Policy Influencing Syllabus

The MDF Policy Influencing Cycle
Strategic Policy Influencing in Steps
Policy Influencing Cycle
Identify the
policy issue
Impact on primary
Primary beneficiary
policy issue
and interests
Fact finding
Mapping of
policy process
Visibility: lobby,
media, campaign
of Final
Birth of early
Key audiences
and targets
action plan
Managing network
action plan
Ede, Netherlands
March 2010
The MDF Policy Influencing Cycle
Strategic Policy Influencing in Steps
Ede, Netherlands
March 2010
Ger Roebeling
MDF Training & Consultancy BV
Bosrand 28, Postbus 430, 6710 BK Ede, Nederland
Tel.nr.: +31 318 650060, faxnr.: +31 318 614503
e-mail: mdf@mdf.nl, website: www.mdf.nl
Technical Assistance for
Civil Society Organisations
Regional Office
This project is funded
by the European Union.
PREAMBLE .......................................................................................................... 4
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 5
BACKGROUND ....................................................................................................................... 6
POLICY INFLUENCING CONCEPTS............................................................................................ 7
THE POLICY INFLUENCING CONTINUUM ................................................................................... 8
PI TARGETS .......................................................................................................................... 8
IDENTIFYING THE ISSUE .................................................................................... 9
PI AS AN INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITY ......................................................................................... 10
POLICY DECISIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ................................................................................ 10
GENERATIVE ISSUES AND GUTS FEELINGS ............................................................................ 10
DEFINE THE PI ISSUE ....................................................................................... 10
ANALYSING THE ADVOCACY ENVIRONMENT ............................................... 12
THE STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS .............................................................................................. 12
ANALYSING THE POLICY PROCESSES .................................................................................... 14
NETWORKING AND ALLIANCE BUILDING ................................................................................. 15
DESIGN A STRATEGIC PI PLAN ....................................................................... 15
6.1 ARE WE READY TO ADVOCATE AND LOBBY? .......................................................................... 15
6.2 THE ACTION PLAN ............................................................................................................... 17
6.3 MONITORING AND EVALUATION ............................................................................................. 18
6.4 MANAGING AN ADVOCACY STRATEGY NETWORK ................................................................... 18
DELIVERING THE POLICY MESSAGE .............................................................. 19
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1. Preamble
The guideline in this training on Advocacy and Policy Influencing (API) is the
Policy Influencing (PI) Cycle. It follows the steps that people take when starting a PIinitiative. This Policy Influencing (PI) Syllabus explains the steps followed in the PI Cycle.
The basic steps in the process that can be recognized are:
a. Identify the Policy Issue : what issue needs to change involving politics; (vision)
b. Define the Issue: it sharpens what you want to contribute to change and refines the
exact issue related to specific politics and policies: (mission)
c. Birth of the Early Message: you define your position – it makes clear where you
d. Prepare the Concerted Action Plan: a strategic mix of activities and task division
between allies provide the means to improve the quality and visibility of your PIinterventions; (Outcome Challenges and progress markers)
e. Delivery of the Final Message: the purpose is that your message will change the
behaviour of your political targets, and that they adopt your recommendations.
Based on the knowledge and information gathered, in between these steps there is a
need to dó something with that knowledge and information:
a. Fact Finding & Research on the issue involving beneficiaries and stakeholders
provide the basis for your position: the BIRTH OF THE EARLY MESSAGE
b. Alliance Building & Networking: select your allies for an increased power base
and plan your PI-strategy (mix) together dividing expertise, funds and tasks;
c. Preparing deliverables: based on the concerted action plan you will prepare your
deliverables, improve your skills in order to get the message across
d. Assessing the outcome & Evaluating: based on the progress markers – and
finally at the level of your beneficiaries – in your PI-strategy plan (long term), as
well as – your negotiating results during the message-delivery (short term).
