Some of the best advocacy can often be done by making use of opportunities that arise in your organisation to speak, present, show, or gain visibility. However, these opportunities often emerge unexpectedly and quickly, and they don't leave a lot of time for preparation. Although you may have a more organized strategy or plan to undertaking advocacy towards opening agricultural knowledge, unforeseen opportunities for advocacy can be made use of. It is vital to be willing and prepared to act upon such opportunities.

This part of the toolkit tries to equip you with some quick and easy resources and tools to help make use of those unforeseen opportunities to achieve some good advocacy around opening access to knowledge.

Some examples of opportunities for advocacy

  • internal meetings with staff (and partners), e.g general staff meetings, unit or department meetings 
  • technical seminars in your organisation or in other (partner) organisations
  • technical workshops in your organisation or in other (partner) organisations
  • training events for researchers
  • launches of new organizational websites and intranets, or elements of those
  • social media channels-both internal (e.g Blogs, Yammer) as well as external (blogs, twitter)
  • internal newsletters 

Defining and planning your opportunistic advocacy

Making use of existing events and other opportunities to do some ad-hoc advocacy around opening up agricultural knowledge can be very positive, but this is not always the best approach.  The benefits and drawbacks must be considered when you consider how to use such opportunities. An ad-hoc approach to advocacy may only be valid for certain goals, due to the fact that you are unable to 'manage' the target groups, the delivery mechanisms and sometimes even the content that can be used. If you want to make certain changes or achieve particular goals with your advocacy, then you may need to develop and implement a more strategic approach as described in Tool 5- How to plan and develop a strategic approach to advocacy.

Some things to consider in order to take advantage of such opportunities include:

  • Consider who the target audience is that can be reached by the particular opportunity (are they who you want to reach? can they help you to reach others?)
  • Identify what you expect from that target group or what you would like them to do or change (e.g awareness, actions, decisions, etc)
  • Consider what do they need to make that change? (knowledge, message, tool, training, evidence, etc)
  • Consider what you can tell, show or do with them that will provide the evidence, methods and tools for to support what is needed to make the desired change?
  • Define how can this be best done through the opportunity/ies available?

Make sure to check out Tool 6-How to select and target key decision-makers

Are you faced with any of the opportunities below? Then check out some of hints, resources, tools and examples which could help you to make use of them

Is your organisation's website being updated, modified or redesigned?  This could be a great opportunity to advocate for the use of tools to make knowledge more available and accessible- from repositories to blogs

Are some printed materials being prepared about your organization/your unit/particular topics? Such materials could contain text/images on the open access status of your organization to influence partners/donors/general public. You can also include some advocacy arguments and images in internal documents.

Is your organisation hosting an event or are you attending an event? You can give presentations on the value of opening up access to research outputs, status of open access in your organisation, and how to improve access to information in your organisation. You can combine events - internal or external - that are in your organization's calendar to showcase posters, printed materials, give demonstrations, give presentations, make speeches etc.

Is your organization using social media and can you contribute? You can promote current open access to knowledge from your organization through these channels. You can use these various channels to have discussions with partners, other interested parties and others about open access

Is your organization holding an internal seminar, meeting or conference? You can gan give presentations on the value of opening access to research outputs, status of open access in your organisation, how to improve access to information in your organization.  You can use some of your organisation's events to showcase posters, printed materials, give demonstrations, give presentations, make speeches etc.