Coping with ‘proxy reporting ‘

My advice here – and it is pressure that many advocacy campaigners are up against to come up with their indicators – is the same as I offered to the bureaucratisation challenge.

It is so important to show that you are committed to being held accountable and to showing what progress, if any, is being made by your campaign. But far from being pushed into proxy indicators, make the case for reporting on your theory of change. If the pressure for numbers is intense, then maybe there can be a compromise whereby you agree to indicators for certain phases of your theory of change. So for example as you launch your campaign, you may see the benefit of having a target for the number of new allies; you might then move on to the number of supportive meetings with MPs; and then as you build up Ministerial interest you might report on the number of meetings with key officials.

The crucial point is that each indicator is based on your theory of change; you are reporting on something you both want and need to do.

Otherwise you run the risk of developing proxy measures as you feel you have to offer something to be measured, and then these measures could completely deflect your responsiveness by making you undertake unnecessary actions.

But the critical reporting element must be your theory of change. If you can maintain this focus internally, you will be so much better placed to deal with these internal challenges.

Ultimately you want your colleagues to be enthused by both your advocacy campaign message and your story for the campaign (or your theory of change). If you can stay focused on your message and keep people updated on your theory of change, then your momentum and enthusiasm should carry people with you!

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