How to Start an Advocacy Group
There is no denying the fact that opening an advocacy group is a wise idea because it aims at bringing a solution for lots of problems. A group is formed when few individuals join to discuss, explore and find out solutions for a particular cause. In the recent years, there are many renowned organizations that have successfully built up an advocacy group. These groups aim to cater to the requirements of different problems in different ways. It is through participating and discussing that a solid conclusion can be effective and implemented.
In this e-book, we will discuss the various factors that can lead to the formation of an advocacy group, and the different ways in which such a group can be formed. If you take a thorough look into various sections of the book, you will clear and complete ideas about these groups, and policies of these groups, as a whole. These groups can focus on different things ranging from business, personal development, sports, technology and many more. Anyone can start these groups on the basis of an issue or theme and establishing a purpose. While you create a group, it should be appealing to you, as well as others.
About Advocacy Groups
An advocacy group can be known by different names. These are known as lobby groups, pressure groups, interest groups, or even a special interest group. These organizations try to create an influence on the government, but they are not a part of the government, and they do not hold any government power. In any case, these groups make use of various types of policies and advocacies of influencing public opinion. Consequently, they play a great role in decision making or policy formation. Since time immemorial, these groups have played, and they continue to play an important role in the development of the society and economy. In fact, based on the nature of the group, the kind of changes brought might vary. These groups often create an impact on the political, economic and social system.
Variation In Group:
The nature of an advocacy group can vary on the basis of different factors. These are different in terms of size, nature, motivation and influence. There are some groups that are formed with a long term social purpose while there are other that are formed due to a response from an immediate concern or issue. On the basis of the purpose, these groups develop their aims and focuses accordingly.
Different Motives For Actions:
It is important to understand that there can be differences in motives on the basis of which the groups act. These motives can be based on religious, political, commercial or moral issues. Some of the common circumstances that might lead to the formation of a group might include child abuse, homelessness, environmental concerns or even disabilities. These issues might motivate individuals to search an appropriate solution, and it is here that an advocacy group is formed. The group can be rightly formed with 1 or 2 people, or it might include lots of people together.
In order to achieve their aims, the members of the groups make use of different tools. Some of these might include
- Media campaigns,
- Publicity stunts and
- Policy briefings.
The support received by different groups can vary based on their initiative and efforts. There are some groups that receive support from political parties while there are others that receive support from business organizations. On the contrary, there are even few groups that hardly depend on any such forms of support or resources, and they continue their activities with their own efforts.
Future Of The Groups:
It is important to note that not all groups are successful in their efforts of bringing a change in the situation. In fact, history says that some powerful lobby groups have been accused of using excess influence. Some groups have even manipulated the democratic system in order to gain their purposes. Many members of different groups have been found to be guilty of corruption, bribery, fraud and many other serious crimes. On the other hand, there are many groups that have emerged to be successful in influencing the public opinion, and they are operating successfully now.
The combination of both these factors has regulated the policies ingroup making. Lots of strict measures have been applied in order to ensure that only the right candidates are able to form an advocacy group so that they are successful in bringing the change or fulfilling the purpose. Constant research is being done in the field in order to find out how these groups might make use of social media in order to engage people collectively or initiate a collective action.
Approaching With The Idea Of A Group
If you are interested in creating an advocacy group, you will have to plan on it effectively. You will have to approach with the right idea by means of which you can successfully form the group and start the operation.
Identifying The Cause And Reason:
The most important thing that is required in this context is to identify the cause for forming a group. As mentioned, there are several reasons that might initiate a group of individuals to form a self-help group. If you have found an effective issue, you might wonder the reason for which such an issue might require social and public awareness. You will even have to consider the current level of social awareness on that issue on the basis of which it will be easy for you to make your move. Apart from that, you will have to find brainstorming ways through which you can bring necessary changes. Therefore, it is extremely important to be specific about the particular cause, as well as, the objectives that you want to achieve through the creation of the group.
