Resources

I used to manage a wiki, but it got hacked and so I have discontinued it. Instead, I will use the blog to share occasionally some of the information that would previously have found its way to the wiki. Not quite as functional, but much more practical.

For business associations and others engaging in dialogue and advocacy, there are a surprisingly wide range of resources available, both on and off line. Some sources have materials and tools which are freely available; others make a modest charge.

The Advocacy Progress Planner, now available via the Aspen Institute, is a brilliant tool which enables you to think about the steps in your advocacy plan. It is written for American audiences, so you have to ignore the options that are irrelevant and make allowances for the language. However, by the end of the process, you will have a well thought through logic model for your advocacy action. You can add notes as you go and save a PDF of the plan. This tool was originally provided by Continuous Progress. You may want to check the rest of their tips and tools.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation was founded in the US in 1948 is to foster public policies, human-service reforms and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families. In pursuit of this goal, the Foundation makes grants that help states, cities, and neighbuorhoods fashion more innovative, cost-effective responses to these needs. Amongst its other work, it publishes materials that might support your advocacy efforts. Have a look for example at their guide to measuring advocacy and policy

The California Endowment is a private, health foundation based in the US State of California and created in 1996. It believes that influencing public policy is essential to achieving any long-term solutions to California’s health issues. They see advocacy and policy work as important and offer an advocacy toolkit. It has commissioned two interesting reports which look at the challenges facing policy change evaluators and offer recommendations on approaches to policy and advocacy evaluation. If advocacy evaluation is of interest, then have a look at their reports.

The Centre for International Private Enterprise is a non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy. CIPE works in developing countries supporting the private sector in policy advocacy, institutional reform and improving governance. CIPE can provide management assistance, practical experience and financial support to local organisations to strengthen their capacity to implement democratic and economic reforms. It publishes a range of reports and handbooks that may be helpful to organisations beginning to get involved in advocacy.

There is a good resource on Public Policy Writing which takes the reader through all the steps of writing good policy position papers.

PublicPrivateDialogue.org is intended to serve as a comprehensive one-stop shop of knowledge and advice for stakeholders who are interested in building or maintaining public private dialogue to improve the business climate. They feature on their website a Charter of Good Practice in using Public Private Dialogue for Private Sector Development which was developed at the first International Workshop on Public Private Dialogue, held in Paris in February 2006.

The Thoughtful Activist: a toolkit for enhancing NGO campaigning and advocacy was written in 1999 to help NGOs with their advocacy, but you may find that it gives you some useful ideas. It was originally published by the New Economics Foundation, under a creative commons licence. It seems that it is no longer available from the NEF website but you can download a copy from businessadvocacy.net

There are also many good practice examples that you might find helpful, especially if you are publishing a research report looking at regulation of preparing a policy position paper for use in your advocacy.

The Tourism Confederation of Tanzania commissioned a report that reviews regulation and administrative burden for firms in the tourism sector. It is an excellent example of a research document that clearly sets out the problem and the solution, starting “The administrative burdens in the Tanzanian tourism sector place a heavy cost on businesses in terms of time and money. Businesses would be more willing to pay levies if the levies were more streamlined and more transparent.” It goes on to set out clearly the total burden on businesses and makes some sensible suggestions for improvement.

CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment is based in Nairobi, though the parent organisation was originally establised in India. They have a number of policy position papers on their website. One looks at the slightly esoteric issue of EU/ Indian arguments about the dumping of bed linen. It is quite densely written, but is well laid out, and could be a good model.

I asked Tom Sullivan, Chief Counsel at the US Office of Advocacy until the end of 2008 for his recommendations for good examples of policy papers coming from the US. His immediate responses was that no advocacy organisation exists in the United States without the ability to put issue papers together. He noted that even Congress has them. Here are a few examples:

The US Senate’s Republican Policy Committee puts together well prepared issue papers – which Senators on which Senators rely to mke decisions about voting. Obviously they cover more than just business and regulatory issues, but may offer a few ideas. Not surprisingly the US Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee also prepare reports on key issues.

The conservative Heritage Foundation provides a wide range of “backgrounders”, issue briefs, research reports etc all of which are excellent models of communicating information on a particular topic.

In Tom’s opinion, the best issue papers in Washington may be found at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. Each topic area has a drop down menu and a host of one-pagers. They are succinct and to the point.

Hope you find these helpful. If you find good resources, please let me know and they will be added to the list so that all can benefit.

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