Basic Advocacy

“As Canadians living in a democracy, we elect officials at the municipal, provincial, and federal level to whom we entrust the leadership of our communities. These officials are responsible to the public, just as the public is responsible for communicating their views to their officials. Our views have the potential to influence policy – plans of action developed to guide decision making. Communicating with government ensures that your issue is considered and understood.” Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists, 2007

-- Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists, SCAA Public Awareness Toolkit, 2007

Anticipatory advocacy is ongoing outreach and the development of relationships to promote positives

  • Stand for the Arts is a national initiative to raise awareness, protect access, and encourage action on behalf of the arts. "we can't afford to live in a world without art."

Reactive advocacy responds to a specific event or need:

  • In 1999, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced he would auction off 198 community gardens in a massive giveaway to corporate developers. Community members organized a “festival of resistance” or a carnival-protest to "reclaim the streets and turn them into gardens."

Crisis advocacy is when there is a need for immediate action:

  • In November 2003, the Regina Public Library Board announced the closure of three community libraries, plus the Prairie History Room and the Dunlop Art Gallery. Friends of the Regina Public Library was formed to galvanize Regina residents to keep these facilities open. For more information.

What is your ISSUE?

  • What do you want?
  • What are you are resolving?

Identify a top priority issue – one that:

  • Is specific
  • Is winnable and measurable
  • Brings real change to peoples’ lives

Put a human face on the issues involved.

Example: The Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) wanted to see a charge paid by billboard advertisers through an annual license fee. Revenue would be dedicated to bylaw enforcement and art in the public sphere. A priority would be placed on funding marginalized communities and youth art and distributed through arms-length or peer jury processes.

Specific objectives of the BCBF include:

  • Urban beautification & employment for artists
  • More funding for tracking & policing billboard advertisers
  • Helping move Toronto towards a pedestrian focused aesthetic
  • Promoting community ownership of public spaces
  • Diversifying access to public communication

What is your GOAL?

Is it winnable and measurable (in long-, medium-, or short-term)?
Can it bring real change to peoples’ lives?

Focus on long-term, intermediate, and short-term goals.

  • Long-term goals: overall objectives
  • Intermediate goals: victories that might be accomplished midway through the campaign that could lead to achieving long-term goals (example).
  • Short-term goals are smaller steps to achieve intermediate goals (AKA: tactics)

Goals should be concrete and winnable – each building on each other and creating wins.