The core circles of an advocacy campaign

Most advocacy campaigns have an inner, middle and outer circle. It is important to understand the roles of these circles when running your campaign.

The Inner Circle of people are your core activists. They may be an organisation, a section of an organisation, a collection of organisations or just a loose affiliation of people who run the campaign. These people call the rallies, write the letters, paint the banners and so on.

The Middle Circle are the converted. These are the supporters, the ones that have signed the petition, marched at the rally, and provide your donations and support. These people are vital to a successful campaign as they show there is the community backing for what you are doing. They have taken on the issue and are helping you spread the word.

Finally, the Outer Circle comprises those that you are trying to influence. These are the people who you want to vote differently, and whose awareness levels you want to increase. In many senses, these are the most important people in your campaign. They may be hostile to your cause or they may just be unaware of it. They may be all of Australia, they may be a small regional community or they may be just a couple of politicians or senior public servants. Whatever the case may be, if you don't influence these people or at least a good number of them, your campaign is doomed.

The Inner Circle

The roles of the Inner Circle are outlined throughout the Advocacy Centre. However, there are a few central points that need to be made here. Firstly, it's a good idea, if you can, to get a paid worker to run the inner circle. Obviously whether or not this is possible will depend on the size of the organisation, the size of the campaign, and the resources at your disposal, but if it is possible, the advantages are immeasurable and the return in terms of the success of the campaign is very high.

Whether paid or not, it's a good idea to have one person coordinating the whole campaign. Within this core circle, you should be meeting regularly and have designated roles. Someone should be keeping an eye on the finances and someone else on the media.

The inner circle should be mobilising the middle circle and maintaining their enthusiasm whilst trying to engage and influence the outer circle.

The Middle Circle

Your Middle Circle are your converts. If you do not already have them onside it probably will not take much to get them there.

The first thing people in the Middle Circle provide you with is networks. Few things are more important. See our helpsheet on identifying networks for more details.

The Middle Circle provides you with free advertising when they pass on your emails or advertise your events. They are the ones you can call on to volunteer to do a letter drop or attend your rallies.

They provide the support you need on the ground

The Outer Circle

In many senses the Outer Circle is the most important. This is your target group so you must engage them as much as is possible. A campaign's success can be measured by the level of penetration into the outer circle.

Engaging the Outer Circle can take many forms. Sometimes you can benefit from an osmosis-like effect, where people in the Outer Circle who are exposed to an issue and discussions around that issue absorb information about the campaign. However, this is not something you should rely on.

You need to raise awareness within the Outer Circle by getting their attention, and there are a range of methods described in the Advocacy Centre for doing this. Once you have their attention, education is the key so you need strong communication methods in place.

Using the Inner, Middle and Outer Circle framework to understand your advocacy helps to put things in perspective and will help you focus your campaign.

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