Advocacy evaluation

Advocacy evaluation, also called public policy advocacy design, monitoring, and evaluation, evaluates the progress or outcomes of advocacy, such as changes in public policy. This is different from policy analysis, which generally looks at the results of the policy, or mainstream program evaluation, which assesses whether programs or direct services have been successful. Advocacy strives to influence a program or policy either directly or indirectly; therefore, the influence is being evaluated, rather than the results of that influence. Advocacy evaluators seek to understand the extent to which advocacy efforts have contributed to the advancement of a goal or policy. They do this in order to learn what works, what does not, and what works better in order to achieve advocacy goals and improve future efforts.

Goals of advocacy (dependent variables)

In order to evaluate something, one must know the goals of the program/activity, in this case - advocacy efforts. Policy advocacy evaluation focuses on the contribution towards achieving policy, and not on the results of that policy. Policy advocacy evaluators look at these dependent variables (many of which interrelate significantly with movement in the policy cycle):

Intermediate Goal Examples:

  • Increased awareness of constituents about the need for policy (Problem Identification -> Agenda Setting)
  • Change in rate of key-words use by politicians, sometimes starting from 0 (Problem Identification -> Agenda Setting)
  • Increase in ratio of policy being implemented according to the adopted legislation (Adoption->Implementation)
  • Developed capacity of advocacy actor or network of actors to conduct advocacy efforts

Ultimate Goals

  • Policy change itself in the desired direction (of the policy cycle). This is the highest level intermediate outcome, and as an inherent best practice, is the goal of most policy advocacy efforts. Policy Advocacy works to move a policy through the policy cycle.

Distinct challenges of advocacy evaluation

  • Contribution vs. attribution: Since multiple actors campaign simultaneously for and against any given policy, it is difficult to ascertain attribution. Evaluating contributions is preferred in this case as it allows multiple actors to influence the degree of success.
  • Long term nature of advocacy: Since many advocacy goals are long term, measuring impact can be a challenge. Instead, outcomes, interim progress, and intermediary goals are the preferred measures of influence.
  • Shifting strategies: Since the context that advocates work within is ever-changing, advocates adapt their strategies, which creates a difficult environment in which to monitor progress.
  • Complexity and theories of change: logic models and theories of change for advocacy campaigns are inherently complex; for example: protests+lobbying+media campaigns -> contribution to policy change. These kinds of theories of change have so many layers, nuances, and uncontrollable factors to them that intra and inter organizational agreement is difficult, making strategic planning, and evaluation all the more challenging.

Typology of policy advocacy

Direct Advocacy (Directly trying to influence policy makers):

  • Lobbying (also known as direct lobbying) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by government officials, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups use lobbying.

Indirect Advocacy (Indirectly influencing policymakers by getting their constituents to advocate):

  • Grassroots lobbying (also known as indirect lobbying) is a form of lobbying that focuses on raising awareness of a particular cause at the local level, with the intention of reaching the legislature and making a difference in the decision-making process. Grassroots lobbying is an approach that separates itself from direct lobbying through the act of asking the public to contact legislators and government officials concerning the issue at hand, as opposed to conveying the message to the legislators directly.
  • Activism consists of intentional efforts to promote or prevent social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms including, from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, and hunger strikes.
  • Astroturfing supports political, organizational, or corporate agendas, and is designed to give the appearance of a "grassroots" movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service, or event.

See also

Source documents

Advocacy evaluation:

Contribution Analysis:

External links

Examples of Advocacy Evaluation

Note – some of the following evaluations should be seen as forms of "Proto" Advocacy Evaluation, done prior to, or without regard for, current best practices in this field. Many simultaneously conduct policy analysis and advocacy evaluation. Most are, at the least, useful examples for anyone wishing to conduct Advocacy Evaluation.

Activism

Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society. Forms of activism range from mandate building in the community (including writing letters to newspapers), petitioning elected officials, running or contributing to a political campaign, preferential patronage (or boycott) of businesses, and demonstrative forms of activism like rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, or hunger strikes.

Activism may be performed on a day-to-day basis in a wide variety of ways, including through the creation of art (artivism), computer hacking (hacktivism), or simply in how one chooses to spend their money (economic activism). For example, the refusal to buy clothes or other merchandise from a company as a protest against the exploitation of workers by that company could be considered an expression of activism. However, the most highly visible and impactful activism often comes in the form of collective action, in which numerous individuals coordinate an act of protest together in order to make a bigger impact. Collective action that is purposeful, organized, and sustained over a period of time becomes known as a social movement.Historically, activists have used literature, including pamphlets, tracts, and books to disseminate their messages and attempt to persuade their readers of the justice of their cause. Research has now begun to explore how contemporary activist groups use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action combining politics with technology.The Online Etymology Dictionary records the English words "activism" and "activist" as in use in the political sense from the year 1920 or 1915 respectively.

