Stage 2: Goals and Objectives

 

In developing an advocacy plan that will help us frame and implement a strategy for intentionally creating change in a system, we must articulate our goal and ultimate objectives. Our goal and corresponding objectives guide our work. As we move iteratively through our plan and adapt it as necessary, it is our goal and objectives that keep us focused on both our overall strategy as well as the positive impact we are seeking. 

A goal is the change that will result from our advocacy work. We develop and adapt goals based on our understanding of the problem and what will have the most impact. We translate our goal into one or more objectives—the solution or specific public policy change necessary to complete the goal. Once a number of objectives have been generated, we will use a set of viability criteria to help us prioritize them.

We have outlined a number of tools here to support the development of a goal and objectives. First, the Creating a Goal tool helps us turn our problem area into a goal. Next, the Developing Objectives tool helps us turn our goal into actionable objectives. We will then use the Prioritization Framework to identify which objectives we need to focus on. 

 

Setup

 

Materials

Gather the following list of materials

  • Your problem frame in large-print to post for all participants to see
  • 3” x 3” sticky notes—one pad per participant
  • 8 pieces of blank paper 
  • Dark markers—one per participant
  • Pens—one per participant
  • 15 Prioritization Framework worksheets
  • 1 Goal Framework printout
  • 1 Objective Framework printout

Sort out logistics

  • Find a time that makes sense for you and your participants—you’ll need about 3.5 hours.
  • Find a relatively open space with a blank wall and book it for that time
  • Send out invitations to your participants
  • Acquire your materials 
  • Plan your break times—people need breaks! 

Preparation

Determine who should be there

  • You’ll ideally have 5 to 10 participants
  • Who, outside of your organization, do you need in the room to understand the problem? Ex., are there experts, community organizations, people with lived experience, or other community leaders who should be invited? Who knows about your problem? 
  • Who from within your organization do you need in the room to understand the problem?

Room Setup

Set up the room for participants

  • We recommend beginning set up about 30 minutes ahead of time.
  • Have chairs available for all participants, set up in groups of 3-5, evenly dispersed according to number of participants. 

 

Process

 

Welcome the Group

(5 MIN)

1. Introduce the workshop

  • Why are we here?
    • We’re here today to determine our goals and objectives for [problem frame].
  • What are we doing today?
    • In this session, we’re going to articulate our goal, explore solutions to our problem to help us achieve that goal, and generate and prioritize our objectives.

 

Creating a Goal

(45 MIN)

Goals are defined as the overarching changes that will result from advocacy work. This exercise benefits from the wisdom of a diverse group, so do your best to gather the right group with knowledge and experience in each of the problem areas you plan to work through.

Setup:

  • Post your Problem Frame in an easy-to-see location
  • Post your sheet with thefill-in-the-blank goal phrase for the group to see:
    • By ______, we want to achieve ______ in ______.
          milestone                                  change     location

1. Solo idea generation (8 minutes)

  • What is our goal? 
  • Starting solo, have the group write down their ideas for filling in the blanks of the goal statement you have posted.
  • Remind the group that they can only make a decision with the information they have in front of them, and this is just a first-pass at articulating the goal.
  • A milestone is a date or event
  • The change they choose should be measurable
  • This location can be a country, region, city, organization, etc.

2. Small group discussion (15 minutes)

  • Share goals
  • Break into small groups and have participants share their goals with each other. Ask for one goal statement from each small group. 
  • If the groups get stuck...
  • Ask them to think about and share similar goals that have been achieved in other locations. What was the change there? The time-line?

3. Share: (15 minutes)

  • Share the problem statements
  • Bringing the group back together, ask each group to share their problem statement, write it on piece of paper and post it on the wall for everyone to see. 
  • Choose a problem statement
  • Ask everyone to consider the goals they’ve come up with, and select one combination to move forward with.
Problem Statement

Developing Objectives

(60 MIN)

It is important to generate many objectives that respond to each goal. It encourages the group to think in big and innovative ways.