Different activities and tools are applied in order to improve your PI-interventions:
a. Issue Analysis and Fact Finding: you detect a logic in your reasoning on the issue
and find the facts to support that analysis;
b. Beneficiary Consultation: you involve beneficiaries from the start thus improving
ownership of your beneficiaries ánd creating legitimacy towards political targets;
Based on your message / position you analyse the environment:
c. Stakeholder Analysis: you identify (the person) who has an interest in the issue:
what is their opinion regarding the issue, how important is the issue and how
influential is the person – select allies and crucial political targets;
d. Analysis of the Policy Processes: know when policy decisions are due on what
and who is influential at that point in time – get on board early in the process and
define your progress markers step-by-step;
Improved effectiveness is created in joint and concerted action:
e. Targeted Networking: join forces with allies and divided tasks by strengths;
f. Managing Network dynamics by using soft skills and hard-ware;
Make sure you have people, means and funds for your activities, and use the funds well:
g. Resourcing your concerted action PI-plan: make a strategy map a result chain,
and progress markers related to stakeholder involvement (Boundary partner and
Strategic Partner)
Are you ready to lobby?
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h. Contact your key audiences and targets: prepare your deliverables in your action
plan, improve your skills and reflect on your attitude before entering the political
i. Implement your actions: Lobby, media, campaign events: go and do it
Look at your PI-strategy, your selected allies and targets, and check progress markers:
j. Impact assessment on your beneficiaries, Monitoring & Evaluation: exercise
monitoring continuously (learning) after each action, and periodically
(progress markers) on your strategic plan, and with regard to the impact on your
beneficiaries. (outcome challenges).
2. Introduction
Policy making is often associated with governments and parliaments preparing general
policies and being responsible for implementation, monitoring and control.
Against the background of globalization, decentralization, privatization, retreating
governmental influence and (wished for) deregulation, the position (place and power) of
policy making is changing. Apart from the public sector, also private sector companies and
civil society organisation take their role in the democratic process. Policy Influencing is
becoming more important and mainstream. Gramsci developed a power-triangle dividing
society into three power-categories: government – private sector – civil society (also
known as ‘countervailing power’). In some countries this triangle is institutionalized in a
so-called tri-partite setting in which all actors are exchanging positions and influencing
each other continuously. An example is the Netherlands known as the Polder-model.)
Very often the influencing takes place outside negotiating rooms in backrooms, lobbies,
on the streets, in the media, in universities etc. The variety is manifold; the diversity is
Gramsci triangle (tri-partite polder)
• Government
Poverty alleviation
• Civil Society
Private Sector
A balance of power between parties ensures political and economical stability best.
(Government – commercial sector – organised civil society)1
From Gramsci (tripartite polder model in the Netherlands is an example)
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MDF is increasingly requested to provide support within Policy Influencing (PI) by different
interest groups in the Netherlands and internationally. The organisations requesting
support differ a lot. They may include Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in areas
like development cooperation, environment, health, education etc., but also from the
public sector in ministries or municipalities, or multilateral institutions. Policy Influencing is
more and more becoming a regular part of our daily life.
Some criticism on Lobby and Advocacy in the Netherlands. (2007)2
Many NGO’s have adopted Policy Influencing as part of their intervention strategies. Since
PI might be controversial to the interest of the donors, added value of PI has to become
visible and transparent. The main comments that need to be taken into account are:
1) Documentation of policy-influencing activities is poor.
2) Intermediate objectives or steps towards the policy changes are achieved according to
plan and in two cases out of four, the proposed policy changes had been made.
3) The case studies on the influencing of economic policy revealed that the lobbies
targeting business were more (directly) successful to the beneficiaries than the
campaigns focusing on government policies (more indirect).
4) In all campaigns, the NGO’s held consultations with partners. However, the case
studies revealed great variation in the role and involvement of partner-NGO’s and
beneficiaries at the start of campaigns and during their implementation. All the partner
organisations still had limited capacity in the field of policy influencing. Two cases include
examples of joint lobbying with partners.
5) In all the case studies, NGO’s worked in alliances to achieve their objectives.
The fact that lobbying was carried out jointly with other organisations made it difficult to
attribute the results of the campaign to one particular organisation.
6) The case studies identified a number of factors important for the effectiveness of a
campaign: a key factor is the development of a strategy on the basis of a systematic
and step-wise approach.
The Policy Influencing Cycle takes these conclusions into account. First of all it provides a
systematic approach that includes all comments in the sense that beneficiary and partner
involvement will be guaranteed (ownership and capacity building), that long term planning
and short term steps are better linked, that alliance building creates a shared attribution of
policy influencing results and that stakeholders can be selected from government and the
business sector.
The PI Cycle is based on different theoretical models, mixed with the practical experience
from MDF and external experts and practitioners. A reference group3 has contributed to
the overall concept as well as to the elaboration of different elements in the PI Cycle. It
has been tested in different trainings and through facilitation of PI planning processes of
NGO’s and networks.