Creating An Outline:
It is not that easy to start with an advocacy group right away. You will have to put lots of efforts in order to start a group. Thus, you will have to create a complete outline of the things that you want to achieve through your organization. There should be ideas of personal and social development, along with the benefits that the group can bring to the society. In addition to that, you will have to think about the benefits of the members of your group, which you need to outline clearly. For instance, if you are looking forward to starting a technology advocacy group, you might want to consider various free training benefits and exploration of several new products. On the other hand, you might be interested in forming a bicycle club to increase participation and expand the choices of rides.
You should take adequate time in defining your objectives and setting your goals so that it is easy for the other members and the society to understand, as a whole. This will surely help you in achieving success in your mission.
Start Your Research:
In order to explore your ideas, and get access to it, you need to start your research. Moreover, you should also conduct a search in order to find out whether such a similar group exists in the society and more specifically in your geographical location. The chances of a group already existing with a similar idea will be more. However, there is nothing to bother. You can acquire contact details of such groups in order to get in touch with them. Remember, you are launching the group for a social cause. Therefore, the question of competition does not come into play.
On the contrary, if you can contact with the existing organization, it will be easier for you to get in touch with them, and acquire better ideas from them. You can speak with the administrators of the groups in order to find out whether they are already performing the work that you are planning to conduct. The objectives might be the same, but the approach might be different. If you want, you might even join their efforts, and try to fulfill an objective not met by the existing organization.
Establish A Purpose:
It is extremely important to establish a purpose for your group. You will have to discuss with the other members in the group in order to fix the priority targets and objectives for your group. In addition to that, you should be able to identify different opportunities for the people you are planning to help. Jot down different discussion topics, along with marketing programs, events and other activities that you will conduct in order to create a great influence on public opinion and society, as a whole.
Following this, you should learn how to translate these ideas and purposes into a statement. This will help your group to stand apart from other similar groups in society. As you visit other similar group, you should try to follow their paths. You should check out the meeting rooms, the events they hold and the advertising campaigns they follow. If possible, you can even talk to the members of the groups to know more about them. This can slightly ease your effort in forming your group, and moving on the right path.
Start With Actions
Once you have identified the causes, reasons and objectives, you must be clear about the paths that you will follow. You might have thought about the goals that you need to achieve in order to fulfill your mission. Following these things, it is time to start your action. There are again several steps that you will have to follow in the entire process in order to ensure that you are successful in building your advocacy group, and carry out your approaches.
In order to make your group started, you might have to allot different positions of different members in the group. This will prevent the possibility of any hassle or confusion in the future. You might choose temporary officers that might often act as a temporary board of directors. Based on the nature of your group, you should make a treasurer, a president and a secretary. They will be responsible for different tasks. The election might also be carried out regularly in order to shuffle positions. However, you should be careful in allotting different designations to different members of your group. A person with highest leadership skills in your group should be made a part of your organization. Each member should be well aware of the role they need to play under their respective positions. The contribution of all the members in the group can bring effective success for your group, and you will be able to fulfill your aims.
Finding Fellow Supporters:
As you are looking forward to starting an advocacy group, apart from the members of your group, you will find several fellow supporters. These supporters will not only support your mission, but also will help you in many other ways. In this context, you can speak about your idea to your fellow colleagues, social networking friends and even community leaders. They will definitely help you in organizing different types of events and activities associated with your group. You can even find some supporters who will be ready to market your group in order to make people aware and enhance the interests and consciousness among large numbers of people.
Get In Touch With Interested Candidates:
It is rightly your duty to get in touch with people and candidates that might be interested about the cause of your group. For instance, if you are planning to launch a bicycle club, you can reach out to parents that are adequate interested in making their children get better opportunities. On the other hand, if you want to improve the nutrition in lunches in schools, you can reach out to parents that might want the same for their kids. If you want to do something for the disabled, you can reach out to those influential people who are suffering from similar conditions. This can make your group get some recognition and fame. Consequently, it might be easy, as a whole to complete your mission.
Conducting Meetings Regularly:
Meetings are important parts of any group. In order to ensure that all the members of the group are moving on the right track and the next step to be taken meetings are essential. You should decide on a particular date when want to schedule your meetings. In addition to that, you might want to hold meetings with different people. In this context, you will have to look for different venues at different times. There are community centers, libraries, church and big halls where you might carry out your meetings. You might want to get in touch with the representatives of these venues in order to ensure that you can conduct meetings in these venues either for free or at a minimal price. After all, you are a small group, and your funds are limited. You will want to utilize your fund for the best purpose.
