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GETTING EQUITY ADVOCACY RESULTS


GEAR
Getting Equity
Advocacy Results
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EQUITY
An interactive look at benchmarks and strategies to track equity advocacy. Click the GEAR Components tab to dissect the major components and benchmarks of equity advocacy, or explore how to Get Equity Advocacy Results with the System in Action. Skip the graphic interface by clicking the Text Version button to the right.
Equity is: Just and fair inclusion. A society in which all can participate and prosper. Community conditions that allow all members to reach their full potential. A path from hope to change.
RESET
Ongoing Organizing
Thoughtful, purposeful organizing must be in place at the outset of a campaign, and must be revisited throughout the campaign. It ensures that the community voice is loudly driving change, and that a strong infrastructure is available for ongoing advocacy and monitoring. It involves forming a collaborative of community members, their allies, and new partners early in a campaign to address a common problem. It requires ongoing work to maintain collaborative functioning and to ensure that campaign actions are guided by both technical expertise and authentic community wisdom. The identification of common objectives, collective assets, and shared power across a collaborative allows for the development of impactful strategy. The creation of a clear governance structure and the building of trust among partners and allies allow for smooth and efficient decision making and coordination throughout the campaign. 

Examples of related benchmarks include:
  • At the BUILD THE BASE stage: There is a strong and ongoing commitment among collaborative members to one another and to advancing the community vision.
  • At the NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS stage: 
The structure of the campaign and the leadership of the collaborative are assessed upon selection of the policy change objectives and adjusted to ensure authentic community experience, diverse representation, and technical capacity.
  • At the MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL stage: 
Collaborative strength and capacity is sustained through respect to collaborative members’ non-negotiable elements, regular checks of members’ comfort level with strategies, and transparent governance and leadership accountability.
  • At the BUILD, ADVANCE, and DEFEND stage: Opportunities for community members to learn about the equity issue and community conditions and to develop skills related to organizing, research, communications, and capacity building are more available and utilized more following implementation.
Ongoing Capacity Building
Advocacy capacity must be present from the outset of a campaign, but can be built throughout a campaign by developing community understanding of the policy process and strategies for engagement in the policy process, deepening knowledge of policy facts, and refining skills of strategizing and negotiating with policymakers. A successful campaign also requires leadership savvy to facilitate diverse partnerships, nimbly navigate changing processes, and broker external agreements. Campaign leaders must understand policy processes, have connections to powerful leaders, decision makers, and other key players, and be willing to take risks and make strategic decisions.  

Examples of related benchmarks include:
  • At the BUILD THE BASE stage: 
Paths to leadership within the collaborative are transparent, available to, and endorsed by members of the collaborative.
  • At the NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS stage: 
Community knowledge and expertise and academic and professional research are combined to understand the problem and develop possible policy change objectives.
  • At the MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL stage: 
Enhanced advocacy leadership and the cultivation of new leaders through capacity-building activities expand advocacy for the proposal and support for the overall effort. 
  • At the BUILD, ADVANCE, and DEFEND stage: 
Community members gain power through election, appointment, invitation, or other engagement in decision-making entities and processes.
Ongoing Communications
Equity advocates must make important decisions about how and when to strategically publicize their message, and to whom. Effective communications advocacy delivers the right message to the right audience by the right messenger at the right time. This requires a communications strategy that weaves in and out of each stage of a campaign to address different needs and goals using the right medium—which could be anything from informational flyers and postcards to printed news opinion pieces to TV news segments or social media. At the outset of a campaign, communications supports base-building activities by publicizing the issue and recruiting key allies and partners. Before a policy is introduced, traditional and non-traditional media play a key role in naming and framing the issue, and activating support. During a campaign, media-framing analyses provide insight into the changing perceptions of the issue and policy among target audiences, and social media analytics can help advocates track the effectiveness of their online advocacy approaches. Thoughtfulness around the campaign messaging and dissemination strategies assures that ideas and information regarding the issue and the policy solutions are reaching policymakers and other strategic stakeholders to advance equity. 

Examples of related benchmarks include:
  • At the BUILD THE BASE stage: 
The collaborative is committed to implementing and leveraging a strategic communications plan to sharpen its advocacy strategy.
  • At the NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS stage: 
Communications activities (e.g., fact sheets and other written materials, commentary, articles, media interviews, staged media events, etc.) promote awareness and understanding of the problem, and help to broaden understanding and support for the policy change objectives among target audiences.