“Chatting and Playing Chess with Policymakers; “Influencing Policy via the Dutch Co-Financing Programme”,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IOB), (June 2007)
Ger Roebeling, Herman Snelder, Henk van Apeldoorn, Han Verhoeven, Sjoerd Zanen, Irma Alpenidze, Bas Beisiegel,
Frans van Gerwen, Martien van Asseldonk;
Workshops: MCIC Macedonia, LAA MDF, Past experience: FTN partners, Wemos / ICCO / Kerkinactie / BBO / Aprodev
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The PI Cycle is a methodology for strategic policy influencing. It can be used at all levels
in public and private policy influencing, locally – nationally and internationally. It can be
applied on all kinds of policy targets, be it in the public sector, in the private sector or in
non-governmental settings.
Policy Influencing Concepts
Policy Influencing is the more general term for all kinds of actions that can be related to
convincing political decision making. MDF prefers to work with “Policy Influencing” as a
working definition as it can be easily translated into most languages, it is accepted in most
political cultures in many countries, and it can address all kinds of actors ranging from civil
society to government or the business sector. Every respected entity has a vision, a
mission and policies defined, and influencing these policies is day-to-day work.
Other terminologies in use related to Policy Influencing are Advocacy, Lobby,
Campaigning, Public Relations etc. Some definitions create controversial connotations.
For example, the term Advocacy illustrates the difficulties encountered in defining what it
is all about. Advocacy is a container word for many actions taking place every day in order
to influence policy makers to change policies, rules, funding, agreements, laws, budgets,
criteria, certificates, quality standards and so on.
What is advocacy all about? Are there different types of advocacy, lobbying or otherwise?
Is there a difference between advocacy and lobbying? Which are the most important
elements of effective advocacy and lobbying? Below, we have provided a number of
definitions in used by different organisations.
• Action by an individual or group in support of a cause, ideal, or policy to
effect change, advance a cause, or raise public awareness (National Council
for Independent Living, USA)
• Witness and actions aimed at changing attitudes, policies and practices.
Advocacy is concrete and targeted actions aimed at the wider public,
members of civil society, governments, international institutions and the
corporate sector in order to mobilise both popular and political support for
effecting concrete changes. (DanChurchAid)
• Advocacy is the deliberate process of influencing those who make policy
decisions (CARE)
• “We’re not certain whether we have a translation for ‘advocacy’ or whether we
should just use the word ‘advocacy’ in English.
• Part of the confusion has to do with the way the concept was imported from
the outside as if it were a new technology— as if we didn’t already know
advocacy. Latin America’s history is full of examples of people facing power.
How can we think that advocacy is new?” (Peruvian activist, 2001)
MDF’s definition of Policy Influencing
Policy Influencing is the deliberate and systematic process of influencing the policies,
practices and behaviour of different targeted stakeholders that are most influential on
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the issue, involving beneficiaries and increasing their ownership and capacity on the
issue. Activities can be singled out, or a mixed strategy can be applied, in which joined
forces and concerted action increase the effectiveness of the policy influencing
The Policy Influencing Continuum
All definitions shown have one thing in common: policy influencing. What differs are the
tactics used, ranging from violent action to complete harmony, depending on how close
your opinion is in relation to your political target. On the whole range several tactics can
be used, at the same time or sequentially.
Also, it is possible to have different actors (organisations or persons) to be involved on the
same topic, but playing different tactical roles or performing complementary tasks. A
network of NGO’s can divide roles based on expertise: for example, contact with
politicians is done by specific lobby-NGO’s, research by a research-NGO or university,
organising farmers by a farmers organisation, capacity building by a training institute, and
so on. Other theories distinguish by categorizing the type of actors according to a powertactic scale ranging from violent --> non-violent in which respectively – shark is most
aggressive then an orca – a whale – a seal – a dolphin. For example activist throwing
bricks can be seen as a shark, Greenpeace occupying a nuclear compound as an orca,
mass demonstration by the environmental movement as a whale, OxfamNovib publishing
a report as a seal, and WWF collaborating with the business sector as a dolphin.The
Policy Influencing Continuum shows some of these
Policy Influencing Continuum
Expert meeting
Boycot, strike
These tactics can either be discussed or negotiated beforehand (best option) or it will be
the result of differences and negotiations between actors. It is also clear that all actors are
needed at certain stages of a policy influencing process.
