The competitive nature of policymaking renders positive change unpredictable.
Achieving social impact by improving policy is a risky enterprise with no guarantee of success. Civil society organizations can navigate the uncertainty by fully understanding how policy is made and carefully tracking progress. We help our clients understand how their priorities compete for influence in a crowded marketplace, and when and how intensive nonprofit advocacy can make the biggest difference.
The latest political science applied informs practical strategy. We worked with our clients to create a framework to help them prioritize which advocacy programs to invest in. Grounded in the best available research on when and why policies change, the framework first outlined in the Stanford Social Innovation Review helps plan, monitor, and evaluate advocacy investments. We continue to track developments in the political science literature and turn them into practical tools for decision-making.
New sources of data reveal how politics and policymaking evolve. The proliferation of data has created novel ways to track policy debates, and made doing so cost effective even for grassroots advocates. We design monitoring systems that feed ongoing strategic discussions about advocacy, and have used social media tracking, social network analysis, behavioral segmentation, online polling, Google Trends data, legislators’ speeches and statements, and legislative bill tracking to paint a coherent, actionable picture of advocacy’s progress and the course of policymaking.
Effective execution makes good advocacy strategy real. At times, we go beyond advocacy strategy to help our clients execute. By combining rigorous analysis with strong relationships and well-timed communications, we can help to elevate a key issue on the political agenda. Often, aid in execution involves strategic project management that minimizes bureaucracy and enables swift changes in course – as speedy as is required by dynamic policymaking. We will also occasionally weigh in on policy debates, but only when it adds value. For example, Redstone principal Brent Harris penned an op-ed in The New York Times calling for President Obama to help Indonesia reduce deforestation, and another recent op-ed that challenges world leaders to take on an aggressive phase-down of HFCs.