Three Different Advocacy Approaches Essay

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Advocacy: Three Approaches

Advocacy is often defined as a three-step or three-approach process: informing, influencing, and stimulating policy changes (“An Overview,” 2018). To use a current example, that of gun control, to establish credibility for the advocate, using hard data (such as the number of individuals killed by guns in the United States versus other nations with more stringent controls) can be a powerful first step to arouse interest in the subject. Informing can also be done in a more emotional fashion, however, such as a survivor of a school shooting given a persuasive appeal from personal experience.

Informative strategies are generally designed to win over neutral observers or potentially unfriendly observers. Information can be spread via social media or even personally on a one-to-one basis. An informative approach can be used by anyone in the role of advocate, spanning from individuals directly affected by the change (such as gun violence victims), to politicians communicating with constituents, to ordinary “people on the street” speaking to friends and family members.

Influencing is a more targeted approach. It is designed to specifically enact material changes, not just inform individuals in a partisan fashion. A good example of this is trying to influence voters to vote in a particular manner, in favor of a candidate who is a supporter of the policy.
It can also include lobbying individuals in Congress. Influencing can also be designed to raise awareness for a specific group and gain greater power within the institutions of the political system. For example, a group of student gun control advocates might request to meet with a Congressperson, even if a current vote is not on the floor of the legislature to open up channels of dialogue. Influencing may be directed against either friendly or hostile forces but a key characteristic of this component of advocacy is that it is more persuasive in nature than an informative approach, Influencing is characterized by urgency. It is also more likely to be conducted by the most involved and motivated people, such as members of advocacy groups or individuals with political connections and influence.

Stimulating actual policy changes, however, means using information and the traction gained through influence to research what types of changes are likely to be the most effective and workable within the current political environment and ensure that they are realized. In this particular phase, it is less….....

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An overview of the main approaches to advocacy. (2018). REDF Workshops. Retrieved from:

Three approaches to advocacy. (n.d.) Urban Leaders. Retrieved from: %20Advocacy.pdf

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