  • At the MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL stage: 
The framing and messaging employed by the collaborative regarding the problem and the policy change objectives are repeated and used by policymakers in the decision-making process.
  • At the BUILD, ADVANCE, and DEFEND stage: 
Media and framing analyses reveal increased and improved prominence of the equity issue in the public discourse following the introduction and adoption of the policy proposal.
Ongoing Research
Research is an ongoing task throughout a policy campaign, but as an independent goal, serves an important purpose in defining the strategy, and potential success, of a policy initiative. The purpose of research in a campaign is twofold. Externally, research is a crucial ingredient to educate the public, the media, and individual policymakers, answering key questions about the problem and the efficacy of the proposed solution. Reliable data and facts about the issue and the conditions contributing to inequity are important to influence and convince policymakers of the need for change. Research is also important internally for sustaining advocacy activities. Internal research, like power analyses, which assess the political landscape to identify winnable issues, helps advocates determine the appropriate scale and targets for policy change.  

Examples of related benchmarks include:
  • At the BUILD THE BASE stage: 
Initial power mapping reveals individuals, organizations, and interest groups that have the power, both formally and informally, to make, influence, or block decisions regarding possible policy change objectives.
  • At the NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS stage: 
Data and information to understand the problem and possible policy change objectives are disaggregated (e.g., by population, place, race, etc.) and analyzed frequently during the campaign to illuminate the equity dimensions (e.g., consequences for people of different race, class, or gender) of the possible policy change objectives.
  • At the MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL stage: 
Research and information regarding the problem and the proposal are written and shared strategically (e.g., research papers, issue briefs, educational materials, etc.) with target audiences.
  • At the BUILD, ADVANCE, and DEFEND stage: 
Traditional and community-based research reveals increased traction of community input in decision making.
Benchmarks to BUILD THE BASE
Changing the challenging conditions that affect low-income people and communities of color requires a “grassroots to treetops” approach that connects the experiences of people on the ground with the decisions about policies that shape communities. Any campaign for equity – whether proactive efforts to change organizational rules, defensive efforts to block inequitable legislation, or strategic efforts to place community leaders in positions of power – must stem from the experience and engagement of those directly affected. Effective organizing and a strong base of popular support lie at the heart of every successful equity campaign, and are critical as both steps and outcomes for advocacy.

Equity advocacy efforts to BUILD THE BASE include four key components: issue identification, community visioning and organizing, initial power analyses, and planning the advocacy strategy. Benchmarks for each of these areas, and guiding questions to navigate them, are detailed below.
Get Ready:
BUILD THE BASE FOR EQUITY ADVOCACY
Issue Identification
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What is the problem, and what are the key equity dimensions associated with it? A salient problem is identified by community residents, leaders, and organizations, and its equity dimensions (e.g., consequences for people of different races, classes, or genders) are understood and illustrated with reliable research (e.g., disaggregated statistical data, community-based research).
Who bears the burden of the inequities resulting from this problem? Impacts on specific groups, communities and people most affected by the problem are revealed through traditional research and community-based research (e.g., demographic and economic secondary data, collection of primary information from and by residents, mapping of community trends).
Community Visioning and Organizing
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How central are the people most impacted by the problem to creating a vision and plan for equitable change? The groups, communities, and people most affected by the problem identify it as a priority for change. Outreach strategies, capacity- building efforts, and information that is appropriate, available, and accessible (e.g., culturally, linguistically, and physically) to them may have furthered their understanding and engagement.
A visioning process, driven by community dialogue – particularly among those most affected by the problem – produces a collective vision of the community’s future.
Diverse and strategic stakeholders, including those most affected by the problem, commit to working together as a collaborative to create equitable change.
What supports are available to sustain and strengthen an inclusive and ongoing organizing effort for change? The collective expertise of the collaborative includes both community leaders bringing authentic community wisdom as well as advisors bringing technical expertise to jointly validate the problem, inform the campaign strategy, and justify policy change objectives.
Trust between collaborative members is maintained through honest communication between members about their changing motives, goals, and individual and organizational priorities for participating in the campaign for policy change.
Communication between collaborative members involves regular and timely flow of information.
Sufficient resources (e.g., financial, human, etc.) are available to support organizing and visioning activities.
How does the leadership of the collaborative demonstrate equity, and how well is that leadership supported? Leadership of the collaborative includes leaders from the community and reflects its racial diversity and the diversity of engaged interests.
