Making A Policy Advocacy Plan

What is the geographic scope of your effort? 
Are you targeting change for the state, a city, or a municipality? The geographic parameters of your effort will shape the types of policy strategies, models, and solutions possible. The Policy Efforts & Impacts section includes examples of policy models that you can consider. Use the Find Money & Policy Efforts by State map to find more examples by geography. The Business Models page showcases the various types of healthy food projects that could be most appropriate for your community, the specific needs and challenges to supporting that model, and what policy strategies can help support these businesses.

Who are the key decision makers you’re trying to influence?

Understanding who the key decision makers are in your areas and how to connect with them is a key strategy for any policy advocacy campaign. Researching and understanding their interest areas and how to frame your issue to engage them appropriately and early on will help your campaign be successful.

What is the timeline for your effort? 
Moving policy efforts forward—from start to adoption to implemention—takes time and sustained energy. Depending on the degree and level of change you are trying to achieve, each process has a different timeline, requirements, formats, and other milestones along the way. Local policies may require shorter time periods, while state and federal processes follow longer legislative and budgetary timelines. For all processes, however, stakeholder and community engagement should be a critical part of the process and should be planned and accounted for. These pre-development efforts ensure that policy efforts are driven by those most impacted by the issue, are timely and responsive to the needs of a community, and have buy-in from important stakeholders who can be mobilized in the future.

Have you conducted a power mapping or SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats) analysis? 
These analyses are important for better understanding the policy and decision-making landscape of your community and target of your policy and advocacy efforts. They can help create more strategic and targeted plans of action, with clarity around who is the decision maker or decision-making body that can most influence this issue, as well as who are potential allies, supporters, and opponents.

What will success look like? What are your indicators for success? 
Identifying key goals and deliverables at each stage of the process are important tools to monitor progress and allow you to make adjustments and refinements as needed, ensuring each activity is contributing to the larger goal. For example, your first goal for the pre-development stage might be identifying and engaging key stakeholders in your region—this represents a first step toward the final goal of advancing an equitable food policy change at the county level.

  • Go to Metrics for Healthy Communities to explore tools and a template logic model to help plan and evaluate community health efforts, including healthy food access.