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Research & Policy

The elements of a successful public interest advocacy campaign
Advocacy Institute

This guide analyzes the components of an effective advocacy campaign and illustrates how to use them with examples from previous public interest campaigns, including those on smoking, alcohol, and other health issues. Successful campaigns develop and maintain effective networks and coalitions. They attract the attention of the media and the public by innovatively framing issues based on careful research and analysis. The advocates nurture grassroots supporters and encourage their communication and participation. Advocacy campaigns typically operate with few financial or political resources, and rely on values, moral arguments, and enthusiasm. Challenges include building and maintaining sufficient public support to push an issue into the policy arena, and blending advocacy plans and techniques into a cohesive, convincing policy campaign. Leaders who can communicate, consult, implement, and manage achievable advocacy goals while keeping a long-term vision, are a key part of a successful campaign.

Advocacy Institute
1707 L Street, NW
4th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 659-8475
Fax: (202) 659-8484
(1990, 46 pp.; $7.50 + $3p/h)


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Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.