Paths to leadership within the collaborative are transparent, available to, and endorsed by members of the collaborative.
Leadership of the collaborative has timely access to the research, information, partners, and key informants necessary to advance the campaign.
Leadership of the collaborative is accountable for and empowered to manage a diverse membership, and to ensure ongoing member engagement and conflict resolution.
The capacity of the leadership of the collaborative to make strategic decisions and difficult choices is continually improving.
Initial Power Analyses
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What aspects of the collaborative contribute to its power to create change? There is a strong and ongoing commitment among collaborative members to one another and to advancing the community vision.
The core strategy of the campaign is informed by the knowledge, strengths, and assets of collaborative members, and accelerated by continually building collaborative members’ skills and capacities to advance policy change objectives.
Ongoing recruitment of new collaborative members from the community and various fields of expertise brings new energy, fresh perspectives, power, and skills to the collaborative.
What external factors influence the power of the collaborative to create change? Equity analyses, built upon dialogue and learning between collaborative members, reveal the institutional factors influencing the problem, and contribute to the findings from power mapping exercises.
Initial power mapping reveals individuals, organizations, and interest groups that have the power, both formally and informally, to make, influence, or block decisions regarding possible policy change objectives.
Ongoing power mapping reveals how groups, communities, and people that are most impacted by the problem, both within the collaborative and in the community at large, could gain power to advance the campaign.
Planning the Advocacy Strategy
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How do decisions regarding advocacy strategy maximize the effectiveness of the collaborative? The governance structure of the collaborative is transparent and designed to strategically leverage the assets of its members to advance the campaign toward the community vision.
The agenda and campaign strategy are transparent and endorsed by members of the collaborative.
Sufficient resources (e.g., financial, human, etc.) are available to support research, communications, and strategic planning activities focused on the campaign.
Agreements regarding decisions and operations of the collaborative are identified and expressed in writing at important times.
How are research and communications integrated into collaborative planning and implementation operations? A clear strategy is established for conducting research, analyzing information, and disaggregating data to inform the equity dimensions of the campaign throughout its duration.
A “feedback loop” directs information regarding decision processes and outcomes efficiently and effectively to members of the collaborative.
The collaborative is committed to monitoring its course and revisiting its understanding of the problem, in order to remain current and effective in its campaign for equity.
The collaborative is committed to implementing and leveraging a strategic communications plan to sharpen its advocacy strategy.
Benchmarks to NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS
Equity advocacy efforts require a great deal of preparation before a campaign for equity can be undertaken. To achieve policy change, equity advocates must develop a clear understanding and description of the problem, and develop policy change objectives that engage and satisfy multiple stakeholders. Careful attention to developing and vetting a communications strategy, with a focus on language and messages, as well as an approach to social and traditional media, have important consequences for the final outcome of the campaign and the advances toward greater equity achieved along the way.

Equity advocacy to NAME AND FRAME THE SOLUTIONS includes four key components: research and identification of the problem and policy change objectives, framing the problem and policy change objectives, identification and cultivation of stakeholders and allies, and identification and development of strategies for decreasing opposition. Benchmarks for each of these areas, and guiding questions to navigate them, are detailed below.
Get Set:
NAME AND FRAME THE EQUITY SOLUTIONS
Research and Identification of Change Objectives
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What research is used to understand the problem and identify possible policy change objectives? Identification of possible policy change objectives is informed by thorough research and analysis of the problem, its causes, its impacts on people and communities, and the potential opportunities to advance equity.
Data and information to understand the problem and possible policy change objectives are disaggregated (e.g., by population, place, race, etc.) and analyzed frequently during the campaign to illuminate the equity dimensions (e.g., consequences for people of different race, class, or gender) of the possible policy change objectives.
Community knowledge and expertise and academic and professional research are combined to understand the problem and develop possible policy change objectives.
Data and information are available and accessible (e.g., culturally, linguistically, and physically) to the collaborative to support selection of policy change objectives with desired equity impacts.
How does the selection of policy change objectives consider and improve conditions for equity? Selection of the policy change objectives is informed by accurate, up-to-date information on the changing social, political, and environmental circumstances surrounding the problem.
The structure of the campaign and the leadership of the collaborative are assessed upon selection of the policy change objectives and adjusted to ensure authentic community experience, diverse representation, and technical capacity.
