The tools to advocate for change

December 14, 2023
Text over a yellow graphic that reads 'Champion shade for school and play'

Communities are where change begins.

When people in communities see the need for change, they can become passionate advocates for it. But as a community member, it can be hard to get your voice heard by those with the power to make change!

This is why we were excited to work alongside Cancer Council NSW to help them create a practical toolkit to support community members advocate for shade! Who doesn’t want sun safe play spaces for children and the wider community?

Two in three people who grow up in Australia are diagnosed with skin cancer yet it’s highly preventable. Shade can reduce sun exposure up to 75%.

The new Shade Advocacy Toolkit acknowledges that students, parents, volunteers, teachers and local organisations are often best placed to advocate for change in their own communities. Why? Because they know what’s needed, they are more persuasive when speaking about issues that affect them, and they have a genuine stake in the outcome. But people are time poor, and it can be hard to find the right information and the right things to say.

The Shade Advocacy Toolkit presents the evidence people need to advocate for more shade. It also provides tools and messages people can use to influence decisions and decision makers.

While the concept of supporting communities with toolkits is not a new one, this project had us excited about pushing the boundaries to make something different of this sometimes-tired resource. We wanted to create something innovative, interactive and practical.

We did this with the following principles in mind...

  1. Empower with knowledge: Understanding the issue, barriers, drivers, levers and key players helped define the scope of the toolkit and where the content should focus most. A rapid desktop review helped us define these things early on.
  2. Get creative: With a good handle on the issue and who can help create the change, was time to get creative. We worked with our expert design team to put together graphics, social media tiles, infographics, charts, journey and decision trees, influencer maps and a Powerpoint template to illustrate and communicate why shade in schools and public settings is so important.
  3. Design and test: A resource like this can have great information in it, but if it’s not user friendly, it won’t work to create the change we want to see. Working together with users to design and test resources developed help to make sure the end result is fit for purpose. We tested the toolkit and key resources with the target audiences as well as the decision makers and influencers who could be persuaded by advocates. This helped us make important refinements to the toolkit.

What other issues need advocacy tools and support? Get in touch if you think we can help you with an advocacy toolkit.

How can we help?
Eadie Hancock
Communication and Engagement Consultant
Sandra Jbeili
Senior Communication Consultant