PI Targets
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Who is a political target? And where can you find them?
In the past PI was focusing mainly on Government policies at local level (municipalities),
state level (provinces) or national level addressing ministers, public servants in ministries,
and parliamentarians. Lately, EU politicians, Commissioners, policy staff and negotiators,
and EU parliamentarians have also become the target of Brussels-based lobby institutions
from both the commercial sector as well as the civil society on every imaginable issue.
With the increasing globalisation Multilateral Institutions – like WTO, UN organisations
and the Breton Woods institutions – have also become the target of policy influencing.
A new phenomenon since the end of the 90-ies is the influencing of Private Companies
directly through “blaming-and shaming”-campaigns, but also by creating dialogue or even
close collaboration. Influencing targets can be found in the Marketing, Communication and
Information Departments, The (board) of Directors or branch directors, the Shareholders
Assembly and by meeting Consumers at selling points or consumers’ organisations.
Even Civil Society Organisations have become political targets for each other, since the
amount of CSO’s is increasing rapidly around the most diverse and specific topics.
Opinions differ correspondingly, and are often successfully (ab)used by politicians or
companies in order to create the fragmentation between e.g. civil society groups and
continue with business as usual. Typical targets in CSO’s are directors, boards, policy
staff and knowledge holders, as well as communication and policy officers.
3. Identifying the Issue
“Lobby is not a hobby”: it is not an end in itself, but one of the options to a goal.
PI is so popular these days that everybody does it, wants to do it, or claims to be doing it,
as if ‘policy influencing’ is the solution to every problem. It must be stated right from the
start that PI is not going to resolve all problems, but only those obstacles that are
obstructing concrete action or implementation due to policy decisions. Lots of problems
can be solved without advocacy and/or lobby. So, when is PI useful? And when not?
Example 1
An NGO in the Ukraine wants to build pit latrines in villages without a sewage system. It
plans to build 3 school toilets and 20 house toilets. It presents a project proposal to the
Ministry of Health for funding. Regulation is in place, and they apply for a construction
licence with the local authorities. They get the project approved and realise the project.
The same NGO wants to build Ecosan toilets for the same reasons, but the project is
rejected. No Water & Sanitation regulation for Ecosan toilets in cold and wet environment
is established, neither in Ukraine nor at international WHO level. In order to be able to
build Ecosan toilets W&S regulation in cold and wet environments has to be created.
The NGO decides to start an advocacy and lobby action to establish regulation that will
make Eco-sanitation possible.
Several ways of identifying a Issue
To identify a Policy Issue is an important step. The reasons to start a PI initiative can
differ. It can be a personal issue, or programmatic obstacles occur, or policy regulations
are changing which effect the implementation of your activities. Broadly a distinction can
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be made in 1) PI as an institutional activity; 2) Policy decisions and Citizens’ and Human
Rights (violations or lack of fulfilment) and 3) Generative Issues / Guts feeling. (see below)
PI as an Institutional Activity
In institutional settings normally an analysis (a problem or context analyses) is made with
respect to the vision, mission and objectives of the organisation or a programme. If the
results cannot be achieved by implementing the programme because political or policy
obstacles are impeding progress, concerted PI strategies may support the concretization
of the programmatic objectives.
Example 2
An INGO is supporting a large Fair Economic & sustainable development programme with
African cotton farmers in developing countries. Cotton subsidies in industrialised countries
threaten the world cotton prices to dumping levels, forcing the African farmers into
bankruptcy. The INGO started an anti-dumping PI campaign, and a lobby on the WTO
and the EU to stop cotton subsidies. By joining forces with farmers organisation in the
South and other INGOs they succeeded to bring cotton back in the general debate on the
elimination of subsidies to agricultural products.
Policy decisions and Human Rights
The external political environment sometimes changes due to the creation of new rules
and regulations, or even laws. This can take organisations by surprise. When these
decisions create an obstacle, PI will be considered.
Example 3
The attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 2001 was called an act of war, and later on
‘terrorism’. Rapidly new ‘laws on terrorism’ were passed without a compatibility check on
Human Rights laws and international declarations. Human Rights organisations were
forced to start PI campaigns against violations of HR and protection of privacy under
these new anti-terrorist laws.
Generative Issues and Guts feelings
These issues come up because people or interest groups feel injustice or bad practices
occurring in society or with regard to their own values.
