Sabtu, 13 Maret 2010

Handbook series for
community-based organisations
Yvette Geyer
This publication was made possible through support provided by
the Office of Democracy and Governance, Bureau for South
Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development, under the
terms of Award No. 674-A-00-03-00015-02. The opinions
expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International
© IDASA 2006
ISBN 1-920118-17-9
Published by the Institute for Democracy in
South Africa (IDASA)
Cnr Prinsloo and Visagie Streets
P.O Box 56950
Arcadia 0007
South Africa
Editing: Jo Tyler
Design: Valerie Phipps-Smith
Cover design: Jo Tyler
Bound and printed by Top Copy, Claremont, Cape Town
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, without prior permission from the publishers.
1. Introduction 1
2. Advocacy 1
3. Lobbying 2
4. Communication 4
4.1 Understanding communication 4
4.2 Steps in the communication process 5
5. Running a campaign 5
5.1 Define your issue 6
5.2 Understand your issue 6
5.3 Define a campaign objective 7
5.4 Choosing advocacy and lobbying strategies 8
5.5 Who are all the players and stakeholders? 10
5.6 Planning the campaign 12
5.7 Managing the campaign 13
5.8 Communicating the campaign 13
5.9 Acknowledging contributors 15
5.10 Evaluating the campaign 16
6. The TAC example 16
7. The RAPCAN example 17
8. Conclusion 20
9. References 21
1. Introduction
In a democratic society there are many different groups
which might have competing interests. You need to make
your voice heard and get your viewpoint across to achieve
your vision. The formal terminology for this process is
advocacy, lobbying and communication.
To do this most effectively, tools are available to
community-based organisations (CBOs). Advocacy,
lobbying and communication are the key approaches to
ensure the community in which you work is best served by
your CBO.
Many CBOs already use these tools very successfully.
However, obstacles sometimes occur when CBOs operate
on their instincts, rather than using more objective and
structured tools to ensure their impact is as wide as
possible. People expect CBOS to operate in a highly
professional manner.
This notebook will help you and your CBO to ensure
that you use these tools in the most effective way possible.
We will look at advocacy, lobbying and communication as
separate processes, but will also highlight the links
between them. Often they are difficult to tell apart, but
they need to work in harmony to ensure your campaigns
are successful.
2. Advocacy
Advocacy means any action geared towards changing the
policies, positions or programmes of any institution.
The first step is to identify a problem in a community.
You need to understand all the aspects of the problem and
find ways to help others to understand the problem fully.
Then you can find ways to solve the issue.
Once everyone understands the issue clearly, you need
to come up with a solution to that problem. You will need
strong support for that solution and you will need an
effective implementation plan to ensure your solution is
In essence advocacy is about coming up with an argument
to support the position you hold. This position or opinion
will be to solve a problem.
3. Lobbying
Lobbying is an attempt by citizens to influence others,
particularly high-level public officials. Lobbying is one of
the most common methods used by citizens to influence
á á á á
Identify/choose a problem
Find a solution
Establish support
Implementation plan for
the solution
public policy. It enables citizens to put pressure on
politicians and government officials so that they take an
interest in the people and support their community’s
In most democracies lobbying is recognised as a
legitimate way for citizens to make their voices heard.
However, critics of lobbying say that wealthy people and
businesses are better able to spend more time on – and
pay for – various lobbying strategies and activities and
therefore have greater influence with public officials than
ordinary citizens.
You will find that lobbying requires some level of
formality. One aspect of lobbying is, of course, building
relationships with those people who can influence the
advocacy campaign that you are about to run. However,
when lobbying government it is not simply a matter of
knowing the right people and phoning or meeting them to
get their support. You will need to ensure you have covered
the following aspects:
F Determine the facts;
F Get as many different opinions on the matter as
F Decide on one viewpoint that you want to follow;
F Convince the decision-makers;
F Draw up a formal submission;
Actually – lobbying
is one part of the
advocacy process
Lobbying and
advocacy are the
same thing
They are not!!!!
F Get your submission in on time; and
F Be proactive – don’t wait for the deadline before you
start the lobbying process.
4. Communication
You cannot run an advocacy campaign without good
communication. Many campaigns often fail because the
communication has not been clear or has not reached the
people for whom it was intended. You must ensure that you
use the appropriate method to communicate your message.
