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Issue Cut Quality Check

  • Organizers must work to discover suitable issue to focus on

Check out this quick refresher on policy, advocacy, and organizing for policymaking concepts. Find reflective questions to make connections to your work, so you can refine your strategies for policy change and disrupt oppressive systems that perpetuate inequity.

LEE Members are invited to dive deeper on this topic in our digital course Organizer’s Guide to Equitable Policy Change.



How do organizers test whether they have selected a suitable issue to focus on?


“A good issue builds the power of your organization. If it doesn’t build power, it isn’t a good issue.”

–Aaron Schutz and Marie G. Sandy, authors of Collective Action for Social Change


This checklist provides clear and effective guidance on issues you are considering targeting. If you answer yes to the following questions, then you have probably found an issue that’s worth your time and resources:


Do you know exactly what you’re asking for?

Reflection and clarification: Have you identified a specific policy or institutional practice that collective action or lobbying can change?


Does your action have a specific timeframe?

Reflection and clarification: Does your action coincide with a political or institutional practice or event? (e.g., the end of the school year, during budget meetings, etc.)


Do you know how you will measure/quantify your progress?

Reflection and clarification: How can you objectively establish the conditions for success and measure changes over time?


Have you identified a decision-maker with the authority necessary to make a meaningful commitment to your action?

Reflection and clarification: If you know the person or political body who can make the changes you have in mind for your goal, what are their interests? How can you use those interests to influence your target?



Reflections for Organizers

  • What did these questions reveal about the issue you are considering focusing on?
  • How could adjusting the way you frame your issue help focus your efforts?
  • What are some of the specific issues your organizing work can address?


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