There is a clear connection between the policy change objectives and meaningful change to reduce or eliminate the problem and bring the community closer to its vision of the future.
Framing the Issue and Change Objectives
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What are the key messages of the equity advocacy effort? Language, messaging and framing about the problem and the policy change objectives are developed and agreed to by collaborative members.
Framing analyses – studies of the themes, ideas, and messages used in the media – inform the campaign strategy about perceptions of the specific problem, the policy change objectives, and overall views of equity.
How are messages packaged and delivered to target audiences? Target audiences for campaign message delivery are identified by leveraging power mapping information to identify policymakers and their advisors, and communications research identifies the favored forms of media among these people and their constituents.
Language, messaging, and framing agreed to by collaborative members are consistently used when contacting target audiences (e.g., policymakers, thought leaders, media, etc.).
Communications activities (e.g., fact sheets and other written materials, commentary, articles, media interviews, staged media events, etc.) promote awareness and understanding of the problem, and help to broaden understanding and support for the policy change objectives among target audiences.
Communications regarding the problem and the policy change objectives are accessible (e.g., culturally, linguistically, and physically) to the target audiences, and make use of specific cultural and ethnic media outlets.
In what ways do strategic communications activities advance the cause? The framing and messaging employed by the collaborative regarding the problem and the policy change objectives are repeated and used by target audiences.
Target audiences take action in response to calls to action for the campaign for policy change.
The collaborative is sought by policymakers, thought leaders, allies and the media as a credible and expert voice about both the problem and policy change objectives.
Social norms (e.g., public beliefs, attitudes, values, priorities, behaviors) related to the problem shift to reflect or become better aligned with the policy change objectives.
Identification and Cultivation of Allies
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How are influential supporters and champions of the policy change objectives identified and cultivated? The discussions and efforts of the collaborative, together with periodic power mapping, identify different categories of potential supporters: those who are part of the policy process and external to it, existing and potential champions, allied policymakers, unlikely allies, and others.
Influential supporters, internal and external champions, unlikely allies, and allied policymakers are consulted about the policy change objectives and the direction of the campaign.
Collaborative members and their allies strategically raise awareness of the problem and build support for the policy change objectives.
New, needed champions are identified and a strategy to develop and secure their participation in the campaign is developed.
How are influential supporters and champions of the cause mobilized and retained for ongoing participation in the campaign? Development of the campaign strategy reflects restrictions of participating collaborative members (e.g., non-negotiable criteria regarding advocacy outcomes).
Development of the campaign strategy reflects restrictions of participating collaborative members (e.g., non-negotiable criteria regarding advocacy outcomes).
Leadership of the collaborative shares an understanding of the goals and restrictions of the campaign participants (e.g., non-negotiable criteria regarding advocacy outcomes), as well as the strategies being used to advance policy change objectives.
Collaborative members develop new or refine existing skills and knowledge to encourage and support continued and expanded involvement in advocacy activities.
The collaborative consistently tracks its base of support in terms of the hurdles it must surpass to advance its campaign goals and identifies needs for additional support and the strategies to secure it.
Identification and Development of Strategies to Decrease Opposition
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How are opponents to the cause identified? The discussions and efforts of the collaborative, together with periodic power mapping, identify different categories of potential opponents: institutions and influential people who are “on the fence,” disagree with the equity framing and/or are opposed to the policy change objectives. Strategies are developed to try to move those on the fence to become supporters and for opposition to be decreased and isolated.
Media analyses and framing analyses reveal the activities and allies of the opposition, and strategies are developed to respond either directly or through adjustments in proactive strategies.
Collaborative members commit to leveraging useful relationships to help advance the campaign.
How is opposition to the campaign averted? Communications activities frame the debate and set the agenda in favor of the policy change objectives to proactively block the opposition.
Strategies are developed to persuade those who are undecided about the policy change objectives to become supporters and/or dissuade from engaging in public discourse to defeat the campaign.
How is opposition to the campaign isolated, blocked or countered? Efforts to block or counter the opposition to the policy change objectives include both proactive and defensive strategies.
Research reveals key points of the opposition’s position, their tactics and activities. Strategies to inoculate or respond are developed and implemented.
Debate and dialogue with the opposition reveal points of agreement between both sides, possibilities for improvement in the equity advocacy position, or opportunities for compromise or partnership that do not compromise the policy change objectives of the collaborative or of individual members’ restrictions (e.g., non-negotiable criteria regarding advocacy outcomes).