It is important to schedule your meeting regularly within the members of the group. This, in turn, will help you to carry out effective discussions about the progress and development of the group. This is a great way to socialize, and if the need arises, you can even introduce new members to the group. This will promote a sense of continuity between the events and the actual actions. Early meetings can be organizational in nature, and you can decide on the schedules of events, campaigns and other necessary actions. Once the structure of the group has been established, you can even start meetings that are enjoyable and informative. This will ensure that all the members are a part of the meeting every time. This will also attract new members, and will provide a great service to the existing members.
Scheduling A Convenient Time:
While conducting the meeting, you should look forward to maximizing attendance. This is the reason why you should select a convenient date and convenient location. Make sure that there are no obstacles, and there are ample scopes for parking. The time should also be convenient, and therefore you should take into account the schedules of your attendees to fix the time. For instance, if you are targeting mothers of young children, you can schedule meetings during the school hours. On the other hand, if you are targeting busy office going people, you can choose a public holiday or Sunday for conducting the meeting. This will help you to get a greater level of responses.
Advertising Your Group
It is extremely important to advertise your group as well if you want to make larger numbers of people aware of the existence of your group, and the cause of formation of your group. There are of course several methods that you can find out in order to advertise your group, and make sure that greater numbers of people are supporting the cause of the group. This, in turn, will enable you to get a greater level of support due to which achieving your mission will be comparatively easy. It is rightly up to you to decide the nature of advertisements you will adopt to influence people.
Create Attractive Flyers:
Making use of flyers is one of the common ways of advertising. With a small budget, you can definitely think of making use of flyers in order to attract the attention of larger numbers of people. You will have to target an interested group of people first. Following this, you need to make sure that the flyers come to their notice. You can design and create flyers on your own without the need of any professional. You might make use of advertising and designing tools to start your advertising campaign with flyers.
Talk To Small Business Owners:
You can talk to small business owners about your ideas and aims in the advocacy group. Following this, you might ask them whether they will let you advertise in their establishments in order to make people aware of the offerings or missions of your group. Some business organizations might support you and promote the cause, thereby letting you advertise with them absolutely for free.
Visit The Chamber Of Commerce:
Once you are successful in your mission of advertising with the small business owners, you might want to visit the Chamber of commerce, and earn their support. You might talk about your group, and the main mission of your group promoting a social cause. Here, you can get the opportunity to talk to several business owners who might be willing to help you in different ways. Apart from advertising and promoting your group, they might help you with adequate financial support, something which is most valuable for your group.
Today, the social networking sites play a great role in enhancing the visibility of any group or organizations. As you build your group, it is time to participate in different social networking platforms. You can tell your friends about the group, and the cause of forming the group. Following this, you can ask your friends to spread the awareness of this group among their friends. If all the members carry out social networking in such an effective manner, you will definitely be successful. Larger numbers of people will become aware of your group, and its missions, and they will lend their support in different ways possible. This can definitely turn out to be the key element in your success.
Talk To Friends:
Your friends know you not only due to the group you have created, but also because you were associated with them for a long time. They will easily understand the cause for forming the group, and the efforts that you are trying to make in order to bring significant changes. Therefore, irrespective of the fact that they join your group or not they will promote the group on your behalf. They will spread a word of mouth about your group, and the reason for the existence of such a group. Consequently, it will be easy for many more people to become aware of the presence of your group. People you do not know might also show interest in your group, and they might join your group, as well. This is applicable in the case of business associates. If you ask them, they might become members in your group, and spread awareness about your group. This can certainly turn out to be a great advertising tool through which you can enhance the presence of your group.
Arranging Small Events:
In order to make others aware of the presence of your group, you will have to take the initiative in arranging small events. These events can include the target people of your group for whom you are looking forward to bringing a change. For instance, if you are concerned about the welfare of children or disabled, you can make them participate in your event. You can offer helping hands of support to them in different ways so that others are aware of the cause and objectives of your group.