4.1. Understanding communication
Communication involves sharing an idea or concept with
interested parties. This can involve communication
between two people, or between organisations, or between
one organisation and many people.
As in any process you will need to determine what your
goal is. The possibilities might be:
F To inform;
F To persuade;
F To motivate; or
F To entice people into action.
4.2. Steps in the communication process
Communication is not just what one party wants to say to
another. There are seven steps in the communication
process. They are:
Step 1 Develop the idea you want to transmit;
Step 2 Convert the idea into suitable words or symbols for
Step 3 Transmit the idea by a method chosen,
eg newsletter or meeting – make sure your
message is appropriate for the receiver;
Step 4 Receiver gets the transmission;
Step 5 Receiver decodes the message – with luck exactly
as it was sent and s/he understands it in the same way;
Step 6 Receiver accepts the message;
Step 7 Receiver uses the information – either by rejecting
it or using it to act.
To ensure your communication is successful and strategic
you should ask yourself the following questions:
F Which audiences do we need to reach?
F Have we conducted an audience analysis?
F What do we want people who hear our message to do?
F What messages could be appropriate?
F Which channels of communication would be most
F How will the communication process be monitored
and evaluated?
5. Running a campaign
A campaign includes all aspects of advocacy, lobbying
and communication. To run a campaign you will need to
follow a structured process. The following are the key steps
to run any campaign:
5.1. Define your issue
Usually when you decide to run an advocacy campaign
you need to think about your issue very specifically. If you
decide to tackle crime in your area, for example, you need
to think about which aspect of crime you want to address.
It would not be effective to tackle crime in general because
the issue is too extensive. It would be better to be more
specific and tackle a particular crime issue. Don’t try to
tackle too many issues at once. This can be confusing for
those who you are trying to influence. Research has shown
that single-issue campaigns are more effective.
5.2. Understand your issue
Make sure you understand the issue thoroughly.
If it is the first time you are dealing with a particular
issue, you need to ensure you have examined all the
background information you might need.
A thorough understanding of the issue will help you to
decide on which areas you need to focus your campaign.
To understand your issue thoroughly, you will need to
research it. Your research will depend on the issue your
campaign decides to tackle.
Research is helpful in a number of ways: It can be used to:
F Affect the changes that can be made in a policy
F Assist you to choose an advocacy goal;
F Influence decision-makers directly;
F Inform the media, public or other organisations and
institutions – they also could influence decisionmakers;
F Support an existing advocacy position;
F Help you to find out what counter-arguments you
might come across during your campaign;
F Change perceptions that people might have of the
issue or problem you are tackling;
F Challenge myths and assumptions;
F Confirm policy and programmes that are in place
elsewhere that work well; and
F Help you to reconsider strategies that are not
working during your campaign.
5.3. Define a campaign objective
It might sound simple to point out that your campaign
should have an objective. However, your campaign
objective should be simple and easily understandable by
you, your organisation and the people you are trying to
reach. You might find that, as you start working on your
objective, it will need to be rewritten a number of times.
This is a useful exercise because it will ensure that
everyone in your CBO understands exactly what you are
about to undertake.
It also will help you to choose the right strategies to use
in your campaign.
An advocacy objective aims to CHANGE policies,
programmes or positions of government, institutions or
It is about what YOU want to change, WHO will make
the change, HOW and WHEN the change will take place.
All objectives should be SMART:
If your campaign is not working as effectively as you had
hoped, you might want consider revisiting your objective.
5.4. Choosing advocacy and lobbying strategies
There are many different strategies and tactics available to
people planning to run a campaign. Your strategies must
match your objective.
You and your CBO have joined a number of organisations to
advocate for a gun-free zone at your local high school. You
decide to organise a barricade with burning tyres as part of
your protest action against the number of assaults taking
place at the school by young people carrying guns.
This strategy could work against you. Although you are
trying to advocate an end to violence in schools, you are
using violence yourself to achieve this. The result may be
that people do not take you seriously.
The following table is a list of possible activities you could
choose for your campaign instead. When you decide what
action to take, you must ensure you have adequate
resources from which to draw to implement your activity
The above activities fall into seven categories that make
up the tools you have at your disposal to run your
campaign. These categories are:
Gathering, managing and disseminating the information
you find lays the basis for determining the direction of an
advocacy campaign. Research is one way to gather
Various media can be used to communicate the campaign
message to the different stakeholders.