Setup:

  • Write the goal out in large font and post it on the wall so everyone can see it.
  • Write out the S.M.A.R.T. acronym for everyone to see: 
    • Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound
  • Post your objective fill-in-the-blanks sheet on the wall so everyone can see it.
    • With the ______, we will achieve ______ by ______, leading to _____.
              type of objective                     solution    milestone                   goal

1. Solo idea generation (5 minutes)

  • Ideate solutions to the causes and consequences
    • Starting solo, have the group make a list of solutions to the causes and consequences identified in the problem tree, which would lead to achieving your goal. 
    • These can remain fairly high level (ex. “Public education”)

2. Small group discussion (10 minutes)

  • Share solutions in small groups
    • Break into small groups and have participants share their solutions with each other. 
  • Capture the group’s ideas
    • Have each group write out their solutions on small sticky notes. 
    • You want to end up with about 5-10 possible solutions altogether. 
    • Ask the groups to withhold judgment. You’ll be doing a prioritization exercise next that will help you decide which solutions to move forward with. 
    • Keep in mind that at the end of the process, you want to end up with 8 to 12 objectives. Ask each group for 3 to 6 objectives, depending on how many groups you have. 

3. Share (10 minutes)

  • Read aloud all ideas and ensure the group has clarity
    • Bring the group back together and ask each small group for their sticky notes.
    • Read them aloud, and post them on the wall for everyone to see.
    • Ask if anyone needs clarity on any of the solutions. If clarity is requested, ask the group who wrote that solution to explain. 

4. Objective idea generation (8 minutes)

  • Generate S.M.A.R.T. objectives
    • Looking to our solutions for reference, ask the group to, individually, generate S.M.A.R.T. objectives that realize those solutions.
    • Examples of types of objectives are: establishment of an issue on the political agenda, development, adoption, or implementation of a new public policy, locking in or maintenance of an existing public policy, etc.
    • Also note the solution the objective is working toward. 
  • Use your fill-in-the-blank phrase on the wall as your structure:
    • With the ______, we will achieve ______ by ______, leading to ______
             type of objective                     solution  milestone                     goal

5. Small group discussion (10 minutes)

  • Share objectives 
    • Break into small groups and have participants share their objectives with each other. 
  • Capture group ideas
    • Have the groups write their objectives down on sticky notes, one per note.
  • If the groups get stuck...
    • Ask them to think about and share similar objectives that have been achieved in other locations. What was the change there? The time-line?

6. Share (15 minutes)

  • Collect the ideas, read them aloud, and ensure the group has clarity
    • Bring the group back together and ask each small group for their sticky notes.
    • Read them aloud, and post them on the wall for everyone to see.
    • Ask if anyone needs clarity on any of the solutions. If clarity is requested, ask the group who wrote that solution to explain. 
    • Remove any duplicates
    • Remind the group to withhold judgment as discussion arises. You’ll be prioritizing next! 
Goals and Objectives

Prioritization Framework

(90 MIN)

Once you have a set of objectives, you can use this prioritization framework to identify which objectives you should start working on first.

Setup

  • Divide the group into groups of 2-3, and ensure each group has a surface to write on
  • Hand out a prioritization framework to each group. 

1. Fill out a prioritization framework for each objective (60 minutes)

  • Assign objectives
    • You will likely need 15 minutes per objective. 
    • Assign each group one of the first three objectives and instruct them to fill in the framework sheet.
    • As a group finishes a framework, hand them a blank framework and assign them to the next objective.

2. Compare your scores (30 minutes)

Look at which objectives scored the highest overall and which objectives scored low in Key Contribution and Comparative Advantage and high in Momentum (since these objectives require a timely response). 

  • Reflect
    • Take 15 minutes to reflect on the relative scores of each objective. Ask the group the following questions:
      • What are the scores? 
      • What surprises you? 
      • What excites you? 
      • What scares you? 
      • Do we need to revisit any of the scores? Why? 
  • Decide 
    • Decide on a time-frame for completing the top few objectives, and use this time-frame to decide which objectives should be started right away. 

Output

Coming out of the session, you will have

  • An articulated goal
  • 5 to 10 solutions to your problem that will support your goal

  • 8 to 12 prioritized S.M.A.R.T. objectives

Downloads

Download and print these ahead of the session

 

Reflection