Advocacy mapping exercise

The advocacy mapping exercise was carried out in 2013-2014 by partners involved in DRIVERS advocacy work (Eurochild, Business in the Community, EuroHealthNet and the European Anti-Poverty Network). It was conducted because early work in DRIVERS suggested information on how to advocate at the EU level is dispersed and not readily accessible - posing a barrier to potential advocates and reducing the potential effectiveness of advocacy efforts.

Discussions were held between partners to decide how to conduct the search, and how to classify the information. The search was conducted on the basis of expert knowledge inside the organisations, desk-based research, and feedback and discussion among partners. The definitions of "interlocutors" and "policies" were clarified as the search progressed (they can be seen in Instructions).

Policies and interlocutors were evaluated on 'opportunity to advocate', and 'potential to influence'. Interlocutors and policies which were considered as having sufficient 'opportunities' and 'influence' were included in the mapping exercise. This was very much a qualitative evaluation; while other research methods could provide a clearer picture, the policy landscape evolves quickly and it was not feasible to engage in further in-depth studies of the 'influence' and 'opportunities' for each and every policy and interlocutor.

Information was gathered in a spreadsheet, a public version of which is available to download. The information was then programmed into a set of pages, with links added to all of the relevant policies and interlocutors. As such, the mapping provides signposts for advocates, but then relies on advocates to make the decisions about who to approach, how to approach them, and what arguments to employ.

The opportunity to advocate: If opportunities are time bound e.g. by defined periods or by the EU semester process (see below). The potential outcomes of advocacy efforts.

The potential to influence: If it is clear who can advocate (e.g. NGO, citizens, MEPs, member states, Commission officials, etc.). Evidence or arguments to support advocacy are available (e.g. economic arguments, scientific evidence – surveys, qualitative, human rights, social justice, etc.).

Information for advocates

The information for advocates was prepared as a result of gaps being identified during the course of an expert workshop held in Brussels in 2013, a systematic review of the academic and grey literature, case studies across Europe, and interviews conducted with experts. The literature review, and additional searches, provided the bulk of the material developed in this section. Additional efforts had to be put into Printed materials and Economic arguments.

For advocates interested in consulting the source material, we suggest consulting the annexes of the systematic review.