5 Strategies for Evaluating Your Advocacy Work

People gathered for a political event: how to plan your political event

You’ve worked tirelessly, passionately pushing for your cause and striving to make the world a better place through your political advocacy. The last thing you want to do is let your momentum wane, but periodically pausing, reflecting, and assessing is essential to amplifying your voice and maximizing the reach of your advocacy efforts.

With that in mind, here are five tried-and-true strategies to help you evaluate (and enhance) your advocacy work:

  1. Let Concrete Objectives Be Your North Star

The day-to-day operations that take place behind advocacy are chaotic, and in the midst of all the action, it can be easy to lose sight of your overarching goals. With that said, stop for a moment and consider the last time you asked yourself what success actually looks like.

Concrete objectives will serve as your North Star. They’ll keep you focused, help you decide where to allocate your time and resources, and assist in measuring your success.

While you don’t need to put a number on the overall mission, you should set some measurable goals. For instance, if you are pushing for a more sustainable future by raising awareness about recycling, your goal could be to increase the community recycling rate by 20% in the next 12 months.

Once you set some quantifiable goals, choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress. In the same recycling example, some KPIs could include the percentage of households that have a recycling bin and the actual recycling rate.

  1. Leverage the Power of Data

Data is more than just numbers on a page: It’s a gold mine of insights, and tapping into the right kind of data can help you understand where you’ve been, where you are, and — most importantly — the direction your advocacy initiative needs to take in order to maximize its reach.

Two types of data you need to focus on are as follows:

  • Engagement Metrics: Use analytics to understand who’s interacting with your campaigns; if there is a demographic you’re especially resonating with, use that strength to your advantage
  • Feedback Loops: Consider post-campaign surveys; they are a great way to understand what worked and what didn’t.

Keep in mind that you’ll need some modern advocacy tech to manage both of these forms of data. Check out Aristotle’s advocacy technology and empower your initiatives with actionable insights.

  1. Check Your Initiative’s Heartbeat With a Qualitative Analysis

Though numbers don’t lie, they don’t tell the whole story, either. In the world of advocacy, emotion and voter sentiments are nearly as important as action, so tune into the heartbeat of your movement by gathering qualitative data (non-measurable insights) in the following ways:

  • Gather Stories: If someone is inspired by your campaign to make a significant change, capture that narrative and use it to build momentum.
  • Gauge Media Perception: Monitor your mentions in the media and on social media; whether they are positive, neutral, or mixed will give you an accurate feel for public sentiments.

Personal stories and testimonials provide depth, adding the human touch to your advocacy efforts, and pairing quantifiable data with qualitative analytics provides a holistic view of your impact.

With that said, though, when gathering qualitative data, make sure to cast a wide net and don’t just collect data from volunteers or direct supporters: Speak with the media and even those who may have a negative or neutral perception of your initiative. Once you gauge the full spectrum of sentiments regarding your initiative, you can take control of your organization’s image to make a bigger impact.

  1. Adjust to the Shifting Sands of Policies

Working to influence policy is one of the most common aims of advocacy, but local, state, and especially federal policies are like shifting sands. With so many variables at play, it can be tough to determine whether your efforts are making a real impact.

Here are two things to keep in mind when monitoring the ever-changing tides of policies:

  • Legislative Shifts Indicate Incremental Success: Stay updated on policy changes that relate to your advocacy and celebrate when you see a positive shift, even if it’s a small one
  • Milestones Matter: A key policy-maker may have acknowledged your cause, or perhaps you successfully organized a significant public rally; every step, no matter how small, brings you closer to your goal

Every policy shift or acknowledgment is an impact of your efforts and proof that you’re being heard and making a difference.

  1. Pivot and Prosper: Stay Adaptable

The advocacy landscape is dynamic, which means you must always be nimble, on your feet, and always ready to pivot. A few ways to stay flexible are as follows:

  • Conduct Regular Reviews: Gather your team for periodic strategy reviews; ask the hard questions and get to the bottom of how you can improve
  • Create (and Listen to) Feedback Channels: Cultivate a culture where your team and audience feel comfortable offering candid feedback

It can be tough to stay connected to your cause and target demographic, especially as your advocacy initiative grows, but you have to remain focused on your mission, vision, and the people behind them. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your team and audience will help you know when to redirect and when to stay the course.

Track What Matters With Aristotle

Data is the lifeblood of your advocacy initiative, so you must ensure you have the insights you need to further your cause and make a real impact on the world around you.

Aristotle, a leader in political and advocacy data, can provide the information and tools you need to thrive in the world of advocacy. Schedule a demo today, and let’s change the world for good together.

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