How efficient are your lobby and advocacy interventions?

A tough, but not impossible question!

agenda June 6, 2019

At the conference on efficiency organised by The Spindle’s Efficiency Lab in The Hague, on 23 May 2019, Markus Palenberg and Pol de Greve provided some guidance for analysing the efficiency of interventions in the area of lobbying and advocacy. For many members of Partos an important issue considering the upcoming evaluation of the strategic partnerships in the framework of the Dialogue and Dissent programme. In this article, you’ll read more about measuring the efficiency of these specific interventions. 

Analysing the efficiency of interventions in the area of lobbying and advocacy is usually hard. The effects are often intangible and difficult to capture in numerical values. Yet, it’s not impossible! In a previous article “lessons learned from the Efficiency Lab”, we shared an option chart to help practitioners selecting the right method for a specific intervention. If this option chart is applied to interventions on lobbying and advocacy, two types of methods emerge:

  • Multi-Attribute Decision Making
  • Efficiency Ratings by Stakeholders

Multi-Attribute Decision Making
Multi-Attribute Decision Making (MADM) is usually done in the stage of designing the project in which teams are developing interventions or mixes of interventions.
 MADM involves systematically listing all criteria that matter and assigning weighting factors to these criteria. In order to consider efficiency, one of these criteria should be costs.

In the fictional example presented in the graph below, four different types of climate change campaigns are compared. The criteria are listed in the left column. The columns 2 to 5 contain the scores for various campaign interventions to influence decision making on climate change. The weighing factors are listed in column 6. Developing a list of criteria and weighting factors can be done by one person, a team of experts or stakeholders. The conclusion of this fictional example would be that ‘Mobilisation via Social Media’ is the preferred intervention. The advantage is that this method makes it possible to be very transparent why a specific intervention has been selected. The disadvantage of this method is that the criteria are subjectively determined. 

Source: Presentation by Pol De Greve and Markus Palenberg at the conference “Analysing the efficiency of development interventions”, organised by the Spindle in The Hague on 23 May 2019.

Efficiency Ratings by Stakeholders
In the evaluation stage of a project, Efficiency Ratings by Stakeholders can be applied. This can be done by asking stakeholders to rate the effectiveness of different real or hypothetical alternatives. The evaluator then assesses the costs of each alternative in order to come to a conclusion about efficiency. The results can be presented in a similar way as in this diagram: 

Source: Dr. Brian Cugelman and Eva Otero. 2010. Basic Efficiency Resource: A framework for measuring the relative performance of multi-unit programs. Leitmotiv and AlterSpark. Please note that it’s not clear how the impact was assessed in the case presented by Cugelman and Otero, but if impact is assessed using efficiency ratings by stakeholders the results can be presented in a similar diagram.

Coming soon: a guide to analysing the efficiency of development interventions
The methods that are explained in this article, as well as other methods for analysing the efficiency of development interventions, will be presented in a guide. This guide called “The Efficiency Lab: Lessons Learned – A guide to analysing the efficiency of development interventions” will be published by The Spindle next month. So stay tuned or if you want more information already contact Heinz Greijn (

Lessons learned from the Spindle’s Efficiency Lab

Read more

Practical guidelines for analysing efficiency

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Efficiency analysis: Why bother? … and why is it so difficult?

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