Effective Campaigning - CanAct | Cancer Council NSW

Effective Campaigning

Advocating for change is far from easy, but havingĀ  an effective plan is like having a map that can make the journey easier. There are many tools online to help you create a plan that connects with the right people and is adaptable in a rapidly changing environment. The information shared in this resource is one way but I encourage you to research other tools and find something that fits with how you work and moves you closer to your goals.

Ready, set, A.C.T.I.O.N.

To drive meaningful change advocates need to be many things, including:

  • Agile,
  • Flexible,
  • Adept at tailoring issues,
  • Able to pivot swiftly as needs evolve.

Introducing the A.C.T.I.O.N. Strategy planning tool to help identify key objectives and move campaign forward. This tool places a distinct emphasis on concrete actions, mobilising supporters, engaging stakeholders, and implementing initiatives. Through this lens, your advocacy will become tangible and transformative. The A.C.T.I.O.N. planning tool will take you through each phase of campaign planning, and help you tailor actions to your specific objectives.


Assess the issue Define the issue and its impact on the community.
  • What needs to change?
  • Why does it need to change? What challenges is it creating for people affected by cancer?
  • What is causing this to be an issue?
  • How does a lack of awareness and access to cancer prevention, screening, and treatment services contribute to this issue?
  • What are the barriers and challenges in addressing this issue in your community, such as stigma, misinformation, or limited resources?
Clear Objectives Set specific and measurable campaign objectives.
  • What are the specific goals of the advocacy campaign? e.g., increase screening rates, improve access to treatment, raise awareness about early detection.
  • What resources do we have? What is our experience? What alliances are in place? What is our capacity, information, and political intelligence?
  • How will success be measured? Are there specific targets, such as a % increase in screenings?
  • Do the objectives align with the community’s needs and priorities?
  • How can the objectives be broken down into actionable steps?
Target Identify key stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • Who can give us what we want?
  • Who are the stakeholders impacted by cancer in the community? i.e. cancer patients, survivors, carers, community leaders.
  • Which decision-makers or institutions play a crucial role in cancer-related policies, funding, or healthcare services in the community?
  • Are there potential partnerships with health organisations, patient support groups to strengthen advocacy efforts?
  • What are the best strategies to reach out to decision makers and gain support for the campaign?
Inspire Develop compelling messaging to communicate the need for change.
  • What are the key messages that need to be conveyed?
  • Who do they need to hear it from? How can you effectively engage cancer patients and survivors to share their personal experiences?
  • How can you frame issues in a way that resonates with the community and motivates them to take action?
  • What is the evidence or data to support your advocacy arguments and demonstrate the impact of cancer?
  • How will you tailor messaging for different audiences, such as patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and govt?
  • What communication channels and platforms will be most effective in delivering messages to the target audience?
Organise Outline advocacy tactics and actions to achieve objectives.
  • How do we begin?
  • What specific awareness campaigns or educational events can be organised to inform the community about cancer prevention and early detection?
  • How can you engage local healthcare providers to promote cancer screenings and ensure timely diagnosis?
  • Are there opportunities to collaborate with cancer research institutions to advocate for increased funding for cancer research?
  • What strategies can be employed to influence policymakers to support cancer-related legislation and funding for cancer programs?
Navigate impact Measure, and analyse campaign's progress, adjust tactics to maximise impact .
  • How will you measure the impact of the advocacy campaign?
  • How will data be collected and evaluated to assess progress?
  • What benchmarks will be set for objectives, e.g. reaching a certain % of the target population with prevention information?
  • How will feedback be gathered to evaluate effectiveness of the campaign’s messaging?
  • What will be used to analyse the strengths/weaknesses of advocacy efforts, areas for improvement, and future strategies?

Other resources

Following are some reputable websites and platforms that offer valuable information and guidance on advocacy. Online resources can be valuable starting points for learning about advocacy campaigning and building the necessary skills to make a positive impact on the causes you care about.