G Writing to an
Member of
Parliament (MP) or
your local
G Sending out media
G Doing media
G Having lunch with
the editor or a
senior reporter of a
local newspaper
Medium-intensity activities
G Producing a campaign
G Selling T-shirts, hats, badges
and stickers to support the
G Forming an alliance with a
network of community
G Paying for a newspaper
G Monitoring the local council
G Asking for a private meeting
with the relevant councillor
G Persuading an opposition
party councillor to ask a
question at the council
G Sending a written
submission to the council
G Attracting the interest of an
international nongovernmental
(NGO), like Greenpeace
G Lobbying
members of the
ward committee
G Organising a mass
picket or boycott
G Organising a oneday
strike in
support of the
G Taking the council
to court
Social mobilisation
Mobilising the broadest support from a range of
stakeholders, including the public, is essential to building
the influence of the campaign.
Convincing decision-makers who have the power to make
the desired changes involves special knowledge and skills.
Sometimes using the court system to challenge a policy or
law can reinforce an advocacy campaign.
Networks, alliances and coalitions
Sharing information, resources and strengths in unity and
commonality of purpose are key to the success of advocacy
Later in this notebook you will find an example that
shows how, if planned and coordinated successfully, a
campaign can use all of the tools in the toolkit.
It is important to remember that in a democratic society
we might have to accept that we cannot win every
campaign we pursue. There are limits to the actions we can
take. If we have problems with some of the laws or
regulations in our country, we should not undertake illegal
action, such as burning buildings. You will be more
successful if you use other avenues, such as lobbying, to
change the laws and regulations.
5.5. Who are all the players and stakeholders?
Different players and/or stakeholders might require
different strategies. The same strategy that you use to
mobilise the youth in faith-based institutions will not be
the same strategy you use to win over the local business
community to your side.
The following list is the broad categories that you might
need to target:
F Government;
F Civil society organisations;
F Union federations;
F Business;
F Faith-based institutions;
F The media; and
F The public.
You will not need to target all stakeholders or role players
each time you run a campaign. You must decide who can
help you the most to achieve the aims of your campaign.
You must decide who your primary audience is and
which sectors are your secondary audience. The
primary audience is usually made up of decisionmakers
who have the power to make the changes you
would like to see take place. The secondary audience is
made up of the people who will help you to bring
pressure on the decision-makers.
Once you have decided on this you will need to
‘unpack’ each of the sectors. For example, you might find
your primary audience is local government, but your
secondary audience includes members of provincial and
national government. You need to identify the specific
players in each of the relevant spheres of government.
At a local government level you must decide if you
should target the officials or the politicians? Do you need
to target councillors from a particular sub-committee of
council or only the chairperson of the sub-committee? If
you want to target provincial government, have you
decided to target officials or do you need to target the
director-general or will the deputy director of a particular
department be the best person?
If you want to target Muslim youth is it best to speak to
the Imam at the mosque or should you contact a local
Muslim youth civil society organisation?
Your understanding of power also influences your
decisions about who the most appropriate person might
be. For example, there might be a person in the opposition
party who does not hold an elected position, but who
might have a lot of power because s/he has been a
member of the party for a long time and might have a
good network system.
5.6. Planning the campaign
It is important to plan your campaign in as much detail
as possible. There always will be unforeseen events that
cannot be planned, but for those you can control, you
should plan in detail.
You might have no financial resources for your
campaign. If so, you might need to consider how you will
recruit volunteers.
The Project Management notebook in this series will help
you with the tools and techniques you need to plan
You might need to plan on an ongoing basis during
your campaign because unexpected and unforeseen
events unfold along the way. These might affect your
campaign either positively or negatively and you have to
learn how to deal with them.
When planning advocacy campaigns try to envisage
all outcomes, good and bad. Try to have back-up
strategies if one or more of your outcomes do not go
according to plan.
5.7. Managing the campaign
It is a good idea to set up a team to coordinate the
campaign. There should be no more than three ‘captains’
or ‘managers’ of the team.
The managing team should ensure that they set up
project teams to manage various aspects of the campaign.
Team members and managers will have different skills
that will be useful when managing the various aspects of
the campaign.