Example 4
The Animal movement in the Netherlands pleas for Animal Rights, because they are
convinced that animals are suffering like human beings (guts feeling)
The Dutch prince has bought a holiday house in Mozambique built by a fair and
sustainable development project. The media create a hype, and the prince steps back
(generative issue)
4. Define the PI Issue
Once you have identified your issue it is important to know your topic! It is not enough to
try to convince decision makers of your opinion; they will have different or differentiated
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information which could contradict your facts or opinions. Bare in mind that you need to
explore the fact and figures related to the scope of the problem, investigate if your
alternative solutions are feasible, or if they create unintended side-effects.
Most decision makers apply a set of principles – consciously or unconsciously – in order
to define if they have to take the person or organisation seriously. These PI-principles can
be abbreviated in the acronym CLASP, and stands for:
= Credibility
= Legitimacy
= Accountability
= Service - oriented
= Power base
Credibility is about trustworthiness of your organisation in other people’s eyes and may
relate to the information and data you use. You can increase your credibility by doing
proper fact finding and research on the issue.
Legitimacy looks at how legitimate or representative you are or your organisation in taking
a certain position. It also looks at if and how you have involved the people that you speak
on behalf of.4 Governments and the commercial sector increasingly pay more attention to
the legitimacy of lobbyists and campaigners. A good approach for NGO’s engaged in PI of
beneficiaries is to involve them from the start in the PI process, and preferably must be
performed by them:
• With the beneficiaries and marginalized;
• By the beneficiaries and marginalized;
• For the beneficiaries and marginalized, guaranteeing previous involvement in
defining the policy position, and given feed-back on the achieved results
Accountability is the material proof that you are accountable as an organisation by
demonstrating proof:
• your statements can be supported by data collection, fact sheets and research
• your legitimacy can be proven by listing beneficiaries, constituencies and boards;
• involvement of beneficiaries can be proven by related activities;
• your financial data are sound and transparent;
Service oriented means “do as you promise” – it has to do with your attitude towards your
political targets by delivering promised facts, details, information, reports, and answers to
questions that are relevant, of high quality, in time. Do not treat your targets as your
Power based means that you have to prove how strong, representing how many people
and how confident you are with regard to your PI topic. Helpful is to look at 4 levels of
power (based on Ghandi’s teachings):
 power over – the position you have in society, an organisation or in politics (most
commonly referred to as the only power base)
 power to – your knowledge on the policy topic (increasingly shared conviction)
In the IOB-evaluation by the Dutch Ministry of Development Cooperation this is a heavy
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 power with – your beneficiaries and allies (together in joined and concerted action is
stronger than doing all by yourself)
 power within – your attitude, reliability and self-confidence (sincerity) (be aware that
you can hardly fool people – they can feel it and will treat you similarly)
Using the principles of CLASP in all PI preparations will make you well prepared in most
situations. It is at the heart of the PI Cycle and must be applied in every step of the PI
Cycle. CLASP must be part of your preparation when you prepare yourself for a lobby
conversation, media exposure or expert meeting in the outside world. Opponents always
try to tackle you on a weak point, so be prepared.
5. Analysing the Advocacy Environment
The Stakeholder Analysis
In the context of Policy Influencing, a stakeholder is someone who is affected by a
decision, or who can affect that decision. By doing a stakeholder analysis around a policy
issue, you can identify who are your allies, who are your political targets and who are your
opponents. You can also identify the chains (the road map) of influence – it is not always
possible to influence your political targets directly. You have to find the most effective way
of influencing and in order to achieve the highest possible impact.
In a PI-stakeholder analysis, you go through the following steps:
1. Brainstorm all the stakeholders relevant to the issue. The aim here is to be creative
and get a long list of names, positions and organisations of people. Personify your
political targets as much as possible, since persons may be more essential to
influence them as decision-makers.
2. You apply 3 filter questions to the list of stakeholders:
 To what extent does the stakeholder agree or disagree with your position?
 How importantly, relative to the others, does the stakeholder view the issue?
 How influential, relative to the others, is the stakeholder over the decision?
To make an informed judgement to answer these questions, you may have to
supplement this by further research. Maybe you may have to sub-divide categories of
stakeholder into groups that can be said to share a common position or interest.
