Tax advocacy activities

There are a variety of activities that will form part of your tax advocacy action plan. But remember, always start with a clear advocacy strategy to guide your choice (see Chapter 2). It is important to map out the advocacy context before you start planning and implementing specific advocacy activities. You will need to be aware of the political context in which you are working – what are the political forces at work, what are the vested interests, who are you trying to influence, who might provide powerful opposition and how will you seek to neutralise that opposition? It’s all a question of strategy and tactics!

In order to be strategic it is important always to consider how the activities you plan to use will help achieve your objectives – it may be a great idea for an event but unless it is relevant to fulfilling your objectives, steer clear.

The idea is to combine your activities in a winning mix. You can use different activities at different moments but ensure that they are mutually reinforcing. Activities also need to be appropriate to the target audience – again, different situations will call for different tactics.

The table below shows some examples of activities often used in advocacy

Examples of advocacy activities

Method

Explanation

Common use

Examples

Awareness-raising

Informing people of the situation so that they are aware of the issues.

Often the first step in an advocacy process, so that people are empowered to engage in your issue/campaign and take action.

When information is hidden.

When issues are complex.

To build the confidence of those you hope will take action in the future.

Training

Posters and leaflets

Videos

Community meetings

Lobbying

Speaking directly to the target, explaining the detail of the problem and the proposed solution.

When the target is open and will listen to facts and careful argument.

Meetings

Phone calls

Briefing document

Public meetings

Media

Using the media is one of the most effective ways to raise public awareness and spread your campaign messages. Commercial, community and church radio, television and newspapers.

When you cannot get direct access to policy-makers.

To raise awareness.

To expose corporate behaviour.

Radio phone-in or at the studio

Press release

Briefing a journalist

Writing opinion editorials

Mobilising/popular campaigning

Closely connected with awareness-raising and media.

Involves harnessing public pressure so that as many people as possible engage in your campaign and contact decision-makers to call for change.

When policy-makers can be swayed by public opinion (and, in the case
of many politicians, by their constituents).

To show strength of feeling.

To use strength in numbers
and organisation.

Letter writing, postcards,
email actions, petitions

Marches and rallies

Engaging with corporates

Involves direct and face-to-face contact with a company impacting on the issue you are trying to address.

To change the policies and practices
of an individual company impacting on a local population or development of a country (for example a mining company).

To treat the engagement with an individual company as a case study
in order to advocate for changes in
all companies' conduct or obligations.

Research on corporate conduct

Direct lobbying of a company

Dialogue with a group of companies or a body representing companies

Linking up – networks and coalitions

Building alliances with as many people and organisations as possible. Creating a movement for change.

To make long-term advocacy sustainable.

When you need additional strength
in numbers and skills.

Tax Justice Network

Global Campaign for Education

This chapter will explore in more detail different advocacy tools you can use and how best to ensure that they are effective. Successful advocacy often rests on the ability to communicate effectively, either verbally or in writing. So this chapter will also provide some top tips.

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