Strategies for the
The science and art we have been exploring is issue advocacy. Too often, however, issue advocates function as passive issue managers, waiting for issues to appear on their radar screens and then devising appropriate strategies to deal with them. They become reactive, only recognizing an issue so late in its life cycle that they have few options and limited opportunities to influence its course. On issue after issue, they are forced to play defense and catch-up. Success is too often defined as "minimizing one's losses."
Instead, issue advocates should take control of the agenda, identifying issues early in their life cycles and planning their campaigns while the opposition is still celebrating its victory (or licking its wounds) from the last campaign. As discussed in chapter 2, a relatively modest amount of resources can have a dramatic effect on an issue if it is applied early in the issue's life cycle, before public opinion is fully formed, opposing coalitions are built, grassroots and lobbying campaigns begin, and decision makers line up to declare their support or opposition.
Effective issue advocacy requires constant vigilance and foresight. Advocates need to use every tool at their disposal to anticipate the