Posts tagged ‘Strategic Planning’

Tips for Developing and Honing Your Message

It is no secret that your message can be the lifeblood of your advocacy activities. Once you have decided upon a message, it is imperative that you refine it.

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The process of honing your message involves identifying, developing and refining the most compelling arguments, facts, examples and anecdotes. Take into consideration hot issues and news cycles in order to identify a hook that you can use to interest the media and the public. Ask yourself whether there are any other themes you might make use of, such as holidays or anniversary dates. Where is the story?

Developing a motto or a theme can prove to be extremely helpful. Your message must be interesting to ensure the media will include it. It must also be relevant so that people will remember it. In addition, it must be persuasive for those who do not yet agree with you. Finally, it must be motivational for those who do agree with you in order to keep them on board.

When evaluating your message and honing it, you might consider scoring it to determine whether it meets all of the necessary elements:

Interesting-Does your message tell a story, feature a perspective that is timely or Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelakinteresting or include a conflict? Remember, your message must always have a hook.

Relevant-Ask yourself why the audience should care. How does your issue impact lives?

Persuasive-Why is your position the right position? How is the opposing position weak or wrong?

Motivational-What is it that you expect your audience to do as a result of your message?

Educational-Does your message provide the target audience with the knowledge they need to take the desired action?

Targeted-Will your message be able to make its way to the intended audience?

Carefully consider all of these elements and whether your message meets the goals of those elements. If you find your message is lacking in any of these areas, it is time to go back to the drawing board and continue honing your message until it does meet each and every element.

To learn more about developing an effective advocacy message, consider signing up for TheCapitol.Net’s 2-day Advanced Media Relations Workshop.

Source: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Section 10.14 Media Relations Principle 6: Hone your Message.

For more information about message development and advocacy in Washington, see

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Moving from Strategic Planning to Execution in Your Lobbying Practice

In a scenario that is all too common, an organization conducts an intensive strategic planning session involving a significant amount of resources – then the resulting plan gathers dust.

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During the planning session, everyone is enthusiastic and shares the same vision. You return to the office energized and ready to put the plan into action, but as time goes by and everyone settles into the daily routine, the strategic plan becomes somewhat forgotten. To avoid this, learn how to integrate planning into your overall efforts and learn to use your strategic planning as a compass for your daily activities so that you actually move from planning to execution.

First, you must have member or client input. The foundation for effective planning is formed by determining the concerns and priorities of your members or clients. Focus groups, surveys and member meetings can be used to identify important priorities and issues.

You must also evaluate the political, legislative, regulatory and judicial environments as part of your planning process.

Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna GelakIt can often be a challenge to identify and prioritize your current as well as future issues and yet it is central to your success. By synthesizing the information you gather from your clients or members, you can use those results to develop and update your issues list.

Your action plan should have specific goals for each issue, and incorporate priority ranking. Try to avoid the temptation to develop goals that are exceptionally ambitious, particularly if you have limited resources and staffing. As you go about the process of planning, work to identify issues that are interrelated so you can establish synergy between multiple issues. Assigning specific responsibility for action steps and establishing measurable outcomes and deadlines can help you to move from the planning stage to the execution stage.

Regularly updating your plan is important. Overall, there is often a short shelf life for legislative plans. In the political world, winds can shift quickly, which is why it is important that you be prepared to respond as new issues suddenly emerge in light of national and international events.

Reference: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Section 6.3 Turning Planning into Execution.

For more information about grassroots advocacy in Washington, see

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