Community practice

Community practice also known as macro practice is a branch of social work in the United States of America that focuses on larger social systems and social change, and is tied to the historical roots of United States social work. The field of community practice social work encompasses community organizing, social planning, human service management, community development, policy analysis, policy advocacy, evaluation, mediation, electronic advocacy and other larger systems interventions.

In the UK the term is often used for community work or Health visitors.

Although community practice has overlap with many other applied social science disciplines, such as urban planning, economic development, public affairs, rural sociology and nonprofit management, its roots go back as far as the 1890s. Community Practice social workers typically have a Masters in Social Work (MSW). There are several MSW programs in the United States that offer Community Practice Concentrations, while many other MSW programs offer specializations in one or several types of community practice, such as social services administration or policy analysis. The professional group of community practitioners in the USA is the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), which publishes the leading journal in the field, The Journal of Community Practice.

Grassroots lobbying

Grassroots lobbying (also indirect lobbying) is lobbying with the intention of reaching the legislature and making a difference in the decision-making process. Grassroots lobbying is an approach that separates itself from direct lobbying through the act of asking the general public to contact legislators and government officials concerning the issue at hand, as opposed to conveying the message to the legislators directly. Companies, associations and citizens are increasingly partaking in grassroots lobbying as an attempt to influence a change in legislation.The unique characteristic of grassroots lobbying, in contrast to other forms of lobbying, is that it involves stimulating the politics of specific communities. This type of lobbying is different from the more commonly known direct lobbying, as it is naturally brought upon by the organization.

Lobbying

Lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in their daily life, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within their electoral district; they may engage in lobbying as a business. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation, regulation, or other government decisions, actions, or policies on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job. Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

The ethics and morals involved with lobbying are complicated. Lobbying can, at times, be spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law in order to serve their own interests. When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials with a duty to serve their constituents' interests or more broadly the public good, can benefit by shaping the law to serve the interests of some private parties, a conflict of interest exists. Many critiques of lobbying point to the potential for conflicts of interest to lead to agent misdirection or the intentional failure of an agent with a duty to serve an employer, client, or constituent to perform those duties. The failure of government officials to serve the public interest as a consequence of lobbying by special interests who provide benefits to the official is an example of agent misdirection.

Policy advocacy

Policy advocacy is defined as active, covert, or inadvertent support of a particular policy or class of policies. Whether it is proper for scientists and other technical experts to act as advocates for their personal policy preferences is contentious. In the scientific community, much of the controversy around policy advocacy involves precisely defining the proper role of science and scientists in the political process. Some scientists choose to act as policy advocates, while others regard such a dichotomous role as inappropriate.Providing technical and scientific information to inform policy deliberations in an objective and relevant way is recognized as a difficult problem in many scientific and technical professions. The challenge and conflicts have been studied for those working as stock analysts in brokerage firms, for medical experts testifying in malpractice trials, for funding officers at international development agencies, and for intelligence analysts within governmental national security agencies. The job of providing accurate, relevant, and policy neutral information is especially challenging if highly controversial policy issues (such as climate change) that have a significant scientific component. The use of normative science by scientists is a common method used to subtly advocate for preferred policy choices.

Policy analysis

Policy analysis is a technique used in public administration to enable civil servants, activists, and others to examine and evaluate the available options to implement the goals of laws and elected officials. The process is also used in the administration of large organizations with complex policies. It has been defined as the process of "determining which of various policies will achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals." Policy analysis can be divided into two major fields:

Analysis of existing policy, which is analytical and descriptive – it attempts to explain policies and their development

Analysis for new policy, which is prescriptive – it is involved with formulating policies and proposals (for example: to improve social welfare)The areas of interest and the purpose of analysis determine what types of analysis are conducted. A combination of two kinds of policy analyses together with program evaluation is defined as policy studies. Policy analysis is frequently deployed in the public sector, but is equally applicable elsewhere, such as nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations. Policy analysis has its roots in systems analysis, an approach used by United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the 1960s.

Public policy

Public policy is the principled guide to action taken by the administrative executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues, in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs.

Shayfeencom

Shayfeencom (Egyptian Arabic: We are watching you) is an initiative that started with three Egyptian women (a prominent TV newscaster, a university professor, and a marketing consultant) to help bring political reform and democracy to Egypt.Shayfeencom is a popular movement, working on monitoring the legality and integrity of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Egypt through the participation of the public. The movement aims to end corruption in the governmental and non-governmental institutions through public monitoring, and aims to educate the public to increase awareness of the principles of democracy.

Shayfeencom was officially established in 2005 by a group of non-politically oriented individuals, and started its first monitoring and observation experience in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections. Within the first month of launching the initiative, 5,000 people volunteered and joined online, and over 1,000 volunteers actively participated in monitoring elections. Today, the movement includes over 10 founding members, and thousands of regular members.

Shayfeencom is a nonprofit organization, without political or economic ideologies; all financing to the movement is done through Egyptian individuals.

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