Even if, you have a small group, you can start marketing online. In today’s date, the internet is one of the best sources of marketing your group. In fact, you can adopt a mix of direct and online marketing in order to reach out to your target audience. Apart from social networking, you can write effective contents and ads to publish them in various websites. This will definitely attract the attention of your target audience, and make them aware of the presence of your group. If they are interested, they might even spread the awareness among others.
These are some of the most effective and valuable ways through which you can start advertising about your group. In the course of time, you will definitely find many other useful tools and materials to promote your group, and earn bigger reputation.
Increasing The Membership In Your Group
Only creating an advocacy group is not sufficient. You will have to take adequate measures in order to ensure that large numbers of people join your group. This will strengthen your cause, and together you will be able to achieve your mission. However, it is not that easy to increase the membership. In addition to that, you should also make sure that each of the members is significant, and they have an important role to play in strengthening the cause and mission of your group. Thus, you need to take steps carefully.
Prepare Thoroughly Developed Information Materials:
When you are conducting public meetings and events, you should plan out the event in advance. In addition to that, you should prepare informational materials about your group and its mission so that you are able to distribute to the attendees at the event and meetings. If you have a written description about the mission and vision of your group, it will definitely make people better understand your group. This will also contribute in increasing the knowledge about your group. There are some important things that you can do in this context.
- You can find out the contact details of different people who might be interested in your group.
- You can build your own website for your advocacy group, and email several newsletters and information to the interested members of the group.
Offer a Free Workshop:
In an effort to increase the numbers of people in your group, you can offer a free workshop for different candidates. This can be valuable not only for those for whom you are planning to bring a change, but also for those who might be interested about the cause of your group. If your group is concerned about biking or about technology, you can offer free training that can enhance the interests of large numbers of people. Consequently, they will join your group in larger numbers. You can even offer a free workshop for personal development that you have prepared through your organization.
Using A Marketing Mix:
You will constantly have to market your group. At different times, you will have to adopt different measures of marketing. In some situations, you might have to adopt a marketing mix strategy where you will use both direct and online marketing. This will contribute to increasing the reputation of your group due to which more and more people will be interested in joining your group. When you have successfully developed a larger group, you will be able to create an influence in a better and efficient way.
Attend Conferences And Events:
As you have started an advocacy group, you will come across many conferences and events. You should try to participate in these meetings, events and conferences in order to meet large numbers of people. When you meet people, you get the opportunity to talk about your group, and its primary vision. You never know, you might be successful in attracting the interests of different people in the events or conferences, and they might readily join your group. Moreover, if you get the opportunity to participate in any like-minded organization, you should try to speak about your group in those events. This is also one of the biggest opportunities for you to announce about the date and venue of your meetings and events. You can invite people to attend and join your event, as well.
Some Other Ideas:
There are some other ideas that you can try in order to attract new members into your group.
- You can plan interesting and informative programs.
- You can publicize the meetings with press releases made by the local newspapers, and TV channels along with your own website and newsletter.
- You can keep some prizes, something donated by a local sponsor of your group.
- Make sure that the programs involve members in large ways and make people aware of how they can be more involved with your group.
- You can even plan a social meeting at a local restaurant.
These are some of the things that can definitely help you to get results in terms of your group.
Developing Member Retention Strategies
A group is not only about increasing numbers of members in a group and plan out for solidifying the mission. It is also about retaining the existing members in your group. There can be different views among different members, but there should be someone to reach out a particular conclusion regarding the views. Moreover, there should not be any conflict between the existing members of the group that can make a member leave the group. You should make every possible effort to refrain from practicing illegal and unethical means. This will help you to achieve complete success in the long run.
Following Simple Elements:
Now that you know about the different ways of attracting members in your advocacy group, it is time to know about the different factors that can help in maintaining the current members. There are some simple elements that you can follow in order to ensure that you are successful in the membership campaign.
- You should have a positive attitude towards achieving your aims,
- You should find a systematic way to find out the motivating factors of your donors to give your funds for the cause of your group,
- Maintain a reasonable budget,
- Make sure that you listen to the views of each member before reaching any conclusion,
- Offer a letter that reminds members of their benefits as being a part of your group,
- Each member should feel that it is their own group, and they should effectively fight for the cause.
