When done correctly, advocacy efforts can positively influence the outcomes of those served by an organization. This is important to every association, regardless of the size or type. Unfortunately, many associations fall short when preparing their message. For messages to be effective, it’s crucial that associations take the time necessary to prepare properly. That’s where advocacy research can help.
In today’s modern world, it’s simply not enough to provide a convincing argument. Associations must present objective, factual messages if they wish to convince policymakers to change their policies or laws. To gain the public’s trust, an association must provide an undisputable argument backed by solid, evidence-based data.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy involves influencing decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Common advocacy efforts include:
- Media campaigns
- Public speaking
- Commissioning/publishing research
- Filing an amicus brief
Preparing for Advocacy Research
Proper preparation is key to advocacy research success. Once an association determines its objective, it must consider what information will help accomplish that goal. If this information is not readily available, the association must either aggregate the information they need from other existing data or collect it through their own primary market research efforts.
With so much data available, it can be difficult for associations to determine the best way to collect the information needed and how to use it to convince their intended audience.
Most people today get their information from nontraditional sources. Many of these people are driven by perception and pre-determined objectives. This creates challenges for associations wishing to present their audience with new information.
Associations must remove all emotion from the equation. They must present sound facts and data that suit their audience’s objective. This is the best way to ensure their audience hears their message.
Influencing Government Officials
When attempting to influence Government officials, it’s important to learn in advance the issues that matter most. Once the association has a clear understanding of these issues they can determine the type of data needed to influence their audience’s decision. This might involve displaying the prevalence of something within the population or measuring public opinion. The type of research conducted will depend on the final goal of the association.
Influencing Public Opinions
When influencing public opinion, it’s best to test multiple messages across several segments of the relevant population. To determine what works and what does not, the association must carefully monitor public reaction to each message provided.
Data Collection Methods
The type of data collection method used depends on several factors. For example, online research is best when the association plans to use lots of words and/or pictures before asking for an opinion. Telephone research is ideal for associations collecting a representative sample from a small geography.
Trusted Research Partner
Vault Consulting has years of experience providing the information needed for legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. Through our experience, we’ve learned what works and what does not. We provide primary market research, qualitative research, quantitative research, surveys, and online polls. For more information and insight on advocacy research, feel free to contact Vault Consulting.