3. The information is transferred to the a) Audience Prioritisation Matrix and the b)
Allies and Opponents Matrix
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Audience Prioritisation Matrix
of the issue to the
of the audience
on the issue
From the Audience Prioritisation Matrix, combine the importance of the issue with the
decision making influence of the stakeholder. In this what you may identify whether the
stakeholder is an important audience that cannot be ignored or not.
Allies & Opponents Matrix
of the
audience to
your position
Influence of the audience on the issue
From the Allies and Opponents Matrix, you can identify who are your most significant
allies and opponents, and who the most influential neutral are, that you might be able to
shift over to your side. Stakeholder groups are not fixed in their positions and the matrix
may provide you with insights into how to create extra power to your strategy by:
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a. For allies with high interest and low influence: you can Build Alliances;
b. For allies with high influence but low interest: you might persuade this stakeholder
that the issue is important;
c. For influential neutrals / soft opponents: you might be able to persuade the
stakeholder to your position;
d. For allies with low influence: you can help to increase their influence;
e. Mainly for opponents with high influence: you can try to reduce the influence of this
From these matrixes chains of influence can be designed. Depending on the position and
influence of your political target, different tactics can be used by using the specific
expertise of different actors in the chain. (see also 3.2 as explained in the chapter on the
Advocacy Continuum.
Do not forget to be realistic! Choose how many stakeholder groups you can realistically
target as audiences, given your level of time and resources.
Further analysis and research on the position of your political targets is strongly advised.
The Audience Targeting table can be used for this purpose. It is a deeper and
systematical analyses of your political targets with respect to getting to know him/her
better on a) what is their knowledge on the subject (it might be more than you know); b)
what are the believe regarding the subject (you might agree or disagree in your beliefs)
and c) what does the targets cares about most (you might use this information to build
Analysing the Policy Processes
After having identified the political targets in general, it is important to investigate the
political decision making processes in which your political targets are functioning. The PI
issue goes through different stages, and every stage has different political targets with
most influence at that point in time. With that information you can later on define a chain of
results (or progress markers) that range from easier --> less easy --> more difficult -->
most difficult
You need to study well in advance how the policy process is designed.
Leading questions are:
 Where is the topic of your policy issue being dealt with? Your topic can be
addressed differently in different ministries. I.e. trade and development issues are
dealt with by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and
Development Cooperation, or at local, national and international level.
 What is the policy planning and implementation cycle? This should be related to the
specific policy environment within and between governments, political parties, in
companies, in parliaments. Related levels have to be identified as well, as they
depend on each other.
 What is the timeline for decision making processes? Some decision making
processes are planned many years in advance and take place in negotiations
round, like i.e. WTO or Breton Woods institutions. Lots of developing countries are
confronted with receiving the negotiating documents very late, which makes their
time for and quality of preparation precarious.
Different phases in policy making can be identified. It is advised to get into the decision
making process as early as possible.
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- brainstorm phase – here personal contacts lobby on public servants is useful
- design phase – idem + expert meetings
- pre-decision phase – expert meetings with politicians and media attention are useful
- formal decision – here lobbying parliamentarians, media attention is useful
- after implementing a decision – monitoring and agenda-setting action is useful
This summing up shows that in different phase of the policy making process differentiated
action is useful.
Networking and Alliance Building
Networking and Alliance Building have proven to be necessary and effective strategies in
reaching policy influencing objectives. Despite the criticism of government officials and the
commercial sector that PI cannot be attributed to individual organisations, it is proven that
concerted action between civil society actors is more effective than isolated activism.
A division of roles and tasks is efficient and effective, as policy issues need a deep
understanding, research and analysis of the context of the beneficiaries, as well as of the
political context and policies. The progress of decision making in the political arena needs
permanent attention and research, which is very costly for NGO’s. If planned well in
advance,, coordination may lead to more efficient use of financial means and improved
knowledge on the issues. Collaboration with research institutes and universities on effects
of policy decision or monitoring of the implementation of regulations is increasing. You can
find an example of an effective international advocacy strategy: The Pincer (see MDF
document ……….)
6. Design a Strategic PI Plan
After having defined the policy issue, and having analyzed and selected the stakeholders
that have an interest in (your allies) or those that have influence on the decision making
(your political targets), it is time to come into action. But…
You are accountable to many people and institutions like your directors, your
beneficiaries, your board and your funding donors: so you have to make a clearly defined
PI strategy and action plan, and a budget. This plan should make clear what change in
behaviour you want to achieve at the level of your political targets, what outcomes expect
from the people you influence, and what action and activities you have to undertake in
order to make these people move. And finally, you have to see that you can realize this
with a limited amount of time, people and money. It means that you have to be strategic
and choose the most targets and allies that create the best outcome so that your dream
will become true.
