Step 3: Identify the decision-makers
It is important to consider the dynamics and interests of stakeholders and decision-makers to determine to whom you will direct messages about your advocacy objectives:
- Which person, people, or group needs to be convinced of the importance and value of your advocacy objectives?
- How might you influence these people?
- Which person, people, or group is already supportive of your advocacy objectives? How might you mobilize their support?
- Which stakeholders present obstacles or risks as you seek to achieve your advocacy objectives? What actions can you take to overcome these obstacles and mitigate these risks?
- Don’t assume that there is only one decision-maker. You may need to persuade more than one person, or the leadership of a governing body.
Consideration: Identify your target audiences
There are often multiple target audiences to whom advocacy messages should be communicated. A primary target audience often includes the decision-makers with the authority to bring about the desired change. For example, ministers of health, heads of private hospitals, and government officials may be the primary target audience, as these individuals have the power to reform, finance, and implement a workplace policy.
A secondary audience consists of individuals or groups with access to and the ability to influence the primary target audience. Secondary audiences may include student associations, faculty groups, university researchers, or constituent voters. Professional councils also represent a powerful entity that can influence policy-makers.