Strategic Communications + Social Media
= Successful Advocacy
I am a passionate, committed and motivated advocate to issues in which I believe.
Advocacy means to speak up, to plead the case of another or to fight for a cause.
What ensures successful advocacy?
Strategic communications is the key to advocacy.
And, advocacy includes most of the work that is done by nonprofits!
When your nonprofits advocates you are seeking to affect some aspect of society,
whether to appeal to individuals about their behavior, employers about their rules,
or the government about its laws.
Good advocates are passionate, committed and motivated.
Who are your advocates?
• Your staff
• Your board
• Your volunteers
• Your constituents
• Others with like interests (a coalition)
“Never be afraid to raise
your voice for honesty and truth
and compassion against injustice
and lying and greed.
If people all over the world…
would do this, it would change
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Advocates
(with apologies to Stephen Covey)
1. Be Proactive – Change starts from within and highly effective people chose to improve
their lives through things they can influence.
2. Begin with the End in Mind – Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement
and extend into long term goals.
3. Put First Things First – Identify key roles you take on in life and make time for each
4. Think Win/Win – Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial
5. Seek First to Understand the other person and then seek to be understood
6. Synergize – Through trustful communications find ways to leverage individual
differences to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts
7. Sharpen the Saw – Take time to build capacity through personal renewal of your
physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual dimensions.
Reduced to its most basic level, effective nonprofit advocacy is about communication
Creating & Implementing Advocacy Communications
Communication Matters created a model designed to help communication practitioners and
their colleagues working in other disciplines (program, evaluation, and executive leaders)
build a common language and shared understanding for the role that strategic
communication plays in advancing lasting social change.
This communications model is built around four central pillars: brand, culture, strategy,
1. Brand – Every social change organization, no matter its size or purpose, has three key
assets that shape its identity: resources, reputation and relationships.
2. Culture – Communicating organizations cultivate certain qualities that make their work
compelling to others. You may not have all in equal measure, but you need a minimum
supply of each to succeed.
3. Strategy – Successful organizations are consistently strategic (deliberate and
intentional) about their communication choices, weighing several distinct, yet related,
variables before they act.
4. Action – Communicating should never be a one way activity. Success demands a
continuous, virtuous, self-correcting cycle of sending and receiving, plus the ability to
Strategic communications is the key to advocacy – just honor the process. Your campaigns
will be stronger. And your nonprofit will create and run incredibly successful social change
9 STEPS TO ADVOCACY STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS:
1. Create clear goals
2. Target audiences
3. Utilize concise messages that resonate
4. Develop good planning skills
5. Tell people what to do
6. Make a case for why action is needed now
7. Match strategies and tactics with audience
8. Budget for success
9. Rely on experts when needed
6 STEPS TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ADVOCACY:
1. Set your goals. Is your goal narrow (publicizing an event) or broad (building and
engaging with a community or coalition)?
2. Identify your target audiences.
3. Select the social media platforms you plan to use. Make your choice based on your
goals and target audiences. The most well-known are Facebook and Twitter.
4. Gather resources and materials to create content and share.
5. Find volunteers to help manage social platforms.
6. Be sure and integrate into your marketing communications plan.
For a more in-depth understanding of advocacy and strategic communications
• Writing a Communications Strategy for Development Programmes
• Now Hear This: The Nine Laws of Advocacy Communications
• How to Use Social Media for Advocacy
Enjoy these extra resources on strategic communications!
• Social Media Tips, Tricks and Best Practices from the Pros
• Creating a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan
• Using The Post Method to Guide Nonprofit Marketing Communications
We’d love to hear how your nonprofit uses strategic communications and advocacy!
– – –
Deborah Spector, an NPO Connect Content Expert, is president of Creative Solutions & Innovations,
an independent consulting firm that empowers nonprofits to do good! Deborah specializes in
strategic marketing communications and special event management. Stay connected – www.creative-
si.com/blog. Follow me on Twitter @CreativeSI.