This will ensure that each member in your team concerns about the cause, and they will contribute adequate efforts to help in the successful development of the group. Only in such a case, you will be successful in achieving your mission, and bring the necessary changes that you aim to bring through your group.
There is no denying the fact that when you look forward to starting an advocacy group, the most important thing that you will have to think about is adequate fund. It is an obvious fact that without enough funds, you will not be able to move your organization in the right track for a long term. The only contribution from a few members of the group will not be sufficient enough for funding. You will have to look out for other funding options so that you do not experience any difficulty in achieving your mission of bringing a significant change.
Donating Money To A Group:
There are several reasons for which individuals or organizations might donate money to a group. As a group founder, it is important for you to find out the cause through which it will be easy for you to get access to the donor. It is obvious that you will make the best efforts in order to bring maximum funds for your group. Some of the common reasons for which people donate include:
- They love to donate to different causes,
- Gives for a social cause,
- Believes in the accuracy of the cause,
- Admires the group or the organizer of the group,
- Knows that the money will be genuinely used.
On the basis of these factors, you should start your research, and look for effective donors that can donate generously for promoting the cause in your group. It is rightly up to you to explore various options of funding.
Government Funding Options:
If you have formed a group for a social or political cause, there are chances that you can get some government funds. In this context, you can talk to political leaders or members of non-profit organizers in order to manage some funds for your group. You can even talk to people holding higher positions in the government to arrange some essential funds for your group. It is true that you will not be able to accumulate funds in one single day. You will have to make lots of efforts in order to get funding, and make sure that these are continuous sources.
Private Funding Options:
Apart from government funds, you can look out for private funds, as well. There are several sources of private funds. You will have to research well so that you know about the availability of different options. You can contact different private funding agencies in order to acquire funds, or some fund raising ideas from them. This can surely help you in acquiring good amounts of funds.
Talk To Big And Small Business Owners:
It is important to know that both small and big business owners are often ready to contribute money for the cause that you are trying to promote. If you are able to make sure that your cause is indeed genuine, these business owners will not think twice before donating funds for your group. In fact, if these business owners join your group, they can become continuous sources of funds. You can even look for corporate sponsorship by means of which you can manage enough funds for your group.
Ask Your Friends And Associates:
You should try and ask your friends and associates to donate a significant amount of money for your group. They are well aware of the cause, objective and mission of your group. Therefore, they will be able to understand the genuineness of the cause. If the need arises, they might even ask their friends and associates to do the same for your general social welfare cause.
Conducting Donating Programs:
There is another significant way through which you will be able to acquire adequate funds for your group. You can conduct donating programs. These programs can be attended by large numbers of people. Make sure that you promote the cause for which you are looking for funds. In addition to that, it should make people believe that the cause is genuine, so that they can contribute a significant amount to your group. Apart from members, people who are interested in your cause, and want you to bring a rapid change might donate generously to your group.
In addition to that, you might think of acquiring grants from different foundations. Other similar organizations that are working on similar lines might be interested in donating funds, even if, for one time. You can join a friend’s campaign in an effort to accumulate sufficient funds for your organization. This can help you to start your campaign, and move ahead with the right purpose and objective in mind. Make sure that the members in your group are well aware of the different areas where the fund is being spent. This will always keep a clear idea and will prevent any form of conflicts between them. It is always better to stay away from corrupt members because they can ruin your motivation and harm your group, as a whole.
Once you are quite sure about the sources of funds, and start collecting money, you can set up your plans and make your move to achieve your objectives. If you are able to bring some changes visible to the public, larger numbers of people will come forward to donating in your group in order to promote the cause.
Make A Non-Profit Group:
While you are acquiring funds for your group, you should try to make it a non-profitable group. The members of your group will join for the issues they care about. This will qualify your group for a non-profit organization. In such a context, the members of your group can donate money for operations, and the money will be tax-deductible. This can be one of the major ways through which you can initiate larger numbers of people in contributing to the funds of your group and get rid of huge taxes.
Expanding Your Reach
In order to acquire success for your group, you will have to carry out activities on a broader level. Initially, you might start with a small group with a focus on small activities. However, now as you expand your group, you will have to aim at creating a greater public influence for effective public opinions and decisions. The range of activities also needs to be immense, so that people far and wide can know about the influence of your group. There are several ways through which you can look forward to expanding your reach.