The design of a strategic PI plan takes into consideration the different steps of the PI
Cycle we went through before
Are we ready to Advocate and Lobby?
Not yet – first of all we have to design a PI plan. Key question are:
- what is the issue?
- who is involved in the definition of the issue and the analyses?
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who are your main targets?
what is the acceptance to the issue?
do you know the decision making processes and time lines?
do you need alliances to build up power?
is lobbying directly enough or is a more differentiated and phased tactic needed?
What activities do you plan in order to achieve expected results?
What progress can you see?
Outcome Mapping (OM) provides the best known elements for making a Strategic Plan
for Policy Influencing, since it involves different actors from the start that will or could
contribute to your future desired situation, in which behaviour is changed. And policy
making is specifically focused on a change in behaviour and creating an enabling
environment. The steps in the PI Cycle can be easily linked to Outcome Mapping as a
planning tool.
OM distinguishes from the start who you can influence, directly or more indirectly. Actors
with whom you take direct control are you allies (sphere of Control); together you
influence other actors to create change (sphere of influence) together in favour of your
beneficiaries in the end (sphere of impact). It means in practice that more actors are
involved using different ways to achieve their wishes situation, and you make them visible
in your plan from the start. (see below)
Beneficiary involvement
PI Allies
sphere of
sphere of
sphere of
Adapted from: Steff Deprez VVOB-CEGO, Nov 2006
Corresponding with the PI Cycle you can now start to formulate your PI Strategic Plan
following the checklist below, you can follow the OM-logic to develop your strategy:
Steps in PI Cycle
1. Identify the issue
2. Define the issue and possible solutions
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Outcome Mapping
Formulate your vision
(what would you love to see)
Formulate you mission
(what do you want to do to realize the
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3. Define your main message
4. Facts and research
5. Legitimacy of partners and beneficiaries
6. Power analyses of stakeholders: Allies /
Opponents / Target analyses
7. Policy cycle analyses and Timing
8. Define you PI strategy
8. Make Action Plan & Budget
9. Deliver the message
This project is funded
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Formulate your outcome challenge
Select your strategic partners
(allies, beneficiaries and constituency)
Select your boundary partners
(those who you want to influence)
Set and define your progress markers
(go from easy --> most difficult in smaller
steps and monitor these steps on a
Make a strategic options map
(choose who does what is done for political
targets and allies)
Plan activities and dedicate time, people
and funds for all actions
Go and do it
Monitor and evaluate continuously
The Action Plan
The importance of having a PI strategy and Action Plan that is anchored in the institution
has been stated before in chapter 2. – PI is part of the strategies of an organisation to
achieve its vision: “elimination of poverty and malnutrition of farmers in rural areas”
Example X
Uganda is a very fertile country that is NOW dependent on international Food Aid. An
Ugandan NGO is working on the increase of local food production as its Project Purpose,
but is confronted with selling of “subsidized and dumped food aid” on the Ugandan
market, competing ‘under production cost’- prices on the local market. The Ugandan NGO
has a multiple strategy:
- Outcome challenge 1 = increasing local production
- Outcome challenge 2 = creating access to Sustainable Markets Chain for these
- Outcome challenge 3 = involving local food processors and local food companies
- Outcome challenge 4 = PI on WTO and WFP to Stop Dumping and Subsidizing of
Food Aid.
All these outcomes are relevant to achieve your vision and mission, but you as an
organisation will focus on 1. and 4, whereas other will focus on 1., 2. and 3.
The Activities that contribute to the PI Outcome have to be CLASP – it means that in order
to achieve the PI (Stop Dumping of Food Aid in Uganda) related to the two (2) PI
Outcomes: (WTO eliminates subsidies on Food Aid and WFP provides food-aid-in-cash
and buys locally)
In the Action Plan Five (5) levels of Activities will always have to be covered in order to
create Outputs (products and services you provide) contribute to the PI Outcome – they
follow CLASP in the PI Cycle:
Internal or preparatory activities:
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1. Fact Finding & Research (case studies, information gathering on the
issue and on the policy process)
2. Constituency involvement (meetings and information sharing with
beneficiaries, boards, directors etc.)
