy messages aim to reach the right people that will act upon the information. Audience segmentation can’t be achieved through one message alone and requires patience, testing, and a degree of trial and error. Audience segmentation can be mundane and time consuming, but it is an essential step in crafting effective advocacy messages and will pay large dividends to your overall grassroots/advocacy program.

5. Medium

The medium or method of communication is also a key ingredient in effective messaging. Advocacy professionals should aim to create cross-traffic between different mediums (email, social, web, etc.) and put forth the alert over multiple mediums to increase the chances of activity. The medium also connects with the audience as some organizations and groups of people prefer specific modes of communication. Before you craft a message or consider running an advocacy campaign you should consider all of the different potential mediums including digital and in-person communications methods.

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