Your organization needs to shape its key messages in the very early stages of preparing your advocacy plan. Key messages are clear and consistent statements about the issues, ideas, and actions that you are promoting. They are a critical part of the way you build understanding and motivate people to respond. Your organization will need to identify the key messages that you want to convey, the audiences that you are targeting, and the vehicles that will help you to get your key messages to your target audiences.
see sample Key Message (PDF)

In lobbying, key messages usually include the following:

Case statement

This is a clear articulation of the problem that you have identified, the solution and position that you are advocating, and the rationale that supports your position.


You need to state the expected outcomes of your proposed solution to a problem and identify the ways in which those outcomes will be measured and experienced. Be as clear as possible in describing how people’s lives and communities will be different if the measure you support passes or the measure you oppose is allowed to progress. For example, advocates of clean and safe water policies need to address the specific consequences of allowing fertilizers and manure to run into streams, rivers, lakes and aquifers as part of a campaign to stop feedlots from expanding.


Your lobbying campaign will want to include repetition of key phrases that capture the essence of the issue. For example, advocates for drug pre vention have repeated one brief slogan as part of every written statement or public notice: “Just say no to drugs.”

Persuasive statements

These are the oft-repeated statements that capture your ideas and touch the particular audience that you have targeted. These statements appeal to a specific audience’s interest in the issue. Identify in broad terms the audiences you are trying to persuade with your messages (city and county decision makers, legislators, community citizens, etc.). Develop up to four brief messages aimed at each of these different audiences. Print the messages on small cards that your advocates can use as reference tools when they speak to and meet decision makers.

Adapted from
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Lobbying and Advocacy Handbook