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Government engagement – recalibrate and start with the vision

13 June 2019 at 7:15 am
Jo Scard
Now is the time for the sector to regroup and set some goals for a new government engagement strategy, writes Fifty Acres founder and CEO Jo Scard.

Jo Scard | 13 June 2019 at 7:15 am


Government engagement – recalibrate and start with the vision
13 June 2019 at 7:15 am

Now is the time for the sector to regroup and set some goals for a new government engagement strategy, writes Fifty Acres founder and CEO Jo Scard.

As we all get adjusted to the May federal election result we also have to come to grips with how we can recommit or recalibrate our engagement goals. Although the result has come as a surprise to many, and a potential roadblock for some organisations based on the ideas they were hoping to pursue, it’s important for the sector to regroup individually and collectively where appropriate to assess tactics.

Start out with a SWOT analysis of the new Coalition team in your patch – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Having a clear idea of each will allow you to set realistic goals.

This week I provide guidance about how to get started:

  1. Start with your vision. We can often get lost or sidetracked when defining a new government engagement strategy or a new project. Remind yourself why your organisation exists, and what inspires you at your core. These ideas are the beating heart of your project!
  2. What is the win-win? Start thinking early on about who your strategy will benefit in order to create win-win opportunities. Think laterally about who these groups might be. Doing so could help you greatly increase the reach and impact of what you’re doing. What are the different angles for your strategy that might get people excited and eager to get involved? When the benefit is mutual, the motivation for success is greater.
  3. What is the big picture? Deciding whether you’re planning a one-off project or an ongoing campaign or strategy will help define what you’re setting out to achieve. Knowing this will change how you approach each task within the strategy. Looking at the big picture will help set your goals.
  4. Decide on your goals. Prioritising the nitty-gritty of your strategy and getting your ducks in a row will save you buckets of time down the track. What is the goal? How will you get there? Get to know the strategic direction and desired result, it’ll be your best friend through this process. Always remember it never hurts to have a plan!
  5. Do your research. Research will help you in many ways. It can uncover your competition, provide vital information about your audience and identify risks, leading you to be able to position yourself better. Doing research will help position your organisation and project correctly!
  6. Who is your audience? Getting to know your audience/s will help your strategy succeed. Do you know who they are? Or understand their needs? Gaining knowledge of how they will react or take part in the project will help you put your best foot forward Your audience might be different to what you initially thought!
  7. Use data to back up your campaign. Before you approach anyone, make sure that you fully understand the issue, and have hard evidence and data to back up why it is important. You then need to transform this information into easily understood key messages. Before you reach out to anyone, also determine why your chosen target needs to know about this issue/you and try to adapt the key messages to be relevant to them. Take a moment to explain in universal terms why your issue is important here.
  8. What’s your call to action? The strategy should pivot around a clear call to action. This underpins your actions and therefore outcomes. What do you need your audience to do or understand? Relate the actions and outcomes to your audience to gain interest. Are they affected and do they need support? Or do they need to take action to change an outcome? Take charge in directing your audience down the right path, so they can engage with your strategy/project!

Over the next two columns I’ll outline how you can approach a strategy, from end-to-end, so by the end of it you’ll be up and running!

In the meantime, if you want help to navigate the new political landscape, to come up with a winning engagement strategy or assistance with a strategic communications strategy or PR outreach, get in touch with Jo Scard at Fifty Acres on 02 6281 7350 or visit

Jo Scard  |  @ProBonoNews

Jo Scard is the founder and managing director of Fifty Acres.

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