Engage in Self-Assessment and Adaptation of Advocacy Strategy
To achieve success, advocates must be willing to continuously adapt the advocacy strategy and lobbying tactics as new information, progress and setbacks provide feedback on the effectiveness of the effort. For example, with legislative advocacy because of the number of variables involved in passing new legislation or amending existing legislation, advocates must be flexible while at the same time persistent in moving forward with the objectives. Advocates and lobbyists should:
  • Know the legislative process and procedure and negotiate it constantly;
  • Seek effective champions and make sure they receive credit among their peers and in public throughout the process;
  • Remain true to principles, but be willing to be flexible on the details such as timing and the scope of the legislation’s provisions or methods of implementation;
  • Build support and intensity, while choosing moves carefully;
  • Engage in vote counting constantly and learn how one member’s vote affects another member’s vote while also assessing the legislative body’s culture;
  • Evaluate selected activities for potential risks to constituents;
  • Mobilize constituents based on vote counts to influence legislators at the critical points in the advocacy effort;
  • Establish the NGO as an authoritative and credible resource to gain standing with legislators and other decision makers – remember that one of the most important accomplishments is to have a legislator solicit advice on an issue;
  • Evaluate and modify the message for people working at the grassroots level on the issue – it needs to be understandable and not too technical;
  • Refine tactics and strategies so that ineffective ones are discarded and new approaches incorporated into evolving campaigns; and
  • Always listen carefully – hear what the grassroots, legislators, media, and community (local, national, regional and international) are saying and pay attention to what they say, weighing it and making strategic changes as needed.
See: Legislative Advocacy Resource Guide: Promoting Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Global Rights, 12, 2005; and Women’s Human Rights Step by Step, Women, Law & Development International and Human Rights Watch, 1997.
  • In Mongolia,advocates began lobbying for the passage of a law against domestic violence in 1996 encountering numerous challenges during the eight year process of securing its enactment. The Law on Combating Domestic Violence was unanimously adopted by the Parliament of Mongolia on May 13, 2004. Approximately a year after the passage of the law, which applies to family members and relatives, the death of a boy who had previously been beaten by his step-father led to several other changes in the government’s response to domestic violence. The Mongolian National Center Against Violence (NCAV) lobbied the government to create a national program to address domestic violence, which led to partial government funding for shelters. The NCAV also asked the Mongolian Supreme Court to review the Law on Combating Domestic Violence and interpret the provisions and provide guidance to practitioners. The Supreme Court declared that “the issuance of a restraining order for the perpetrator shall not require proof of physical damage to the victim and that separation measures mean that the court require the perpetrator not to live with the victim(s) in the same home.” See: Response from the National Center Against Violence, 12 March 2010; Mongolia Adopts Domestic Violence Bill, StopVAW, 8 June 2004; Mongolia Adopts Domestic Violence Bill, UNIFEM Currents Newsletter, May/June 2004.