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 and so it   begins! 

Plan by establishing goals and procedures for your group. Skipping the planning phase will not only prevent you from making meaningful progress, it will also make it much more challenging to accomplish your goals. As you read through below, feel free to take notes as this section is the most crucial for policy work.

The planning phase starts the magic! In this phase, you will identify objectives, assess your ability to engage in advocacy tactics, and review the resources you have to help you. It's important to note that having a strategy to create change is key to successful planning.


A strategy is a plan of action that steers planning. A powerful tool that has helped groups envision and accomplish strategies is The Midwest Strategy Chart. This chart will help guide your group to decide what steps to take and when as you move forward with your policy. 

The Midwest Strategy Chart can be overwhelming to look at given the large amounts of text found all over the page, but it stands as one of the strongest organizing tools to use in the planning phase. Along with your group of active members, carve out some time to discuss the chart and fill one out. 

The Midwest Strategy Chart focuses on... (from left to right)

  1. Goals - highlights victories you want to win

  2. Organizational Considerations - considers resources and problems along the process of passing policy

  3. Constituents, Allies and Opponents - identifies individuals in your group, individuals who aren't part of your group but whose support you need, and those against your campaign

  4. Targets - identifies individuals who hold the power to give you what you want

  5. Tactics - identifies actions your group and supporters can take to influence the targets in order to reach your goals

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Once your group has filled out a Midwest Strategy Chart, you will get a sense of what needs to be done and what your group wants out of this process. The next part of the planning phase includes a more detailed line of tasks to ensure that the efforts your group makes will be acknowledged and supported. This phase would be to create a work-plan or somewhat of a timeline that will move the work forward. Below is a list of things this next planning phase includes:


Work-plan details to consider...

  • Evaluate previous efforts 

  • Identify obstacles

  • List resources available 

  • Develop a timeline

  • Know which advocacy tactics to use

  • Create messages that support the organization of the group


If you'd like to explore the different ways to advocate for policies, please check out our "Use Your Voice" tab; or visit our "Resources" page for more tools to use for planning: 

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