For most of the grantmakers who contributed to this guide, advocacy consisted essentially of seven instruments or methods, which could be used by grantees, funders, or both:
- Research aimed at clarifying public issues, weighing the merits of various options, and firming up the case for the solutions that work best.
- Constituency organizing and mobilization — that is, rallying people with a stake in the issue, helping them formulate and express their views, and supporting organizations and projects that help constituents advance those views in the public arena.
- Making current advocates more effective through general support, specialized training, networking with other advocates, and organizational development in areas relevant to advocacy, such as communications and information management.
- Forming and sustaining coalitions among constituency groups, researchers, experts in communications and public policy, and other groups that can help advance public debate.
- Using media to reach the right audiences, including two major branches of media strategy: reaching out to news organizations to generate coverage of the topic, and producing one’s own publications, ads, videos, events, and other broad outreach material.
- Litigation on issues of fundamental law or justice, especially in cases where existing policy is not being properly applied or the situation is urgent, as with constitutional issues.
- Direct approach to policy makers — a crucially important activity that may sound like “lobbying,” but actually runs into that legal limitation only in certain narrowly defined circumstances that are easy to avoid.
Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by GrantCraft using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.