Are advocacy NGOs stupid or strategic?

I recently attended an invitation-only workshop on mining and sustainability hosted by the European Bank (EBRD) in London.  One of the themes developed at that event focused on ‘meaningful public consultation’. Simplified (if I may), one contributor seemed to suggest (plea?) that if we just do enough public consultation and education, NGOs and other groups will simply ‘swing around’ and accept the project/solutions offered by the project developers.

Experience suggests that some advocacy oriented NGOs are much more strategically oriented than some would give them credit for. They do not need ‘education’ per se. They simply take a different approach to balancing the people, planet and profit equation.

What frameworks and approaches to a meaningful public consultation have you found useful when faced with advocacy NGOs? What ranks high on your “do” and “don’t” list?