Monitoring and evaluating advocacy: Companion to the advocacy toolkit

This guide, written by Julia Coffman for UNICEF, looks at strategies and features of evaluations that focus on assessing the impact of advocacy campaigns.

The key element of the guide is built around five questions for planning advocacy monitoring and evaluation. A number of case studies are also included to demonstrate how these key questions were answered in the field. 


"Planning for evaluation should occur at the start of an advocacy effort, ideally while the strategy is being developed or soon after. This is based on the proven premise that evaluation can be a key resource when integrated into advocacy efforts because it supports and informs the work as it evolves. Among elements that distinguish Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for advocacy:

Time frames can be unpredictable. Achieving an advocacy effort’s goals, particularly for policy advocacy, often takes many years. M&E data are often required before goals are achieved.

Strategies and milestones shift. Advocacy strategy evolves over time, and activities and desired outcomes can shift quickly. For M&E it means making adjustments so it is more relevant and realistic within an advocacy context.

Demonstration of contribution is expected, not attribution. When the purpose of evaluating advocacy is to determine impact, attribution is not possible. Therefore, evaluations that examine the link between advocacy efforts and their results have adopted a standard of contribution over attribution.

Assessing progress is important, not just impact. Advocacy M&E typically focuses on the advocacy journey rather than just the destination. In addition to demonstrating progress, this approach reduces the risk that the evaluation will conclude that the whole advocacy effort was a failure if advocacy goals are not achieved within the evaluation’s time frame.

Context should always be considered. Context matters when choosing advocacy strategies. It also matters when choosing M&E approaches and interpreting evaluation data."


  • Monitoring and evaluating advocacy  1
  • Distinctive features of advocacy monitoring and evaluation  2
  • Five questions for planning advocacy monitoring and evaluation  4
  • M&E Question 1. Who are the monitoring and evaluation users?  5
  • M&E Question 2. How will monitoring and evaluation be used?  5
  • M&E Question 3. What evaluation design should be used?  6
  • M&E Question 4. What should be measured?  13
  • M&E Question 5: What data collection tools should be used?  20
  • Putting it all together: Case studies from Tanzania, Mexico, Tajikistan and Iceland  47
  • Following up with next steps  39


Coffman, J. (n.d.). Monitoring and evaluating advocacy: Companion to the advocacy toolkit. UNICEF. Retrieved from: