You’ve discovered where your passion and a real need intersect. Now you need a plan. It can be as simple as back-of-a-napkin scribbling or as detailed as a full-out spreadsheet — do what works for you.

Four basics parts to an effective advocacy plan:

  • State it: Put your vision into a single statement. Use action verbs to describe your goal: “Kids freely and safely playing in our community park.”
  • Analyze it: Do a quick analysis of your target audience and your allies. The few minutes you spend on this will pay off later.
  • Action it: This is the fun part. Brainstorm (head) and heartstorm (“gut”). Involve your whole group. What they come up with now they will own later.
  • Record it: Note milestones along the way and when they will be reached. These help you remain focused and will help with reporting and celebrating successes.

A good set of goals will help define your actions: “For [insert your goal] to happen, [insert the decision makers] must [the decision needed], and the best way to get them to make this decision is [the action you need to take].”

Just start doing more. How do you speak with integrity without first being engaged? Some of the strongest advocacy grows out of action. You earn your place.

Cornelius Buller, member of Winnipeg Centre Church and anti-poverty activist
Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church

Members of Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church participate in a Grandmothers’ Walk, raising awareness about the abuse and exploitation of children.

Advocacy can bless your church

  • Advocacy brings church members together for a common purpose.
  • It requires knowledge of your community, or perhaps national and global issues. This knowledge, in turn, seeps into everything you do.
  • Advocacy demonstrates to the community that the church is alive and well and cares deeply about others.
  • It appeals to youth who are natural advocates and want the church to be involved in current issues.
  • Advocacy builds capacity in your members — skills they will use elsewhere.
  • It brings the promise of blessings from God (Isaiah 58: 6-11).
ADVOCACY TIP: Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. A simple and effective guide on SMART goals can be found under the Wikipedia entry “SMART criteria.”