Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program
Advocacy Planning and Evaluation Program
We've designed an array of planning and evaluation tactics that assess impact and develop capacity based on the individual needs of our clients. Within our range of tools and approaches, we've featured a few that we often use and adapt in various contexts.
Planning for Advocacy and for Advocacy Evaluation
Our Advocacy Progress Planner (APP) helps advocacy organizations incorporate evaluation into their strategic planning. The APP encourages advocates to set meaningful and measurable benchmarks as the basis for continuous assessment and reassessment. This engaged process empowers advocates to better understand their impact and how they might adapt their work to achieve even more impact. Read about featured projects that use this approach.
Interview and Survey-Based Research
Interviews with staff, peer organizations, and those directly affected by the work of our clients help to tell the story of what advocacy strategies have been most successful. Carefully designed interviews uncover insights that help our clients understand the context and complexities of their advocacy. Read about featured projects that use this approach.
Tracking Policymaker Champions
Many advocates work hard to target policymakers and create champions who will support their issues. But can advocacy create a champion? Can it make a champion more supportive – more “champion-ny”? In 2009, APEP began developing and refining a tool that helps advocates track progress as policymakers develop (or not) into champions. We are adapting it and putting it to work with several clients. Read about featured projects that use this approach.
Featured Advocacy Progress Planner Projects
THE CONNECT U.S. FUND
The Connect U.S. Fund promotes responsible U.S. global engagement through grantmaking and operations that advance critical foreign policy objectives. The Fund makes roughly 16 annual policy advocacy grants across a range of human rights, arms control, civil-military, and climate change issues. In 2007, The Fund invited APEP to design and implement an more meaningful and useful reporting system as an alternative to the traditional final written reports.
APEP wanted to develop a method in which advocates could benefit and learn from the reporting process. We used our web-based advocacy planning tool, the Advocacy Progress Planner (APP), to help grantees plan their work. We helped each grantee assess progress and adjust strategies through three telephone check-ins over the course of the grant period. These conversations helped us better understand each grantee’s objectives and strategies and helped us assist grantees as they planned their advocacy efforts, set measurable benchmarks, assessed progress towards those benchmarks, and adjusted their strategy.
The participating grantees found that the evaluation process allowed them to re-think and re-adjust their advocacy strategies along the way – rather than recognizing their strategic errors after the fact, when it was too late. Grantees reported that they would not otherwise make time for ongoing assessment and strategy adjustments. They also found that the scheduled conversations with APEP staff helped them track their progress and illustrate their impact to colleagues and funders. Grantees continue to express appreciation for APEP’s flexible and realistic approach to advocacy evaluation. And the Fund has retained APEP’s services through 2011.
The International Women’s Health Coalition engaged APEP to help it evaluate the impact of its With Women Worldwide program initiative that focuses on reducing the specific vulnerabilities of women and girls to HIV and AIDS. APEP reviewed documents and interviewed staff, trustees, donors, peer organizations, partner organizations in the global South, and officials of multilateral health organizations to obtain a well-rounded view of IWHC’s effectiveness in this contested field.
The Wallace Global Fund commissioned APEP to interview advocates about the efficacy of opposition research in supporting their rights-based approach to advancing the sexual and reproductive health of women; we identified and interviewed advocates and technical assistance providers in Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
CARE hired APEP to lead the evaluation of a three-year project that tests the impact of taking U.S. Members of Congress and other influential individuals on site visits to maternal and neonatal health projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Our collaboration with CARE has given rise to a unique “policymaker champion scorecard,” a tool for identifying and tracking degrees of support for policy change. The scorecard was featured in a session at the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association and continues to inspire new variations.
Featured Coalition Building Project: Humanity United
Humanity United, a new charity funded through the eBay fortune, commissioned APEP to help it improve its approach to funding advocacy coalitions. We served as participant observers in meetings of the coalition HU formed of selected grantees addressing sex trafficking and modern-day slavery. We worked with HU and its grantees to develop recommendations for a different management structure, facilitated coalition meetings, and continue to offer feedback to HU and the ATEST coalition on its advocacy and evaluation strategy.