Sponsoring Different Conferences:
As you become a member of a prominent group, you will have to think about sponsoring different events and conferences. In fact, organizing a day-long event can be wise on your part in order to extend your reach and enhance the influence of your group. This will not only help you to create a social influence, but also a political influence. One of the most important things that you should never forget is to create a prominent rapport with these highly influential members of the society. They will promote the cause, and help you in a better way to bring an effective change at the earliest.
Spread Word On The Event:
It is not possible for others to know about the event that you are planning to organize. Therefore, you should ask the supporters of your group to spread the word about the event and conference. If possible, you can create various kinds of fliers for the members of your group. These flyers can be distributed around the town. You can even collect the email address of interested people, and email them about the event.
Invite Prominent People:
One of the important tasks to expand your reach is to invite prominent people of the society into your event. For instance, you can invite legislators and speakers to attend your event and create a long term influence on your group. If these people are well aware of the cause of your group, they can offer information and inspiration about the cause. Consequently, it can encourage the other attendees to be a part of your greater social cause and bring an effective change. Along with motivating others, it will even create awareness in a broader scale. You can even invite the local political representatives to be a part of your event.
You might not realize now, but in the course of time, you will definitely realize the long term impact it will create your group. The effects will be long term due to which you will be motivated to strengthen your cause, and promote the welfare of the general public, as a whole. Thus, this is something that you should never overlook.
Enhancing Your Communication:
As a founder of the advocacy group, you should never forget that it is ultimately through effective communication that you will continue enhancing the influence of your group in the society. You will have to stay in touch with each of the members of your group. Additionally, you will have to reach out to larger numbers of people in order to influence people and public opinion. An enhanced form of communication can also offer a continuous supply of funds essential for the smooth operation of your group. Keeping in touch with people will ensure the health and future growth of your organization. Here are some easy and important ways through which you can reach your audience.
Efforts Of External Factors:
The external factors play a great role in enhancing the level of your communication beneficial for the successful growth of your advocacy group. You should establish a website with complete details about the group, and objectives and aims of the group. You should also include details on activities, events, memberships and goals. This is one of the best ways through which you can reach out to larger numbers of people. There will be more young members in your group, and they will actively help you and support you to bring the necessary changes into the society.
In addition to that, you should make it a point to update your website on a regular basis. Apart from that, you should give adequate importance to different social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google + to help people know about your activities. If possible, you should publish press releases and distribute them to local media, community centers and businesses. You should also try to carry brochures of membership with you so that you can distribute them to people, as and when you find any opportunity. This can surely help you to be successful in your mission, and you will be able to spread your influence on a broader level.
Contribution Of Internal Factors:
There is no denying the fact that the internal factors play an equally important role like the external factors in enhancing the influence of your group in different places. You can make use of your website to communicate with your current and prospective members. You can easily disseminate information about meetings, events, campaigns, activities, training, education, advocacy issues and other important details on this procedure. This will help in building a good sense of community within the group. You can ask members to share experiences while conducting different activities associated with the group. If possible, you can even upload photos and videos of different activities in progress. This can give others an idea of the tasks that you are doing and the efforts you are making in fulfilling your purposes and objectives.
Organizing Events And Volunteers
There are many people who join a new advocacy group in order to support the cause and strengthen the activity associated with the cause. In addition to that, there are others that join the group in an effort to learn lots of new things that they have never experienced before. If you carry out meetings and events on a regular basis, it will help people to understand the validity of the point that you want to reflect through your group. Consequently, with a minimum scheduling confusion, it will be easy for you to accomplish the goals of your group. Make sure that the schedules of the events are properly publicized in your website or in your newsletter. You can again make use of different advertising tools in order to attract the interest of non-members.
There is no denying the fact that the volunteers are often at the heart of organizing and promoting an entire event. It is they that ensure smoothness and effectiveness of the event. Right from making necessary arrangements for managing the guests at your event, they will look after all the requirements for a smooth and effective event. Make sure that you select the ideal members of your group to make volunteers so that they are able to deliver their roles effectively. These members should be well aware of the goals of your group, and they should always make the best efforts to ensure that these goals are accomplished in every possible way. You can conduct a volunteer program for this purpose in order to select the most suitable members as volunteers. This will help you get an idea about the nature of the task they will deliver in terms of activities required for fulfilling the mission of your group.