Depending on the nature of the campaign, there might
have to be some degree of secrecy so that you can
maintain an element of surprise. For example, if you are
planning a sit-in at a local clinic, you do not want word to
get out because managers of the clinic will do their best to
ensure you do not gain entry into the clinic.
Generally, though, you will want as many people as
possible to know about your activities so that they can join
you and give their support. Your message will be more
effective if you are open and transparent.
5.8. Communicating the campaign
There are five key areas to campaign communication:
Decide who your audience is and which strategy you need
to communicate to that audience.
Desired action
You need to ask: what does our organisation want people
to do when they get our message?
Take-away message
Good take-away messages focus on peoples’ needs rather
than on the needs of your organisation. You need to help
them to answer the question: what does this have to do
with me? Try to ensure that you get the message across by
using as many different channels as possible.
The message should be culturally sensitive. For
example, if you are trying to convince older people to
practise safe sex you will not be able to use the same
message that you would use to convey the message to
young people.
This refers to how you will deliver your message. Will you
use meetings? Will you use radio or television or both?
Will you use e-mail, newspapers, pamphlets, banners, etc?
Supporting data will help – particularly if you need to do
interviews on radio or TV, for example.
You need to ensure that you monitor the effect of your
message in the community and on the role players and
stakeholders constantly, so that you can see if you are
targeting the correct audience. If it is not effective you
might need to make changes. You also need to keep track
of what methods work and those that don’t, so that you
can evaluate the campaign effectively.
The communication of your message, your successes
and the need for other steps or activities will contribute to
the campaign enormously. This is probably the most
critical aspect of any campaign. If possible you should try
to get the help of professionals or students in the field of
communication because this could help you to get your
message across more effectively.
5.9. Acknowledging contributors
People often work very hard to ensure a campaign is
successful. Many are volunteers and give of their time
freely with little personal compensation other than to see
their principles and ideals achieved. Some donate money,
services and/or goods. Donations often are the core to the
success of any campaign. When the campaign is over
you need to acknowledge the contributions of all the
people involved. You might want to write a letter of thanks
to individuals and organisations; you might consider
inserting an advert in a local newspaper; or, if funds
provide, you might hold a small party to thank
Even if your campaign does not succeed, you need to
acknowledge the contributions of all those involved. This
simple step will encourage people to help the next time
you run a campaign.
5.10. Evaluating the campaign
Evaluating the overall campaign is a critical step. There
are many different tools in the evaluation process.
Remember to document as much of your campaign as
possible. It might be a good idea to have daily or weekly
evaluation sessions, depending on the nature of your
campaign. Write up all the lessons you learn so that the
next time you and your organisation plan a campaign it
will be as effective as possible.
6. The TAC example
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) is a good example
of how an organisation uses advocacy, lobbying and
communication to get its message across. Although the
TAC is a national organisation, it also operates at
community level and has many excellent lessons from
which we can draw.
People who are living with HIV/AIDS started the TAC.
This gave the organisation a lot of credence because its
members are the number one authority on what it is like
to live with HIV/AIDS.
The TAC has combined many different strategies. It
built strong support at community level by running
awareness workshops, establishing support groups and
developing an effective home-based care network.
It has reached a wide South African audience and also
is well known internationally. It has succeeded through
organised protest marches, distribution of T-shirts and
other promotional material and it has taken the
government to court over various issues. It even partnered
the government in a court case against international
pharmaceutical companies.
The TAC’s campaign has been so successful that it is
well established as both an organisation and a movement.
It is well funded because of its various successes.
The TAC campaign has received many awards and
recognition for its advocacy and lobbying work.
The TAC started with just a few people and now it is a
major movement. Your campaign might not be on the
same scale, but if you remain committed to your cause,
your campaign could be as successful.
7. The RAPCAN example
Resources and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
(RAPCAN) launched a campaign programme to stop the
closure of the Child Protection Units (CPUs).
RAPCAN first heard of the threat of the closure of CPUs
from a television reporter in February 2001. The South
African Police Services (SAPS) was trying to rationalise its
specialised units to improve communication, make better
use of resources and curb duplication of work. RAPCAN
and others in the sector felt that the CPUs were among the
specialised units that were, in fact, extremely overstretched
and under-resourced. They also felt that child
abuse cases required specific conditions and staff training,
as well as provision of child-friendly environments, and
that a generalised special unit would not deal adequately
with the abuse cases. RAPCAN believed that the closure of
the CPUs would be in contravention of international and
our own constitutional obligations towards children.
