Apolitical is where public servants around the world stay ahead of the frontiers in their field, find innovative policy ideas and build a global network of peers and experts. We’re used by influencers in 160 countries who want to make government work better for citizens.
Who can contribute
We want to give you the opportunity to share your ideas and speak directly to our global membership. Thought leaders who contribute opinion pieces include forward-thinking civil servants, innovators from government labs, inspirational advocates and expert academics.
Past contributors include:
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia
- Paula Forteza, Member of Parliament, France
- Steven Pinker, Author and Professor
- Luis Felipe Salin Monteiro, Secretary for IT, Brazil
- Libby Lyons, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australia
- Kevin Cunnington, Director General, UK Government Digital Service
- Amanda Daflos, Director, Los Angeles Innovation Team
- Krzysztof Szubert, Former Secretary of State, Poland
- Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive, GovTech Singapore
- Christian Bason, CEO, Danish Design Centre
How to contribute
You can use the links to email us a pitch (a paragraph explaining your article idea), a whole story, or just to learn more. We accept ideas on all topics relevant to our members — who are tackling some of the world’s hardest challenges. You can see the topics we focus on by joining the platform, and we prioritise pitches from vetted members.
If you want further structure and guidance — particularly if you’re new to this type of writing — we recommend that you download our template for writing a powerful policy article.
Opinion pieces must argue a specific point of view and must have clear relevance for someone working in government. That could be a call to adopt a solution, analysis of a policy, a discussion about evidence, or an opinion on a pressing topic. We like to go beyond identification of problems and point to constructive solutions. In terms of style, they are snappy and journalistic, though based on rigorous evidence and linked carefully to all sources. Below are six top tips for writing pieces that Apolitical members will love.
1. Keep it simple… and short
Focus your attention on one topic: better to nail one than skip over several. 700 words — five or six minutes of reading time — is enough to do that. Short, snappy writing is most likely to get noticed, especially on social media. Think how busy you are: that’s how busy every public servant who’ll read your words is! One way of focusing the mind can be to think about the headline or how you would Tweet the piece once it’s ready: what’s the single key point that will make people desperate to read it?
2. Serve the reader
Lesson number one on most journalism courses: what matters most is what readers want to know. When picking a topic, think about what public servants around the world would want to read. Is it a subject that applies to at least several countries? Will it help public servants do their jobs better? Is it an argument they’re likely to find inspiring — or that will provoke them to respond or act?
3. Be bold
Take this opportunity to really make your case. You don’t need to launch a polemic, but you should be getting across a clear argument. If you’re writing about a policy you helped deliver, what was the main reason it worked/failed? If you’re naming an issue readers should be interested in, why is it important? In general, put your most interesting points high up the piece. Feel free to discuss your plan with us.
4. Make it concrete
Real-life examples, such as a short paragraph about a person affected by the topic, make posts much more memorable. One or two stand-out statistics can also jolt the reader’s attention. Situate stats by comparing them to a global average, or make them meaningful to the reader by relating them to everyday values they can grasp quickly.
5. Avoid too many numbers, dates, acronyms, or jargon
It’s important to keep your writing clear and accessible. One statistic can be powerful. But too many are confusing and the most important one may be forgotten — so think hard about when to use them.
Try to avoid terminology which is very subject-specific, and cut out jargon words or phrases which obscure literal meanings. Some examples of common buzzwords and phrases to avoid are “engaging stakeholders”, “siloed thinking”, “ideation”, “conditionality”, “holistic”, “contestability”, “building capacity” and “cascade down”.
6. Be as apolitical as possible
Try to focus on evidence and facts, rather than the politics that may surround these. We’ve found that often policy solutions are deliberately and unnecessarily politicised. And this narrows your audience and reduces the scope for a fact-based debate about what makes the lives of citizens better.
(Picture credit: Pexels)