Our Steering Committee (21 members) was responsible for overseeing the implementation of The Advocacy Initiative. Membership of this group was open to any community and voluntary organisation engaged in social justice advocacy. This group met quarterly and elected a Chairperson.

As we developed and staff were employed a decision was made to form a smaller 5-7 member Project Management Group. This group met monthly to co-ordinate the day-to-day management. The Steering Committee nominated the members of this group.


We received two tranches of funding from Atlantic Philanthropies as follows:

  • €50,000 to undertake the scoping research.
  • €500,000 (plus €50,000 in-kind co-financing from Focus Ireland and the Saint Vincent de Paul) for the implementation of the detailed three year work programme.

Analysis of three year project spend

Description of Spend

Total spend

% of the Total Project Budget

Consultancy and activity costs (research, events, tools etc).  Employment of specialists to undertaken specific pieces of work



Staff and expenses

  • Director (appointed August 2011) (50% role)
  • Communications Officer (appointed October 2012) (50% role)
  • Admin Support (CE) (2012-2013) (10-20% role)



Communications (including websites)



Administration (including operational costs, rent, light, heat, equipment)



Project evaluation €18,875 3%




What was unusual about our programme was that the majority of the resources were spent on the employment of specialists to undertake specific pieces of work. Staff resources were limited to one full-time equivalent. Overheads were kept to a minimum and we avoided establishing an office infrastructure.


Internal and external communications were identified as important early in the development of The Advocacy Initiative. We developed a two phase communications plan to guide our work in this area. The first phase focused on building awareness and credibility of The Advocacy Initiative among key social justice stakeholders and on building our capacity to engage with the wider media. The second focused on strengthening the reach and support for social justice advocacy more generally and benefited from the recruitment of a part-time Communications Officer in October 2012.

Our key communication tools included:

  • The Advocacy Initiative website (which went live on 22nd June 2012) has had approximately 12,335 unique visitors, 42% of which were return visitors, the average number of pages visited per visit was 3.35.
  • The development and operation of our customer relationship management database which monitored and tracked all our interactions by the various different stakeholders involved with the Initiative.
  • The monthly Advocacy Post e-mail newsletter as well as monthly updates for The Wheel’s Focal Point newsletter.
  • The use of social media (Facebook and Twitter). We made more use of Twitter than we did Facebook as it was a channel that suited our needs to disseminate information and was used at events for people to comment via hashtags.
  • The commissioning of blogs with an average of three minutes spent reading each blog.
  • The development of various print materials which provided information on The Advocacy Initiative.
  • Engagement with the wider media (to raise awareness of the work, events and findings emerging from the work of the Initiative) through press releases and articles). Media coverage achieved included articles in the Irish Times (5 articles and a series of letters), The Irish Examiner (2), the Irish Independent (1), the Evening Herald (1), (2), Be the Change (2) and the Irish Social Worker Journal (1). 
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