Strategies are developed to try to move those on the fence to become supporters and for opposition to be decreased and isolated.
Communications and advocacy activities discredit or decrease the perceived impact of opponents’ activities and statements among target audiences. Strategies are developed to respond either directly or through adjustments in proactive strategies.
Benchmarks to MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL
Opportunities to advance equity abound in the numerous activities associated with different advocacy efforts. Organizing, base building, and capacity building activities expand community leadership, increase power, and build momentum to address important equity issues. Research and communications activities illustrate and disseminate important information about issues, reaching important policymakers and thought leaders.

Moving a proposal for equitable policy change includes five major components: negotiations to develop the change proposal, introduction of the policy change proposal, launch of the campaign for policy change, movement and modification of the change proposal, and success, redirection or failure of the change proposal. Benchmarks for each of these areas, and guiding questions to navigate them, are detailed below.
Go:
MOVE THE EQUITY PROPOSAL
Negotiations to Develop the Change Proposal
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How well do stakeholders, allies, and policymakers understand the problem and policy change objectives? Policymakers and their associates – including those who may be responsible for implementation of the decision later, and especially those with leadership on the issue – are aware of the problem and knowledgeable about its details and equity dimensions.
Policymakers and their associates are aware of the policy change objectives.
Some policymakers and their associates are champions for change and the policy change objectives.
How deep is the engagement of policymakers in advancing the policy change objectives?
 Policymakers champion the policy change objectives by speaking out and spreading information to strategic audiences, building on the efforts of the collaborative.
Events and engagements (e.g., briefings, speaking engagements, protests) about the equity issue and policy change objectives raise awareness, build credibility, and garner growing support.
Introduction of the Change Proposal
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What is the policy change proposal? A proposal to change public policy (e.g., legislation, a ballot initiative, regulatory change, litigation, etc.), other policy (e.g., procedural rules, organizational policies and procedures, etc.), or other power structure (e.g. inclusion or representation in decision-making bodies, etc.) is developed to address the problem, and is consistent with the collaborative’s policy change objectives.
The proposal is championed by a strategically positioned policymaker and endorsed by other policymakers.
The proposal is introduced into a formal decision-making process (e.g., bill is introduced, proposed regulation is released, etc.).
How well does the collaborative navigate the changing social and political environments that influence the proposal? The problem and proposal maintain visibility among policymakers and engaged stakeholders.
Advocacy strategies and internal communications are regularly reviewed to identify opportunities for new support and alliances.
Strategies and tactics are flexible – both proactive and defensive – to respond to fluid political dynamics and perceptions of the issue.
Launch of the Campaign for Change
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What ongoing organizing and community capacity- building activities support the advancement of the proposal? Continued engagement of community and local leaders and experts through organizing and outreach activities build new and improve existing partnerships and alliances.
Collaborative strength and capacity is sustained through respect to collaborative members’ non-negotiable elements, regular checks of members’ comfort level with strategies, and transparent governance and leadership accountability.
Enhanced advocacy leadership and the cultivation of new leaders through capacity-building activities expand advocacy for the proposal and support for the overall effort.
How do ongoing research activities support the advancement of the proposal? Research and information regarding the problem and the proposal are written and shared strategically (e.g., research papers, issue briefs, educational materials, etc.) with target audiences.
Flexibility to refine or change research, communications or campaign strategies when needed allows the collaborative to effectively navigate the policymaking process.
In what ways do strategic communications activities advance the proposal through stages of the decision-making process? The framing and messaging employed by the collaborative regarding the problem and the policy change objectives are repeated and used by policymakers in the decision-making process.
Policymakers respond favorably to calls to action from the collaborative, its members, and their allies.
Policymaker champions are sought as a credible and expert voice about both the problem and policy change objectives.
How do leadership decisions promote the advancement of the proposal? For public policy proposals, decisions to engage in direct lobbying are made at relevant and strategic points in the campaign.
Collaborative members, allies, and champions demonstrate increased accountability, motivation, and engagement, over time.
There is alignment between the resources of the collaborative and support of advocacy activities; core groups are able to remain engaged as the proposal passes through stages of decision-making.
Movement and Modification of the Change Proposal
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How are collaborative activities associated with the progress of the policy change proposal? Movement of the proposal through the decision-making process reaps new or previously unidentified allies.
