EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY: Good. Better. Best. (Part II)

March 2024

In my first post about the Good-Better-Best approach, I focused on prioritizing time, talent, and funding at mission-driven organizations. But such organizations are not alone in balancing more responsibilities and opportunities than they can possibly pursue. Do you know who else often feels strapped for time and money while being pulled in countless directions? Policymakers.

In the course of a recent advocacy training, participants and I dove into the specifics of making clear and compelling asks (or “calls to action”) under challenging circumstances. What should we do if we know the legislative body at issue is facing a budget deficit? What if political circumstances are such that a win this session is highly unlikely?

My answer? Take a Good-Better-Best approach when you make your call to action:

Good” is a reasonable next step; perhaps that means a small step forward or, depending on the political climate, it may mean preserving the status quo.

Better” is a bit of a reach but with a smart approach and if the political stars align, this outcome is possible.

Best” is the ideal; if there were no limitations, this is the world you’d like to see.

This particular workshop focused on being the Right Messenger, the third element in our Nine Rights framework, and we’d already discussed the importance of credibility. The group saw how helpful it can be to understand the perspective of – and limitations on – people who have the power to shape the solution to a problem and adjust your ask accordingly. You can imagine the difference between the advocacy equivalents of:

“I demand the sun, moon, and the stars.” and “My community needs the sun, moon, and stars - full stop. The current proposal offers star dust. We understand there is a budget deficit this year, so we’re asking only for stars and will need to find the sun and the moon in the years ahead.”

As an advocate, you can – and should – be both passionate and realistic. As the messenger, your job is to help decisionmakers care deeply about your issue and share your vision, even if it’s not one that can be realized immediately. With the right approach, including Good-Better-Best in your clear, compelling, and realistic call to action, you will be credible, and can be part of creating a just, equitable, and peaceful world - even if that won't be tomorrow, much as we all wish it could.

- Piper Hendricks, Founder & CEO

(Photos of Three Buttes, Arizona, one close, another further away, and the third even more distant, by Jakob Køhn.)


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