Photo by Strong Fish on Unsplash

This morning, like every weekday morning, I dropped my daughter off at her day care. To get there, we drive past an elementary school and up a heavily trafficked and winding road. The school sits at the base of a small hill just down the street from our house. My daughter often plays on the playground there and she knows some of the kids in the after-care program. Many of the older kids in the neighborhood are students there too, and my daughter looks up to them like big brothers and sisters. …


Delano Grape Strike and Boycott, 1965

In case you weren’t sure which side is winning in the debate over America’s gun policy, it sure hasn’t been those of us in favor of restricting access to weapons. And it’s not for a lack of effort. In addition to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which has been at the forefront of gun control advocacy for years, newer groups like Sandy Hook Promise, Everytown for Gun Safety, Students Demand Action, and many others have poured millions of dollars into efforts to convince Congress and the courts to enact sensible gun policy. …


How the Government Shutdown Affects Advocacy Paid Media

The government shutdown is having a big impact across the country. How the impasse is affecting access to healthcare for Native Americans, the unsanitary conditions in national parks, and air travel have been covered at length. Judging from the distance between the positions of President Trump and Congressional Democrats on display in last night’s televised spectacles — I mean, speeches — this shutdown may be going on for some time. …


As a father of a two year old girl who lives blocks away from the Capitol and White House in Washington D.C., my entire life enveloped by selfish, impish, and incorrigible humans with underdeveloped emotions. At this age, my daughter reminds me so much of a politician, it’s uncanny. She only wants to know what’s in it for her and she isn’t shy at all about asking for what she wants — or demands — in order to behave the way that she should. …


Advocacy Bulletin: Extracting Value from Native Content

When was the last time you clicked on a news article and read halfway through it before you realized that it wasn’t news at all — but an advertisement disguising itself as news? It’s happening more often than ever. As media companies seek new sources, their editorial staff and creative teams are under increasing pressure to deliver content for paid advertisers. Most media companies have put in place important firewalls between their news teams and their revenue generating advertising teams — but the line is becoming grayer by the day. With the term…


Advocacy Bulletin — Content Strategy

How many meetings have you had that ended without clarity on what should be done next? We’ve all been there, of course. In fact, an entire industry has been built selling books and offering training courses in how to avoid pointless meetings! Making Meetings Matter, Boring Meetings Suck, and Death By Meeting are just a few of the titles tackling the problem that are available on Amazon. The same problem occurs in advocacy communications. There is an entire industry in Washington making a lot of people quite wealthy while producing pointless content that fails to…


Daily Advocacy Bulletin: Message Development

Today I’ll offer some tips on how to effectively distill complex information into a crystalized message that supports an advocacy agenda. When I worked in agricultural biotechnology, or GMOs, I would often need to translate complex biological principles and scientific processes into understandable terms for policymakers. Just last week, Open Data Watch, an non-profit organization advocating for more open data in the international development community, released their most recent report, Measuring Data Use, An Analysis of Web Data Traffic. I had the opportunity to help ODW distill their 50-plus page report on website analytics into…


Daily Advocacy Bulletin

Public relations can be an important part of an effective integrated advocacy campaign. Earned media offers opportunities to push your message at low cost and often, to a wide audience. Of course, PR comes with some risks — the most important of which is that in most cases, you lose some control over your message. To understand how PR is used to advocate, you must understand the political environment, the medium, message and the target audience. …


Daily Advocacy Bulletin: Digital Grassroots

Anti-hunger advocacy groups such as Feeding America and many other state and local allies won an important legislative victory in the soon-to-be-passed Farm Bill. According to media reports, the final Farm Bill does not include provisions that tether Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to new work requirements, which could have otherwise ended those benefits for over 1 million Americans.

With the bill likely to be signed into law in the coming weeks, those who were involved in supporting SNAP should be incredibly proud of their legislative success. While they deserve a moment to celebrate, the job by no means…


Daily Advocacy Bulletin: Rapid Response

If President Trump’s recent announcement that the United States would abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty wasn’t cause for enough alarm at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), this morning Russia announced it will launch “unspecified measures” against American allies hosting U.S. missiles if the Trump Administration does indeed pull out of the treaty. You can read more details about today’s news here.

As a courtesy to the peace-loving world — I’ll offer three unsolicited tips to Carmen MacDougall, NTI’s Vice President of Communications, on what she and her team can be doing right now to have a greater impact…

William Hensley

Will Hensley is a senior communications strategist with 15 years of policy, communications and advocacy experience offering tips, insights, and advice.

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