Proactive tracking and understanding of the decision-making process reveals opportunities for strategic advocacy (e.g., testifying before policymakers, lobbying, speaking at public hearings, media blasts, etc.).
Strategic advocacy activities (e.g., testifying before policymakers, lobbying, speaking at public hearings, media blasts, etc.) aim at specific steps in the decision-making process.
Ineffective proposals are rejected even without a viable alternative.
Success, Redirection or Failure of the Change Proposal
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How does the final decision on the proposal affect campaign activities? The collaborative and the affected community have a shared understanding of the equity “wins” and their role in influencing those wins, and champions them.
The collaborative is prepared to revisit its advocacy strategy if the final decision on the proposal is rejected.
The collaborative has a strategy in place to advocate for effective implementation once the proposal is formally adopted.
What supports are available to sustain and strengthen an inclusive and ongoing organizing effort for change? The collective expertise of the collaborative includes both community leaders bringing authentic community wisdom as well as advisors bringing technical expertise to jointly validate the problem, inform the campaign strategy, and justify policy change objectives.
Trust between collaborative members is maintained through honest communication between members about their changing motives, goals, and individual and organizational priorities for participating in the campaign for policy change.
Communication between collaborative members involves regular and timely flow of information.
Sufficient resources (e.g., financial, human, etc.) are available to support organizing and visioning activities.
How does the leadership of the collaborative demonstrate equity, and how well is that leadership supported? Leadership of the collaborative includes leaders from the community and reflects its racial diversity and the diversity of engaged interests.
Paths to leadership within the collaborative are transparent, available to, and endorsed by members of the collaborative.
Leadership of the collaborative has timely access to the research, information, partners, and key informants necessary to advance the campaign.
Leadership of the collaborative is accountable for and empowered to manage a diverse membership, and to ensure ongoing member engagement and conflict resolution.
The capacity of the leadership of the collaborative to make strategic decisions and difficult choices is continually improving.
Initial Power Analyses
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What aspects of the collaborative contribute to its power to create change? There is a strong and ongoing commitment among collaborative members to one another and to advancing the community vision.
The core strategy of the campaign is informed by the knowledge, strengths, and assets of collaborative members, and accelerated by continually building collaborative members’ skills and capacities to advance policy change objectives.
Ongoing recruitment of new collaborative members from the community and various fields of expertise brings new energy, fresh perspectives, power, and skills to the collaborative.
What external factors influence the power of the collaborative to create change? Equity analyses, built upon dialogue and learning between collaborative members, reveal the institutional factors influencing the problem, and contribute to the findings from power mapping exercises.
Initial power mapping reveals individuals, organizations, and interest groups that have the power, both formally and informally, to make, influence, or block decisions regarding possible policy change objectives.
Ongoing power mapping reveals how groups, communities, and people that are most impacted by the problem, both within the collaborative and in the community at large, could gain power to advance the campaign.
Planning the Advocacy Strategy
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How do decisions regarding advocacy strategy maximize the effectiveness of the collaborative? The governance structure of the collaborative is transparent and designed to strategically leverage the assets of its members to advance the campaign toward the community vision.
The agenda and campaign strategy are transparent and endorsed by members of the collaborative.
Sufficient resources (e.g., financial, human, etc.) are available to support research, communications, and strategic planning activities focused on the campaign.
Agreements regarding decisions and operations of the collaborative are identified and expressed in writing at important times.
How are research and communications integrated into collaborative planning and implementation operations? A clear strategy is established for conducting research, analyzing information, and disaggregating data to inform the equity dimensions of the campaign throughout its duration.
A “feedback loop” directs information regarding decision processes and outcomes efficiently and effectively to members of the collaborative.
The collaborative is committed to monitoring its course and revisiting its understanding of the problem, in order to remain current and effective in its campaign for equity.
The collaborative is committed to implementing and leveraging a strategic communications plan to sharpen its advocacy strategy.
Benchmarks to BUILD, ADVANCE, AND DEFEND POLICY CHANGE
Equity advocacy does not – and should not – cease when a favorable policy outcome is first reached. In fact, it is through the continued effort of equity advocates, champions, and their allies that policy and systems changes to promote equity are implemented and imbedded into practice. Just as strong community leadership and engagement, effective uses of power and influence, strategic research and communications are crucial components to seeding change, they are also essential elements for bringing that change to fruition.

