What is policy advocacy?
Policy advocacy means to actively engage in a particular issue area. With a focus on a particular policy area, it can be effective as it involves more issue experts given their narrow focus. Policy advocacy utilizes various platforms, such as social media, writing letters and emails to elected officials, calling campaigns, or in-person engagements.
Successful policy advocacy involves a few things. First, one must have a clear audience for their campaign, such as swaying opponents to vote for an upcoming bill or striving for issue champions to introduce new legislation. Then, create an organized content schedule with clear objectives, such as educating new advocates or swaying opponents. Engage your audience on social media or through advocacy platforms by providing meaningful recommendations on how to make a change in policy. Once the audience gathers a network of like-minded individuals to support the cause, it will give the policy momentum. Through legislative tracking of local, state, and federal affairs, one can see how their campaign is being discussed and the progress it has made in the government.
How does policy advocacy relate to public affairs?
Policy advocacy is an important part of public affairs as it allows stakeholders to rally for their ideas to the government, creating a change in the policy area they are interested in. Policy advocacy relies on experts in a specific issue, making them most qualified to take a stand on a particular perspective.
Policy advocacy creates a dialogue between stakeholders and government decision-makers by creating proposals and recommendations to an existing policy that they have an interest in. For example, one can personalize advocacy with a thank and shame campaign where an advocate sends a targeted message to the legislator based on their votes or sponsorship of the legislation. Examples of organizations involved in policy advocacy are Sierra Club and NAMI. Their public affairs team is responsible for building a campaign, drafting content, and creating a network of engaged followers in order to advocate on behalf of the issues their organizations care about.