Know Your Audience


  • Determine your "audience".


Determining your audience is a key step in formulating your advocacy plan. Once you have clarified and researched your issue, you need to find the right person, or people, to approach. Your research should have clarified whether your issue should be undertaken with government, medical professionals, education professionals or others.

Following this step will help you to know how to complete the next one, which is framing your message so that you engage the interest of your audience.  You need to know who your audience is before you can determine if they have any special interests, personal knowledge of arthritis or your issue, or if they represent a political party that has taken a stand on your issue in the past. Your audience might be your local provincial representative, your child's school superintendent, a medical specialist or your employer.
  • Is the change you seek something that affects a group of people, e.g. all teachers or all medical students, or do you just need one individual to make a change?
  • Does your issue fall within the responsibilities of the federal government, provincial government, municipal government, local school board, your workplace Human Resources department, or another institution, e.g. the College of Physicians and Surgeons?
  • Who has the ability or influence to make the change you are seeking?

Determining your audience

  • Use the Who's Who and Who Does What [PDF] chart to determine the level of government in which your audience resides. For example, if you need to access a medication, your audience is likely your local elected provincial representative.
  • If your issue is medical, ask your family physician to whom you should address your advocacy efforts. If your issue is with your family physician, proceed to the next steps.
  • If you have an issue related to elementary or secondary school education, consult your child's teacher, Vice-Principal or Principal for assistance in determining your audience.
  • If you have a workplace issue, consult your Human Resources staff or union representative.
  • In some cases, you many identify more than one audience. You can approach all possible audiences to determine who the best person is to help you with your goal.
Once you have determined your audience, write your audience's name and contact information in the "Audience" section of the Advocacy Worksheet [PDF]. Knowing your audience will help you complete the next step.