Sustaining, And Growing Your Advocacy Group
Only forming a group or expanding a group is not sufficient. You will have to make adequate efforts in order to ensure that the advocacy group can grow and sustain well. This will be beneficial for the long term growth and success of your group. There are of course several important things that you will have to do in an effort to enhance the sustenance.
Defining Your Purpose:
Yes, you had defined the purpose of your group right before the formation of the group. However, you need to do the same at regular intervals. This will ensure that you and your group members do not move out of track. Moreover, as you move ahead, you might explore and discover several areas that need to be addressed equally. In such a context, the purpose of your group might change or increase. You will have to find out the issues that your group wants to tackle and solve, and the different things to do in order to get the work done. As a result, the most important things that you will require include:
- A clear mission statement,
- A strong and competent leader,
- Proper commitment to fundraising.
Choosing The Right Issue:
You might be happy to work with the current issue that you have selected. However, in order to achieve long term success, you will even have to consider the potential resources that can be harnessed to meet your needs the feasibility of achieving success, the efforts that you have given on the issue till date, efforts given by other groups in the past, the political and social environment in which you will work, the pitfalls of pursuing different goals, and the costs involved in taking up such an issue.
Considering The Needs Of The Community:
By focusing on a particular issue, you might want to address the needs of a particular community and want to create effective changes in the community. In such a case, it will be wise to make a thorough assessment of the needs of the community. You can even follow a model community in an effort to assess the things that your group has to do in order to realize the characteristics and features of the model.
You might have to work in different kinds of environment in an effort to succeed. It is better to educate yourself about the type of environment under which you will have to work. Working in a political environment is not that easy, and you should acquire an appreciation for constraints. In addition to that, you should also educate yourself about the budget environment. On the other hand, if the issue is legal, you will have to be prepared in a different way. Before meeting with the officials, you should show that you have done your part by answering all the questions. Make sure that you exhaust the existing opportunities fully before you further ask for new opportunities. If you think that the existing programs are not working, you should make suggestions in order to improve the condition instead of just complaining that the program does not work. This will help.
You should not forget to consider the potential pitfalls before taking up an issue. If you consider the possible ramifications, it will be easy for you to get an idea whether there are any chances of adverse reactions in the group and also in the community for which you are working.
Important Tips And Warning
Now that you know that there are different people starting an advocacy group with different aims and objectives, you can also think of the same. You should be specific in your objective, and should have a strong cause that can help you to achieve success in the near future. As a beginner, there are chances for you to make maximum mistakes. Therefore, you should always make the best efforts to ensure that you are able to minimize the risks and avoid errors to a great extent. Take a look at a few of these important things:
- You should never miss out the opportunity to participate in meetings where the chances of meeting new people with different thoughts and ideas are more. As you get to know and interact with different kinds of people, you will increase the chance of broadening your views on the issue of your group. In addition to that, you will also enhance the chance of attracting potential members into your group.
- You should never advertise the group unless you have a solid outline. Remember to be clear in your mission, vision and goals on the basis of which you will inform people about the objective of your group.
- While you are making any communication material, you should always develop a focal point. This is applicable for all the materials, including brochures, meetings and calls to any business organization.
Building an advocacy group for the benefit of a particular community or the society, as a whole is a great idea, but it is not easy to form the group. Even if, you form the group, you will have to make efforts to stick to your goals, and achieve long term success. Therefore, you will have to develop several strategies right from the beginning in order to ensure that your efforts are recognized, and you acquire success. There are different kinds of strategies that you will have to carry out right from the beginning till the end.
You should formulate the mission statement of your advocacy group considering both the short term and long term effects and benefits. You can focus on a single issue or multiple issues at the same time. Some of these issues might be related to education, health, government relations. You should define the ways of accomplishing the goals and the beneficiaries of your work. Thus, you should develop the strategy in such a way so that it is easy for you to achieve your mission. Make sure that you stick to your goals and strategy so that you can derive success out of it.