3. Alliance Building and Networking (meetings, information sharing and joint
External or exposure activities
4. Lobby activities (i.e. preparing fact sheets, position statements, organise
expert meetings, lobby conversations, formulate amendments or
parliamentary questions)
5. Communication activities ( i.e. Press releases, media contacts, prepare
interviews, website, prepare Education material etc.)
6. Campaigning activities (critical mass power basis in society in general)
Large concerted action with many public actions – can be everything.
Crucial is that all these activities are planned in advance, as well as that budget
reservations (time and staff) have been made.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Based on the Logical Framework on your Advocacy Plan in the Design Phase, the
programmatic monitoring and evaluation of policy influencing objectives provides a sound
With respect to the monitoring of the different activities in the Advocacy Plan it must be
reminded that all aspects need continuous attention:
- check the relevance of the topic
- check the data and research elements in the policies and research
- check the stakeholders: allies and opponents
- check the political process and decision making schedules
- check the position of your political targets and the media on your topic
and adapt your activity plans accordingly
Managing an Advocacy Strategy Network
The management and coordination of alliances is a continuous challenge to its success.
Managing the network dynamics is the most important indicator.
With staff changes Northern and Southern NGO’s the internal dynamics have to be
addressed again and again, whenever a newcomer arrives – it is a risk of this process is
neglected, with break-down of the network as a negative result.
Partly these dynamics can be channelled by creating network-mechanisms like:
- A declaration on Ethics and Code of Conduct for the network;
- Creating a Clearing House for positioning and its responsibilities;
- Ensuring sufficient Funding of a comprehensive strategy plan with differentiated
- Division of roles and responsibilities while lobbying at international policy levels, and
good preparation!;
- Instalment of an independent coordinator (or rotating coordinator) with a clear role and
job description;
- Establishment of selection procedures on expansion of the members in countries and
with other countries.
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This project is funded
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7. Delivering the Policy Message
The Delivery of the Policy Message is the ‘moment supreme’ for every lobbyist,
campaigner, communications officer or director. After lots of preparation you go public
with your well-defined position, together with your allies. The way you go public and who
does it depends on your defined strategy and tactics.
Now is the time that you deliver the products and services that you planned:
 For lobbying: you can prepare a position paper, a political statement, organise an
expert meeting, have a personal meeting with a policy maker, a minister etc.
 For communication you can: prepare a media statement, write an article, write a
reaction, do a media-interview
 For Campaigning: you can organise a petition, hold a demonstration, do a creative
All these activities require different competencies. Especially in direct and personal
contact with policy makers and political decision makers, you have to improve your
personal skills, and reflect on the attitude of yourself, of your political target, and deal with
that in your confrontation and conversation.
That is why you have to practice your skills in different exercise like. The practising of
these competencies are exercise that are part of the API training course.
Personal confrontation with your political target:
- conflict resolution
- win-win negotiation
- presentation skills
- lobby meetings
In media:
- interview training
- television or radio presentation training
- debating training
- communication training
In writing:
- writing skills in policy statement,
- writing media expressions
In campaigning:
- organising the campaign
- motivate and mobilise large groups
In managing PI-networks:
- create and maintain network dynamics (Circle of Coherence) in all phases
- organise the activities
- manage the funding
- monitor the planning and outputs of allies
Lastly, it is very useful to start some reflection and feed back on your attitude, because
body language is more outspoken then words. Many decisions are taken – even in politics
– based on a guts-feeling that you create while speaking to your target.
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In this API we will practice some of these skills, but not all. With respect to attitude we will
have looked into some aspects like ‘dealing with power’ and ‘feed back’ and while having
exercised them in this API training.
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Annex 1
This project is funded
by the European Union.
The Policy Influencing Cycle
Policy Influencing Cycle
Identify the
policy issue
Monitoring &
Lobby, media,
Issue analysis
& fact finding
Deliver the
and interests
the issue
Birth of the
the plan
for PI-plan
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Mapping of
policy process
influencing plan
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Annex 2
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This project is funded
by the European Union.
Co-Financing Organisation
Acronym for: Credibility, Legitimacy, Accountability, Service, Power
Circle of Coherence
Counterpart Organisation
Lobby and Advocacy
Management Development Foundation
Management for Development Results
Non Governmental Organisation
Outcome Mapping
Policy Influencing
Triangle of Change
Theory of Change
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