Key Components of Successful Advocacy Campaigns

Really good campaigns have a way of positioning the issue so that people who might normally look at things from one perspective are drawn instead to consider your point of view because of how you’ve communicated it.

Key components of a successful advocacy campaign include the following:

1. Understand the issue and get all the facts.

2. Find out for whom you are advocating and for what you are advocating e.g. client, patient, and consumer group.

3. Identify the decision maker(s) and find out what their motives are.

4. Identify your allies and find out what their motives are.

5. Identify the detractors/opponents and their motives are.

6. Identify the influencers and their motives.

7. Identify undecided but important people / groups from 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and what would affect their decisions.

8. Identify interested media and what would motivate their interest.

9. Develop strategies; both public and private e.g. letter writing, postcards campaigns, protests, meetings, and demonstrations.

10.Implement strategies approved by those for whom you are advocating appropriate to the situation.

11. Evaluate the strategies e.g. did you achieve your goals, partially or totally; were those for whom you were advocating satisfied with the results and / or process; were you satisfied with the strategies chosen; would you have chosen other approaches; has the implementation been consistent with the principles of advocacy?

12, If you need to continue, return to 2 above and work through the process as many times as necessary.


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What is a Patient Advocate?

A patient advocate is someone who looks out for the best interests of a patient. A patient advocate speaks out in favour of a cause or idea such as ensuring there are more and better treatments and services available.

Governments always have dozens of projects and causes competing for their attention and their funds. It’s a cliché to say that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” but it’s also often true.

But an advocate can’t just make noise and expect results. It’s vital to know:

  • what to say
  • how to say it
  • who to say it to
  • when to say it

Effective patient advocates need to be well informed and have clear and plausible requests that are brought to the right people at the right time. Good advocacy can make very important positive change.

Advocacy is also important in shaping public opinion about issues, since public opinion is the major driver of government policy.

Recent changes to laws to ban children from tanning salons and the raising of public awareness about the dangers of tanning salons for everyone are examples of how advocacy has made a big difference for skin safety in Canada.

How to Become a Patient Advocate

Save Your Skin Foundation does many advocacy activities, such as meeting with and sending information to government officials. If you would like to help us with these activities in your area, we’d love to have you join us.

We can discuss the things you can help us with, and provide you with some tips, training and information that will make you an effective patient advocate.

To get started, send an email to You can also download a copy of Save Your Skin Foundation’s 2016 Advocacy in Action package here: SYSF 2016 Advocacy in Action

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