PLAN Institute

The Math of Advocacy

January 30th, 2017

By Al Etmanski

A critical feature of advocacy, whether on behalf of individuals or to advance public policy, is to maintain momentum especially when you have been going uphill far too long. Momentum signals to the folks in the system you are dealing with that you are not going away. It also helps to keep your issue at the top of their pile.

Here’s a formula I use to maintain momentum: a day’s delay on my part equals a week’s delay on government’s part. A work week’s delay means a month’s delay and so on.

There are many reasons why it takes a long time for people who work for big organizations or governmental institutions to respond:

Whatever the reason you can keep the momentum going by:

Of course you will do all of this bearing in mind you are a solution based advocate who strengthens relationships while seeking solutions, won’t you? Courtesy and civility should be hallmarks of your advocacy style.

Momentum is something you have more control of than you think. It’s similar to cycling. Sometimes it is the only thing that will get you over the top of the hill.

NOTE: Want to learn more about solution-based advocacy? Check out the audio of Vickie and my recent webinar with Donna Thomson on the topic, Advocating With Empathy.


If you want government to have empathy for your issue you must have empathy for their challenges. (Sean Moore)

Musical accompaniment this post is Crumbling Down by Edmonton’s Nuela Charles. Purchase her music here.

Read more by Al on his blog


Have a Little Faith

The Splendour and Isolation of Visionaries

Flight of the Ordinaries

Peace You Can Count On


The New Underground Railroad

If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It

A Robust Society is a Feminist Society

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