There are four general components of advocacy to BUILD, ADVANCE, AND DEFEND equity advancements: implementation, enforcement, and monitoring of the adopted change; influence of the proposed change on other equity issues and objectives; further development of equity leadership; and cultivation and protection of equity improvements. Benchmarks for each of these areas, and guiding questions to navigate them, are detailed below.
Grow:
BUILD, ADVANCE, DEFEND
Implementation, Enforcement, and Monitoring of Proposed Change
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
What mechanisms are established to assure that the equity provisions of the policy are implemented as intended? A plan to implement the adopted policy and its equity provisions includes roles, responsibilities, resources, and timelines for implementation, as well as indicators to measure progress and equity impacts, and is transparent to the collaborative, its allies, and the larger community.
Channels of communication are developed for the collaborative, its allies, and the larger community to receive updates about, and review progress of, the ongoing policy implementation and the advancement of equity objectives.
The collaborative, its allies, and the larger community trust the implementers to follow through on policy implementation and to remain focused on reaching the equity impacts – particularly for groups, communities, and people most affected by the issue – based on demonstrated leadership, accountability, and commitment of the implementers.
The collaborative and its allies are committed to track the implementation, provide community support to achieve equity objectives of the policy, and take action to improve effectiveness of the equity provisions when needed.
How does the policy change contribute to addressing the issue, changing community conditions, and advancing equity objectives? Data and information to track community changes are disaggregated (e.g., by population, place, race, etc.) and analyzed at multiple time points after policy adoption to illuminate equity dimensions of the policy (e.g., consequences for people of different races, classes, or genders) and the success of implementation in advancing equity objectives.
Data and information regarding the ongoing community changes are accessible (e.g., culturally, linguistically, and physically) and transparent to all.
Traditional and community-based research (e.g., demographic and economic secondary data, collection of primary information from and by residents, mapping of community trends) reveal improvements among specific groups, communities, and people affected by the issue.
How do advocates and their allies monitor the effectiveness of the policy implementation and enforce follow through on equity provisions? Advocates leverage their relationships with implementers as part of an “inside strategy” to encourage effective implementation approaches and to provide insight from authentic community experts and technical advisors on how to address implementation problems for equity impacts.
Advocates leverage broader, more inclusive channels of communication (e.g., open letters to implementers, media strategies) as part of an “outside strategy” to applaud success and to draw attention to and improve accountability and leadership on implementation, when needed.
Strategic allies outside of the collaborative (e.g., policymakers, their associates, elected officials, other influential leaders) stay engaged and inquire about the progress of implementation to reinforce accountability and the need for equity impacts.
Influence of Proposed Change on Other Equity Issues and Objectives
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How has the equity campaign brought greater attention and resources to address the issues affecting impacted groups, communities, and people? Activities or information regarding changing community conditions (e.g., formal and nontraditional research, disaggregated data, and information derived from news media and social media) generated by original equity campaign spurs other campaigns.
Documentation and testimonials from expert sources clearly link the activities and impacts of the equity campaign with new or increased resources to address issues affecting impacted groups, communities, and people.
How has the decision on the proposal for equitable change led to increased power in the affected communities? Community members report increased opportunities for engagement in decision making, increased access to relevant data and information, improved leadership and/or greater control over issues affecting their communities.
Power mapping reveals that community members have increased power to influence matters related to the issue.
Traditional and community-based research reveal increased traction of community input in decision-making.
Further Development of Equity Leadership
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
In what ways does the capacity of the community to advocate for equity continue to grow and evolve with the implementation of the proposal? Opportunities for community members to learn about the equity issue and community conditions and to develop skills related to organizing, research, communications, and capacity building are more available and utilized more following implementation.
Opportunities for mentorship and leadership development are available to cultivate new community leaders focused on advancing equity.
In what ways are the capacity and expertise of the community considered valid and meaningful? The community is consulted as experts on the issue by media, academia, and other influential thought leaders.
Community members gain power through election, appointment, invitation or other engagement in decision-making entities and processes.
Cultivation and Protection of Equity Improvements
Guiding Questions Equity Benchmarks
How are equity improvements institutionalized within existing systems over the long term? Formal strategies for meaningfully engaging authentic community leaders and members in the ongoing implementation are embedded into processes related to future implementation and decision making.
Meaningful community representation, participation, and engagement in the systems and decisions that impact the issue are increased and improved.
Equity indicators are developed to measure progress on the issue and are used as a platform for developing equity indicators for other programs and policies.