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The Woolf Group’s guide to crafting a policy agenda that advances your mission and vision.

If you are a nonprofit, social enterprise, or advocacy group, you know how important it is to have a clear and effective policy agenda. A policy agenda is a set of issues that you want to influence or change through legislation, regulation, or other means. A policy agenda can help you achieve your organizational goals, increase your visibility and credibility, and build relationships with decision-makers and allies.

But how do you create a policy agenda that reflects your values, aligns with your strategy, and resonates with your stakeholders? How do you prioritize your issues, research your options, and communicate your positions? How do you navigate the complex and dynamic policy environment and adapt to changing circumstances?

In this blog post, we will share some tips and best practices for developing a policy agenda that works for your organization. We will also explain how The Woolf Group can help you with policy and government relations services, such as policy analysis, advocacy, coalition building, and stakeholder engagement.

Identify your policy goals

The first step in creating a policy agenda is to identify your policy goals. What are the specific outcomes that you want to achieve through policy change? How do they relate to your mission and vision? How do they address the needs and interests of your target population or community?

Your policy goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, instead of saying “we want to improve education”, you could say “we want to increase the high school graduation rate by 10% in the next five years”. This way, you can define your scope, track your progress, and evaluate your impact.

If you need some guidance on how to set SMART policy goals, you can check out this useful article by Smartsheet.

Prioritize your issues

The next step is to prioritize your issues. You may have many issues that you care about, but you cannot work on all of them at the same time. You need to focus your resources and attention on the most important and urgent ones. To do this, you can use a criteria matrix to rank your issues based on factors such as:

  • The magnitude and severity of the problem
  • The feasibility and likelihood of achieving policy change
  • The alignment and compatibility with your organizational goals and values
  • The availability and quality of evidence and data to support your position
  • The level of public awareness and support for your issue
  • The potential for collaboration and partnership with other organizations

By using a criteria matrix, you can compare and contrast your issues and select the ones that have the highest priority for your organization. You can also review and update your priorities periodically to reflect any changes in the policy environment or your organizational strategy.

To learn more about how to use a criteria matrix to prioritize your issues, you can refer to this helpful resource by GroupMap.

Research your options

The third step is to research your options. Once you have identified and prioritized your issues, you need to explore the possible solutions and alternatives that could address them. You need to gather and analyze relevant information and evidence, such as:

  • The current state of the issue and the existing policies and programs that affect it
  • The gaps and challenges that need to be addressed or overcome
  • The best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions or sectors that have implemented similar policies or programs
  • The costs and benefits of different policy options and their implications for your organization and stakeholders
  • The risks and uncertainties associated with each option and how to mitigate them

By researching your options, you can develop a sound and credible policy position that is based on facts and data. You can also identify the pros and cons of each option and the trade-offs that may be involved. This can help you make informed and strategic decisions and communicate them effectively.

To find reliable and relevant sources of information and evidence for your policy research, you can use this comprehensive database by Policy Commons.

Communicate your positions

The final step is to communicate your positions. Once you have developed your policy position, you need to share it with your target audience, such as policymakers, media, donors, partners, and the public. You need to craft a clear and compelling message that explains:

  • What is the problem and why does it matter?
  • What is your solution and how will it work?
  • What is your evidence and how did you arrive at it?
  • What is your ask and what do you want your audience to do?

To communicate your message effectively, you need to tailor it to your audience and their needs, interests, and values. You need to use simple and concise language, avoid jargon and technical terms, and use stories and examples to illustrate your points. You also need to use different channels and formats, such as reports, briefs, presentations, infographics, videos, podcasts, social media, etc., to reach and engage your audience.

Crafting a compelling policy agenda is crucial for advancing your organization’s mission and vision. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can develop a policy agenda that reflects your values, aligns with your strategy, and resonates with your stakeholders. The Woolf Group is here to help you every step of the way, with our policy and government relations services. We invite you to engage with us and let us help you achieve your policy goals. Remember, at The Woolf Group

Your Success is Our Success!


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