Writing an Issue Brief

AACP Article

Writing an Issue Brief

The issue brief is a short, written document that:

  • states the issue for consideration;
  • indicates a recommendation for action;
  • provides supporting information relevant to the issue and recommendation;
  • lists references for the supporting information and other resources as necessary; and provides contact information.

To be effective the length of an issue brief should be no more than two pages (front and back of one sheet of paper). That is why they are sometimes referred to as one-pagers.

If the issue brief is to be used among members of an organization the information presented in the issue brief should be consistent with and reflect any organizational policy or agenda.

The information presented in an issue brief can be assembled by using the information used in the development of an organizations advocacy agenda.

The Framework of an Issue Brief

State the issue for consideration. Briefly state what is important to you in the context of a current public policy issue and the relevance of the issue to your intended audience.

State the action you seek in connection with the above-stated issue. The recommendation may indicate the continuation, elimination, or amending of the issue.

Current Law
List any current law or regulatory framework that authorizes or supports the issue.

Provide supporting information relevant to the issue and recommendation:

  • List any organizational policy that supports or is relevant to the issue;
  • List the actions you employ or activities in which you engage in that demonstrate the importance of that issue to you;
  • List the current evidence-base that supports your actions or activities or suggests that these actions or activities lead to a given outcome; and
  • List the evidence-base used to establish the laws or regulatory framework listed above.


  • List the appropriate citations for the evidence-base you provide within the issue brief.
  • List any additional resources that you deem important to support your recommendation.

Contact Information
List the individuals the recipient of the issue brief can contact for more information about the issue.