Formulating Objectives

After researching your concern, you will be able to define clear objectives for your advocacy work. Your research will help you choose both your direction and targets.

  • Direction: Your direction is the concern you decide to focus on. There are many different issues, so your research will help you narrow down your interests.
  • Targets: After you have a clear direction, the next step involves making short-term and long-term goals (or targets). Formulating these targets is an important early step. This will bring meaning and consistency for you and your group.

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Calling Your MP

A quick phone call to your Member of Parliament’s office can be more effective than writing a letter in some cases.  As a constituent, you may be able to speak to your MP directly (rather than speaking with their staff).  One phone call can be more effective and memorable for an MP if you show that have some knowledge about the issue, that you respect their time, and that this issue is important to their constituents.

Speaking to a member of the MP’s staff can also be very effective. They will have the time to hear your position and they will be able to relay your concerns to the MP.

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Meeting With Your MP

Your Member of Parliament is more accessible than you think.  If you are passionate about an issue, respectful of the MP’s time, and willing to take the time for a meeting, your MP will likely be willing to meet with you.

Step 1 – Setting up a meeting

  • Call, email, or visit the constituency office to set up a meeting with an MP.  Provide your name, your postal code, and the reason that you would like to meet with the MP. 
  • If the MP is unavailable for a meeting, request a meeting with a member of their staff.  MP staff have more time to meet with you and they can bring your particular concerns to the MP.

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Demonstration / march

Organizing a Demonstration

Demonstrations can be an effective visible statement of support for a cause. They can increase public awareness or public support for the issue, and they can send a clear and strong message to decision makers.

Before the Demonstration

  • Advertise to any organizations and individuals that would be

    interested in participating to ensure that there will be a large turnout.

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Public meeting

Organizing a Public Meeting

A public meeting can help you to gain support for your cause by educating other members of your community.  It can also catch the attention of the media and decision-makers.  It is a forum for interaction, for discussion of alternative viewpoints, and can provide an opportunity to question a public official. 

You can structure the meeting in various ways. The format is up to you and depends on who will be there and what you will discuss. Here are some ideas:

  • Roundtable discussion: involves a group of people discussing a specific topic. Those included in the discussion agree that each person has an equal right to participate.
  • Town hall meeting:  an informal meeting for those in a specific community to voice opinions and ask questions to public figures.
  • Debates: focused on two sides of a particular issue. Each group takes a position and they explain why they are correct about this issue. This can be useful for understand different perspectives. 

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TV interview

Working with the Media

Working with the media is an important component to any advocacy strategy.  It can increase public awareness and can also catch the attention of elected officials.   You may find yourself engaging with the media through writing press releases and letters to the editor, or by offering information to a journalist.  The media may also contact you for an interview.  It’s important to know how to approach the media and how to get your voice heard through newspapers, television, and the radio.

Approaching the media

  • You should approach newspapers first because TV and radio journalists often get their stories from the newspaper.  They are also able to go more in-depth on a topic.

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Writing a Press Release


A press release provides information to various sectors of the media concerning a newsworthy topic or event.  It is a great way to get information to the public.  It should be short and should catch the attention of the news editor.  You can send it by email, mail, or fax.

Writing a Press Release

  • HEADLINE: Begin with an eye-catching headline.  Keep it short and to the point.  You can include a subhead too, which expands on your headline in a few more words.

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Choosing Tactics

Figuring out what to do about a particular issue can be the most challenging—and important—part of a campaign. The most effective advocacy strategy uses a diversity of methods—or tactics. The tactics you choose will depend on the issue and the political context.  The following chart will help you decide your tactics for action.

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Woman At Work Taking Notes

Writing a One-Page Brief

See a sample letter (WORD | PDF)

A one-page brief is a useful tool to communicate your message to MPs, the media, and others.  The one-page brief summarizes the problem, the background information, and the solutions that you propose.  This is a good resource to bring to a meeting with an MP, to give to the media (for instance, if you are holding a media-covered event), or for anyone who is interested in learning about your issue. 

A one-page brief is particularly helpful if you are working with others on the issue.  Having key ideas summarized in one page will help to maintain consistency within your group or organization.  If one page is not enough to cover the essentials, it may spill over to a second page.  Anything longer than two pages will probably not be read in full.

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Meeting with civil servants

Meeting with civil servants

Civil servants are an important part of the policy process.  They play a key role in preparing options beforehand. Once legislation is passed, it is up to the appropriate department to implement these changes.  

There are several reasons to contact a civil servant.  The department may delay the implementation of important legislation.  You may also have concerns about the way in which the legislation is implemented.  In these cases, it may be helpful to contact a civil servant who can put the legislation into action in the desired way.

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