Setting goals for your advocacy efforts is essential. What do you hope to accomplish with your efforts? Keep your goals to a manageable number and express them in a clear and straightforward manner. State your goals so they are measurable and articulate expected outcomes for each goal—this will lay the groundwork for effective evaluation of your efforts.
Advocacy efforts such as student participation in the Inside Out Project allow you to share your students' artwork with the community. Photo by James Rees.
Once your goals are set, identify the activities you’ll need to achieve your desired outcomes. Activities can include developing a website or social media page, organizing in-person events, creating and distributing printed materials, and developing press packets, data sheets, and slideshow presentations.
Have a complete description of each activity that includes the target audience, team members, and expected outcome. Make sure your activities are achievable and that there are team members capable of performing them. Take a methodical approach; it’s best to have a few carefully considered activities that have the potential of achieving positive results.
Consider the Time Line
Develop a time line. Be realistic about how long it will take to prepare for each activity, develop and produce the tools needed, and implement them. The time line must take into account the human resources you have for implementation. If you have full-time staff members, tasks may be accomplished faster.
Consider the schedules of audience members on whom you are focusing your advocacy efforts. If you’re planning an event, check potential conflicts and don’t overbook events for the people you want to attract. At the same time, don’t forget to accommodate your own schedule when developing your time line.
Estimate a Budget
Estimate a budget for each activity and consider the human resources needed. If you don’t have the resources and need to raise money, do that before you initiate your activities. If your time and access to staff is not sufficient to implement the planned activities, recruit volunteers beforehand. The bottom line is that the resources, both monetary and human, must be in place before you begin.
Evaluate Advocacy Efforts
It is essential that advocacy efforts are evaluated carefully. After each effort, you need to know what went well and what needed improvement. This information is invaluable in guiding you in your subsequent advocacy efforts. Develop evaluative criteria and a way to assess the effect of the effort in advance of implementation. Good evaluation will help you know if you’ve achieved your goals.
Writing an Advocacy Plan
Formulate an advocacy plan, building on your work in addressing the nine steps discussed in this article and in my previous articles. It’s a good idea to write out the plan because this helps you evaluate your success in covering the essential elements of effective advocacy, and it also helps you to ensure that the various components of the effort fit together in a logical way that can be accomplished.
A written plan is essential if you’ll be working with a team because it provides everyone with the same information from which to work. Even if you’re working alone, a written plan is a good idea during your first few efforts. Writing the plan will be addressed in the fourth and final article of this series on advocacy efforts for art education.
D. Jack Davis is professor emeritus and founding dean of the College of Visual Arts & Design, University of North Texas. D.Jack.Davis@UNT.edu
Art teachers spark students’ imagination with several approaches to design and introduce them to design-related careers. Young students recycle vinyl records into functional embellished sculptures, elementary students capture the elements of art and principles of design through digital photography, middle-school students master linear perspective drawing and create design boards for a celebrity or fictional character, high-school students design isometric digital rooms with depth and dimension, and more.