The Five Steps to Develop a Winning Campaign Strategy

Tackling the Challenge of Goal Setting and Impact Measurement from the Outset of Your Advocacy Campaign


Truth: forming a winning campaign communications strategy is not coming up with the number of social media posts you’ll want or how many infographics you’ll need. A strategy does not a list of deliverables make.

Here’s something I’ve learned over my 10+ years as an advocacy communications lead/digital mobilizer at nonprofit organizations: there’s a temptation in program teams to form their advocacy and policy strategies—and then call the comms people in. (We know you think of our stuff as the fluff.) But please, pretty please, on behalf of myself and all other communications professionals in the world, invite us in from the start, so we can work together to build out a strategy from the ground up.

Working with Media Cause as an Agency Partner

When you partner with Media Cause, we see you less as a client and more as a partner. Sure, we’re the marketing/creative/communications/digital people. And sure, no matter where you are in your planning, we can come in and help. But it works much better when we can think with you from the very beginning.

Why will this help you? You’re thinking, we have our policy and advocacy strategies. We’ve power mapped. We’re experts on the issue. We have our volunteer plan already set. Now, we just need to add a layer of strategic communications on top of that. But the most successful campaigns don’t have layers, where program strategy and communications strategy are like oil and vinegar. 

That’s because communications are only strategic when the tactics and goals are entirely aligned with your campaign goals. In the myriad of conversations I’ve had with advocacy leaders, they’ll outline their objectives, but when it comes to their communications goals, we hit a bump. We start talking about the wide world of things we can measure on digital, from click-throughs to signatures to site traffic.

And then they’re surprised when we come back with, “But why do you want those things? Will that really help you move the needle?” And there’s that oil and vinegar thing again: that dissonance exists because the goals for the campaign and communications goals shouldn’t be separate. 

There are a million and one agencies out there who will take your money and just crank out content. But there’s one agency (hint: it’s us) that doesn’t think that way. We’re about it, and we’re about you and the work you’re trying to do. Any day, any time, we pick value over vanity metrics. 

That’s why our approach is to delay strategy and communications and shift to an integrated approach. Rather than you just handing me a list of how many Facebook posts and ad graphics you want, our team wants to start by sitting down and diving deep into your goals. Then, using that knowledge, we deploy our expertise to figure out what the most impactful communications strategy would be.



That’s when we’ll talk about how your target audience isn’t where you actually think they are or they aren’t exactly who you think they are. That’s also where we’ll tell you where they really are, and who exactly they are—and how we can work together to mobilize them to take action in this campaign. And once we’ve developed our integrated communications strategy, we’ll measure against the right metrics 24/7 like it’s our job—because it is.

Like I said, there are a million and one agencies out there who will take your deliverables list and your money and go to town. But the road less traveled is where we live, and we’re proud to share it with our partners who have trusted us to walk it with them. Is it a shorter process? No, but it’s exponentially more impactful. We want to work with you from the very beginning to delay and integrate instead—for the real win.


How can we help?


Thinking ahead to next year and planning your advocacy campaigns and events? Media Cause now has a full advocacy shop that can help you craft strategic communications and tell your story in a clear and compelling way. Let’s start a conversation about how we might leverage our strategic, creative, and marketing expertise to achieve your goals. Get in touch.


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