“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Many of us would recall this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin. I believe this statement also holds true for an advocacy group like Let’s Fix the Tax Treaty! To address this, I have been working with Karen to help develop a draft Advocacy Strategy and Action Plan for our group. Before too long, we will be tabling a draft plan for your comments and feedback. But first, I wanted to set the stage so that everyone understands the importance of going through this process and getting it right.
When I discovered Let’s Fix the Tax Treaty! I was immediately attracted to this group as it 1) focused on finding solutions to the unfair USG CBT taxation issue that I am passionate about, 2) targeted its efforts in my home country of Australia (rather than a country located on the other side of the world that I left 26 years ago and where I have struggled to be heard) and 3) provided a vehicle for organised collective action.
However, the first time I read through LFTT! website, I immediately had many questions on the next level of detail. What are our specific priorities? How will we go about achieving our aims in an organised fashion? Okay, if we want to press the Australian Government to amend the underlying tax treaty and intergovernmental agreements, has anyone actually written down what needs to be changed and why? What are our the strongest arguments in our favour? What activities should we do and why? So many questions…
This is where a written Advocacy Strategy and Action Plan comes in. A good advocacy plan will help our group decide where to spend time and effort to achieve our goals and assist us to be as effective as possible with our limited resources. The plan should be a key reference document that is updated as we progress towards achieving our goals.
Fortunately, there are a number of great templates available online to assist groups in developing an effective Advocacy Strategy and Action Plan. Some of the better ones are here, here and here. I personally found the planning exercise to be very familiar as the process is very similar to business strategic planning which I have been involved with for many years.
Developing an Advocacy Strategy and Action Plan is a fairly straight-forward process that requires the group to consider key questions:
- What is our goal?
- What are the specific objectives that will lead us to achieving your goal?
- What are our arguments and evidence?
- Who can we collaborate or partner with?
- Who do we need to influence?
- What are our messages? How will we deliver these messages?
- How will we approach this? Public / Private / Direct / Indirect?
- What key activities should be undertaken?
- What are our priorities and timings?
- How will we organise and manage our group?
You can see that there is quite a bit to think about and work through which is what Karen and I have been working on offline. We are happy to take early feedback in the comments below or on our FB group regarding your thoughts on the answers to these key questions.
I firmly believe that this front-end effort will pay off through better focused and organised efforts, leading to better results. That said, we won’t get anywhere without broad involvement by impacted persons who are willing to pitch in to bring about positive change; so I remind you once again to spread the word and to get involved!