For six weeks RAPCAN was involved in a campaign to
convince policy-makers in the police sector to withdraw
the decision to close CPUs.
Defining aims and process
Television exposure created awareness of the issue.
Thereafter organisations held a sectoral meeting to decide
what to do, trying to clarify issues and information. The
group formulated questions in the meeting, asking the
SAPS for clarity, and agreed to try to set up a meeting with
the SAPS. Interested NGOs in Gauteng and KZN held other
meetings. Those attending the meetings exchanged ideas
and, through discussion and consensus, a campaign
strategy was decided. Ten organisations from around the
country contributed. A set of questions were drawn up to
be sent to the SAPS.
The organisations tried to see the Minister of Social
Development, but to no avail. They also sent him a letter,
but had no response. A parliamentary monitor in the
group noticed that the National Council of Provinces
(NCOP) was meeting the SAPS and asked to be involved.
Members of non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) discovered that this particular NCOP committee
seemed to be in touch with many people on the ground
and they had a positive meeting with the committee
RAPCAN is part of the Children and Violence Forum,
composed of national and provincial government
representatives, NGOs, welfare organisations and
university-linked organisations.
All of these stakeholders were informed about the issues
from the inception of the campaign; this was made a
whole lot easier using e-mail. Each centre (Cape Town,
Johannesburg and Durban) had one person responsible
for communication; this helped to keep everyone informed
and committed.
Strengths and opportunities
The issue was clear and easily identifiable. An individual
educated on parliamentary process was closely involved in
the campaign and found out about relevant committee
meetings on the issue, which allowed for intervention. Email
strengthened the campaign’s capacity to keep
stakeholders informed.
The campaign group found that the chair of the portfolio
committee was unwilling to meet it and the minister did
not respond to letters or requests. The group persisted in
finding other options for intervention.
RAPCAN and others used television to publicise the issues;
electronic media to keep stakeholders informed;
networking with other organisations to raise and
formulate the appropriate questions to the SAPS; lobbying
of the chairperson; and sending of submissions to the
NCOP committee and the SAPS. The use of these tools were
successful. Others that were not so successful, but also
tried, were letters to the minister, and attempts to meet
him and the chairperson of the portfolio committee.
The campaign had no budget and relied on individuals
and organisations to volunteer their time.
Lessons learnt
RAPCAN learnt that cross-sectoral and strong advocacy
from networks made a critical difference. Its issue was
clearly identifiable and had a defined time limit. It learnt
to use e-mail effectively and also gained some
understanding of Parliament and how to approach
parliamentarians. It found this was vital when embarking
on such a campaign.
The impact of the campaign on RAPCAN was that it and
others in the sector felt that they could make a difference
to ensure that children’s rights would be protected and
that their voices could be heard. The network with which
RAPCAN works was strengthened.
The result of the campaign was that the CPUs were NOT
closed down. The SAPS made a public statement at Human
Rights Commission hearings that CPUs would not be closed.
8. Conclusion
The tools that are mentioned in this notebook should help
you and your CBO to focus your attention and resources in
a structured manner. It is our hope that your organisation
will reap the benefits for both you and your community.
Through strengthening the capacity and abilities of your
CBO to advocate, lobby and communicate, we believe that
democracy will be strengthened.
It is also critical that you consult some of the other
notebooks in this series to enable you to run campaigns
effectively, such as the Project Management, Fundraising and
Proposal Writing and CBOs and Mobilisation notebooks.
These will help you to run a well-resourced and wellmanaged
The key to all advocacy and lobbying initiatives is
experience. You will make mistakes, but you will learn
from them and the next campaign you tackle will go more
Good luck! You will find that advocacy, lobbying and
communication can be rewarding and exhilarating. You
will achieve many objectives. And, as with all new skills,
you will become better with time as you build up your
network and learn from your mistakes and your successes.
9. References
John W. Newstrom and Keith Davis. 2002. Organisational
Behaviour Human Behaviour at work. McGraw-Hill Irwin
Publishers. New York
IDASA. 2004. Advocacy & Communication
IDASA. 2004. How Local Government Works

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