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Nonprofit organizations are now continuously being challenged to be more strategic in their communications efforts. Communications activities must add up to more than a series of isolated events such as the dissemination of an occasional publication or press release. Being strategic requires that nonprofits be more deliberate, innovative, savvy, and less reactive in their communications practice. Nonprofits are encouraged to regard communications as essential to their overall success and integrate it throughout their organizations.1As a result of this movement, an array of new tools, resources, and trainings have been developed to help organizations better understand the concept of strategic communications, develop their own communications strategies, and evaluate them for both accountability and learning purposes. But while nonprofits are learning how to develop strategies and are gaining a better understanding of their importance, questions remain about their actual follow through in practice and nonprofits' overall capacity to implement their strategies given their relative inexperience in this field and the many priorities, including communications, that often compete for scarce organizational resources.
Examines the theory and strategies of "public will" campaigns and offers tangible criteria for their evaluation. It provides a rich inventory of strategies for use in mobilizing the public will through an integration of models of agenda building, social problem construction, issues management, social movements, media advocacy, and social capital. In addition, the paper provides cases and examples of public will campaigns directed at various social problems, along with criteria for evaluating these campaigns at various stages of a social problem's life cycle.
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