The Ten Commandments of Advocacy

The Ten Commandments of Advocacy

Ayelet Hines No Comment

I love the Ten Commandments, especially when they aren’t on public property. Not coveting thy neighbor’s animals has always been tricky for me though. How does your campaign measure up to the Ten Commandments of Advocacy below?


  1. Start simple, get fancy later. There’s a lot you can do where you are with what you have.
  2. Know how policies are made, and work to improve them. Know how legislative bodies and executive branches at all levels of government work, including both how policies are passed and how programs are funded. Once you learn one, the others are pretty similar.
  3. Have a call to action. Ask people to do things for you, like make a phone call, sign a letter, give money, write something for the media, or recruit supporters.
  4. Talk and listen to people. What’s in between your own ears is great but not enough. Surround yourself with smart, honest people. Ask potential supporters what they care about and think ought to be done.
  5. Be flexible. Your campaign plan is a living document that will shift with changing conditions, but…
  6. Don’t get distracted. There will always be something else to work on. Stick to your vision and don’t get sidetracked.
  7. Base your campaign on solid data. Evidence tells you how big the problem is, who is affected by the problem, and that the problem isn’t random and can be solved by correcting specific things in specific places.
  8. Seek new skills. Always be looking for how to up your game. If you don’t, you’re doomed.
  9. Write down your plan, which needs to include your goals, targets, audiences, tactics and timeline.
  10. Look at your campaign through your audiences’ eyes, not just your own. Your audience includes policymakers, voters, supporters and the media.


Did I leave anything out? I’d love to hear about it, so please add more in the comments below.


And if you haven’t already downloaded these free guides, you can get them at the links below. If you can think of other tools that would be helpful, please let me know.

1) 11 Proven Steps to Designing & Winning Campaigns

One of the biggest challenges organizations have is the campaign planning process. To help serve them, I’ve created a guide of the 11 essential points that I use with organizations, as well as with my grad students at Johns Hopkins. In it you’ll find the critical elements your campaign must have. Use this as an easy reference guide for staff, volunteers & trainers.

2) Laser Focus on Power: How to Find & Engage Influencers

  •      The 10 steps of power mapping
  • The questions to ask and where to find answers
  • Easy reference guide for staff, volunteers & trainers

3) Power Up & Amplify: Turbocharge Your Campaign Through Coalitions

  • What coalitions do
  • Who to recruit
  • How to pick the best coalition name
  • Attracting diverse coalition partners10
  • Leadership & structure of coalitions

Leave a Reply

Shifting Power, Building Movements

Ayelet Hines - Change University

For over 20 years, I’ve helped people win campaigns on progressive Issues.

About Me

Download Our Free Guide

Enter your name and email below to download my free Campaigning Essentials guide.