Everyone deserves a chance to live up to their full potential.
Phoenix Zones Initiative is fueled by this basic principle, and we aim to do what seldom is done: to revolutionize how human and animal rights are perceived and advanced, to foster key alliances and coalitions, and to redefine and solve major problems hurting our fellow human and nonhuman beings.
In order to eliminate institutional violence and promote individual and community resilience, we embrace the core principles of
- respect for liberty and sovereignty;
- a commitment to compassion, tolerance, and justice; and
- a fundamental belief that each individual possesses dignity.
One of our key objectives is to create an effective and active citizenry engaged in advancing rights, health, and wellbeing for people, animals, and the planet.
Since social and environmental injustice and violence are embedded in our systems and institutions, we’ve created this free, online effective advocacy toolkit to help you engage in meaningful change.
The toolkit is organized to follow a particular process—just click through each section below—but you can also explore specific sections that are most relevant to your needs.
What Is Effective Advocacy?
There are a lot of ways to advocate for positive change, but centuries of attempting to stop institutionalized cruelty to people and animals, end inequities, and reverse environmental destruction have shown that not every action or solution is effective. And sometimes actions can have unintended negative consequences.
There are numerous definitions of effective advocacy. Here’s how we define it:
Effective advocacy addresses the deep roots of social and environmental injustice in ways that transform our systems and institutions so that everyone can rise and thrive.
Components of Effective Advocacy
While there are numerous models of effective advocacy, our model includes:
- Build a foundation based on an ethical and strategic framework.
- Create a plan and process.
- Implement the plan.
- Evaluate the plan and improve it based on feedback and evidence.
Explore the Toolkit
The toolkit is organized into the following sections:
Section 1: The Foundation
The Foundation: An Ethical Framework
The Foundation: A Strategic Framework
- Focus on systems change.
- Understand and use systems-thinking tools.
- Stay informed.
- Understand how we behave and why.
- Understand strategies for influencing and motivating others.
- Understand power dynamics.
- Develop advocacy skills.
Section 2: Create a Plan and Process
- Identify, examine, and understand the issue you want to address.
- Identify the key stakeholders and their roles and build relationships with appropriate individuals and groups.
- Understand the system, what can be influenced, and what the leverage points are.
- Develop goals and objectives.
- Develop strategies, tactics, a plan of action, and a plan for evaluation.
Section 3: Implement Your Plan
Section 4: Evaluate, Reflect, Improve
- Evaluate your efforts.
- Reflect on your work and the situation.
- Improve based on your reflection and evaluation.
- Take time to celebrate and renew.
Here are a few things to know about this toolkit:
- We welcome your questions and feedback to help us make the toolkit a more effective tool for systems-change advocacy.
- The contents of this toolkit are generally relevant to every advocate, but some pieces may be more or less appropriate depending on whether you’re working on your own, as part of a group, or as part of a larger movement, and on what your goals are.
- Many people and organizations have done fantastic work around effective advocacy and systems change, and we have referred to their work throughout this toolkit. However, while Phoenix Zones Initiative’s mission is to advance the rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet, and we approach effective systems-change advocacy using that framework, many of those we reference do not yet approach their work with that lens.
- We acknowledge the systemic racism, ableism, and other forms of structural violence that are ingrained in many advocacy movements and resources, and we are striving to embed inclusiveness, equity, and diversity in our own work.
Contact us here to share any questions or feedback about the toolkit.