When the Best Offense is a Good Defense: Understanding and Measuring Advocacy on the Defense

Published: June 2019

Type: Publication

With advocacy, a “win” can mean avoiding a disadvantageous policy or holding the line on past wins. However, there has been less focus on “defense” as evaluation frameworks and tools have been developed. This brief addresses that gap.

Sarah_Stachowiak
Joel_Gutierrez

When advocates, funders, and evaluators first began working more closely to evaluate advocacy efforts, they initially focused on understanding how new policy achievements occurred: What were strong theories of change, what outcomes mattered along the way, and how could advocates’ contributions to policy results be understood? This was important work, but incomplete.

With advocacy,  a “win” can mean avoiding a disadvantageous policy or holding the line on past wins. However, there has been less focus on “defense” as evaluation frameworks and tools have been developed.

To dive into this topic, ORS Impact talked to advocates and funders to better understand how they thought about advocacy on the defense. This brief represents key takeaways from those conversations, including:

  • How advocates conceptualize five different types of defense, ranging from reacting to changing circumstances to more proactive approaches
  • How evaluators, advocates and funders should think about defense-specific outcomes, impact, and evaluation.

Download the full publication above.

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