The Tools of Advocacy

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.

This takeaway was derived from Advocacy Funding.


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