Short course: Advocating to influence people, politics and policies

Event type Courses
Start date 6 November 2018 1 PM UTC
End date 7 November 2018

A few years ago, a prominent U.S politician left Congress to head up a large think tank. Why?  Because, he explained, working for a think tank would give him greater power to influence politics and policy.

Most think tanks consciously seek to influence powerful institutions. However, many still struggle to influence public debates and institutional actions.

In a climate where donors are demanding to see ‘impact’ and there are a growing number of competing groups (like lobbyists and campaigning charities) aggressively pushing their policy positions, think tanks must learn to advocate effectively in order to survive.

This course will help you to increase the public and political relevance of your think tank and its contribution to democracy. This will also help it to survive and grow in an increasingly competitive environment.

It is a practical course, covering how to plan, budget and implement an effective research-based advocacy strategy. You will also learn how to develop and clearly communicate actionable policy recommendations.

Who it is for

Think tankers who want to use high quality policy research to influence public debates and institutional actions. Research, communications, grant writers and managers can all benefit from this course.

It is aimed at people who have experience in policy research environments, but who have not approached advocacy systematically before (note: calling a press conference every time you publish a paper and Tweeting about it does not count as systematic advocacy!)

Course outline

Background note

  • Different approaches to advocacy.
  • How to integrate advocacy and research into your project cycle.
  • Tools for planning advocacy campaigns.
  • Useful information sources.

Webinar one: Moving from theory to practice

  • Strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to advocacy.
  • Defining advocacy aims.
  • Defining research needs.

Webinar two: Making it happen

  • Defining stakeholders and specific decision points.
  • Developing actionable policy recommendations.
  • Why should decision-makers listen to you?
  • Why should decision-makers act?
  • Taking an insider approach or using external pressure?

Personal task

Develop an integrated research-and-advocacy project, including a timeline. For an additional fee you can receive personalised feedback from the facilitator.

Key dates

Webinar one: Tuesday 6 November 2018, 1pm UTC (TBC)
Webinar two: Wednesday 7 November 2018, 1pm UTC (TBC)
Personal task submission: 
Wednesday 14 November 2018


The course costs GBP 50.

For an optional fee of GBP 30, your personal assignment will be reviewed by the trainer and you will receive a certificate of completion.


Join the webinar by registering through Eventbrite below.

Registration closes: Monday 5 November 2018.

Before signing-up, please review our terms and conditions.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]


Till Bruckner has over a decade of experience in the field of research-driven advocacy. His professional history spans research, advocacy, policy analysis, and journalism. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, including the UK, Afghanistan, Georgia, North Africa and the Caribbean. Till runs the TranspariMED campaign, advocates for Transparify, consults with a variety of organizations, and is a regular contributor to the On Think Tanks blog. He is interested in the hidden power relationships that structure global politics and our everyday lives, and in learning new ways of using research and advocacy to produce positive outcomes. Till holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Bristol. His full professional history and list of publications can be found on his LinkedIn page.