How to craft a powerful advocacy message
2021 is shaping up to likely be an election year. Not-for-profits will need to be prepared with their advocacy agenda.
An advocacy message is the core statement you will use to share your mission with the world, it is a crucial component in getting your mission out there and should be crafted strategically with careful consideration. Below are some tips to help you get started.
Define your primary advocacy goal.
You probably have several mission goals that you want to achieve — and that’s ok, it’s good to go big — but it will make your mission easier to digest, and in turn invest in for stakeholders if you have one clear overarching goal. Once you’ve established what your primary goal is, you’ll gain clarity on what message to lead with.
Know your audience.
Get clear on who you are talking to and why. Who will be influential for this cause? Perhaps it’s government officials, community groups, media or lawmakers. Get to know them. What are their values? What media do they consume? How do they live? Understanding your stakeholders allows you to be strategic in your messaging. This stage takes time and patience but your advocacy mission will have a far greater chance of success if the messaging is highly pointed and tailored to your chosen stakeholders.
It’s all in the detail.
Advocacy messages should be informative and provide your audiences with enough information to take action. Be explicit in your reasonings for reaching out, share your vision and objectives and make sure it’s timely, ask yourself, why now? Test whether you have included enough information by sharing your message with friends. Ask them to relay the message in their own words. If you notice the same details being left out, adjust your messaging accordingly and try again.
Once you have all your key information down, create emotional charge for your cause. Connect to your audience through emotion and make your mission hard to forget. Show what it means for them on an individual level, and on a societal level. Speak to injustices but also to hope. Your messaging should leave stakeholders motivated to take action.
Call to action.
Ensure you provide stakeholders with a tangible action to engage them in your mission. If you don’t, you run the risk of passive engagement. If stakeholders are uncertain in how to get involved, they may look elsewhere for action ready missions or feel deflated by your cause. A few examples of call to actions include; templated letter to government, petition, donation, sharing mission and rallying. If you wish to include several actions, it is best to nominate one central action, with subsequent others.
Platforms for communication.
Everyone has a preferred mode of communication. It is important to get your message across a broad spectrum so that it is accessible for all. Consider multiple platforms of communication such as face-to-face, email, online resources, media placement, social media and so on. Think about how your message will translate across each medium and consider adapting it’s delivery to suit different forms.