3. Approaches to advocacy

Advocacy generally involves a variety of approaches which may be public or private; collaborative or confrontational; or a combination of all these. Advocates use a diverse number of tools and methods, including statements and media outreach, grassroots mobilisation, lobbying with policy makers, networking, and coalition-building.

Public advocacy might involve public statements and published policy papers. Approaches for private lobbying with decision-makers include sharing specific information confidentially and supporting local coalitions, particularly in contexts where public activities may carry some form of risk (see section 8.2).

Communication strategies are an important element of advocacy approaches. As advocacy aims to specifically influence policy, it is important to distinguish advocacy statements from other types of public statements that CARE may make, such as those aimed merely at taking a public stance on a crisis to profile CARE, or for fundraising purposes. It is critical, however, that CARE’s different types of communications are coordinated so that they reinforce each other and avoid any potential undermining of each other’s messages and goals. (see Media)

Advocacy can take place at different levels, from local to global, depending on where the greatest capacity to effect change is. Humanitarian advocacy may involve direct, immediate interaction with officials at local, provincial and national levels. Advocacy concerns can also be shared internationally in government capital cities and multilateral institutions at a global level to reinforce messages delivered locally.

Advocacy can be carried out by the people and groups directly affected by injustice, by local NGOs and international organisations such as CARE on their behalf, or by a combination of both.