Advocacy is the process of sharing information in strategic ways to increase awareness and educate about a particular issue, for the purposes of building support and commitment to positively change or influence an issue. Advocacy can take many shapes and forms, and can be undertaken by an individual, organization or an array of organizations. It is an effective tool to mobilize research into real action.
Advocacy activities involve raising the awareness of political and community leaders; promoting the creation or reform of policies; and ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of current policies. For example, one could advocate for increases in income assistance through sharing with relevant decision makers the Participatory Food Costing Project’s data, which shows a basic nutritious diet is out of their financial reach. Building public awareness is also a key component of advocacy because individual and community investment in an issue is where the processes for change often begin.
|Title:||Using Social Media for Advocacy|
Today, most of us are going online for our information, and so it is important to understand how we can use the tools available online to best get your message across. Social media can be an effective, low-cost communication method for community organizations. Many social media websites are gaining popularity including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. These sites are becoming especially useful in bringing attention to social issues. (For example, ‘Feeding My Family’ Facebook page was created to highlight the high prices of food in the Canadian north. It went viral after it was created and gained many followers and has brought a lot of media attention to the issue). This resource describes tips to optimize your social media use and outlines effective ways to “Make Food Matter” using the various platforms described.
This resource includes:
- General principles for using social media
- Create a social media strategy
- Establishing a Facebook and Twitter Account
- How to “Make Food Matter” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- How to Manage your Multiple Social Media Accounts Together
Traditional ways of advocating for an issue remain effective and important for a wide range of audiences.
This section includes tips on:
- How to Write a Letter to the Editor
- How to Write an Op-Ed
- How to Write a Press or Conference Release
|Title:||How to Communicate with Your Elected Official|
|Author(s):||Thought About Food?|
At the most basic level, the job of a politician is to represent the interests of the people within their electoral districts. Therefore, they have a responsibility to listen to their constituents’ concerns, and potentially try to address them through appropriate political channels. This section has resources to help you navigate your local political process and communicate your issues with your elected official.
|Title:||Leveraging Public Support|
Getting others to support a change you or your group want to see is an important consideration when trying to get the attention of politicians whose priorities don’t align with a proposed change. The following resource offers advice about how to start a petition and a rally, two actions that you can take to begin this process.
|Title:||Facilitating a Photovoice Project: What you need to know!|
Photovoice allows people in a community to express the concerns and issues most important and relevant to through the use of photos, and because “a picture is worth a thousand words”, it can be a powerful way to help others understand and connect with the issues. The following workbook has been created specifically for the Activating Change Together for Community Food Security (ACT for CFS) project and is based on a series of Photovoice manuals developed by other projects. When combined with social media, like Instagram or Facebook, Photovoice has the potential to be a very strong advocacy tool.
There are many different ways to engage your community and mobilize them to action. The following resource includes suggestions for non-traditional ways to energize people into advocating for a cause, including:
- Drama and Street Theatre
- Mobile applications (or apps) for stakeholders and the public to stay up to date around advocacy and campaign efforts.