Strategic Advocacy


OVER 10 YEARS in practice, our agency has worked with some of the biggest NGO and nonprofit groups in America on the most significant legislative and social issues of the day, including global warming, endangered species, gay rights and energy policy, in addition to international crises in South America, Africa and the Middle East. We have worked with multiple Nobel Peace Prize laureates and Presidents and Executive Directors in support of their work on behalf of the environment, human rights and social justice.  We reach constituents and Capitol Hill with precision.

The following is a small sampling of the many campaigns we’ve directed over our 10 years in practice.

Case Studies

“I Will Act On Climate” 27-State Bus Tour

iwill-3Our team implemented a 27-state “I Will Act On Climate” bus tour in the summer of 2013 that began in Nashville, Tennessee and came to a final stop in Long Branch, New Jersey. Inspired by President Obama’s announcement of new federal climate change standards, the “I Will” bus traveled to local communities which have been directly affected by climate change to highlight the need for local and federal action. At stops along the way, local mayors and state senators joined a coalition of community leaders, small and large business owners and environmental advocates to press for the immediate implementation of carbon pollution limits, as well as infrastructure improvements to deal with the effects of a warming planet. The “I Will” Act on Climate bus tour (#ActOnClimate) was supported by a diverse set of local, state-based, and national public business, health, and environmental organizations.


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Waangari Maathai

maathaiDr. Wangari Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, founder of the Green Belt Movement and a pioneering advocate for women, human rights and environmental conservation, traveled through the United States for a Fall 2009 US/Canada speaking tour.  She was one of the main participants at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting and the UN General Assembly. For interviews during her tour, she emphasized the urgent need for U.S. leadership to help save the world’s vanishing tropical forests – and how doing so could save the climate and U.S. consumers billions of dollars. Dr. Maathai worked with former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and top Members of Congress to make the United States a world leader in saving the world’s tropical forests. She passed away in 2011. She will be missed.


Human Rights Campaign


The Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Religion and Faith Program retained Caplan Communications for longer than two years to assert the organization’s public interest and social services agendas through the lens of religion and faith.  We helped insure that media could anticipate what the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization may have to say about equality.  On the other hand, what would prominent, ordained clergy and theologians have to add to the news about today’s most pressing social justice issues, respectively? Among the many newsworthy, local and national legislative campaigns, we fought to enact the “Matthew Shepard Act,” also known as “Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” and campaigned against discrimination in the workplace through the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). At planned intervals, Caplan Communications amplified faith voices at the grassroots and on the national stage through editorial boards in battleground states, as well as supported major press coverage keeping pace with an annual national fly-in and lobby day known as the Clergy Call for Justice and Equality on Capitol Hill. Our process involved advancing “The Dignity of Work” concept and affected major news coverage to explicitly prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.


Veterans For America

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 11.28.47 AMFor over a year Caplan Communications directed and managed communications for Veterans for America (CVA), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning veteran’s advocacy organization.  During that time we worked with VFA to break stories on its ongoing effort to expose health care problems in the VA system including at Walter Reed, Camp Pendleton, Fort Carson, Fort Hood and elsewhere; released VFA’s major report “Trends in Treatment of America’s Wounded Warriors;” and made VFA spokespeople such as co-founder Bobby Muller available for comment year-round.  We directed Veterans for America communications strategy and managed the major media response to their work in exposing the widespread problems in the VA system, which resulted in major articles in the Washington Post, the Denver Post and elsewhere. Dana Priest’s February 2007 Washington Post exposé uncovered appalling conditions and neglect concerning veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


The Whole Truth Campaign

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Caplan joined the victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to launch “The Whole Truth” campaign in support of the over 32,000 fishermen, women and Alaska Natives suing Exxon to recover damages for economic harm caused by the spill. Nearly two decades after the spill caused irreparable damage to the environment and the economy of Prince William Sound, Exxon had taken its fight to avoid responsibility all the way to the Supreme Court.  While there was no dispute that the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill was one of our nation’s worst environmental disasters, Exxon had waged an ongoing fight to escape responsibility. “The Whole Truth” campaign was meant to insure that the truth about the irreparable economic damage done to the communities of Prince William Sound be known, and that Exxon be held accountable.



Environmental Defense Fund

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 11.33.36 AM With more than 80 percent of the world’s fish stocks fully exploited, the Environmental Defense Fund has been leading the effort to implement a new program called “catch shares” to reverse the trend.  We worked with a coalition of local fishermen and EDF’s Director of the Catch Shares Design Center, Kate Bonzon, to advance EDF’s Catch Shares Design Manual to local communities where it can make a difference. Under a catch share program, managers establish a fishery-wide catch limit, assign portions of the catch, or shares, to participants, and hold participants directly accountable to stay within the catch limit. The Manual draws on hundreds of fisheries in over 30 countries, and expertise from over 60 fishery experts around the world. Any local fisherman can use the Manual to create a catch shares program.


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