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Advocacy for Organizations

We've received a lot of requests for information about how organizations can incorporate the advocacy that is integral to their mission into their regular operations. For some organizations, that means a serious commitment of time and energy, but it doesn't have to. 

Never grow a wishbone . . . where your backbone ought to be.

-- Clementine Paddleford

The best way we can get the message to policymakers is to support our clients in communicating themselves. As is true for consumers, there are many ways to make a difference that fit within your organization's current resources and comfort level. Just a once a year meeting of your clients with your local legislators at your agency can be all it takes - and who doesn't have time to have breakfast.

It is gratifying to see that many organizations whose main function is not advocacy, but perhaps spiritual, direct service or businesses, are interested in making a commitment to advocacy. They recognize that, especially in these difficult times, policymakers do not automatically have all the information they need about what is happening in the "real" world where we all live and work. They realize that we are not really doing our jobs if we don't carve out some time and energy to communicate with the people who develop the policies that affect our constituents' lives and to support our clients in directly communicating with policymakers. And that is pure advocacy.

While it is impossible to address on one page all the issues and misconceptions involved, there is a marvelous, highly recommended, to-the-point booklet on the subject - Speak Up: Tips on Advocacy for Publicly Funded Nonprofits by Suri Duitch, ed. Carl Vogel of the Center for an Urban Future, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

However, to really do it justice, you should get a hard copy. Just contact Robin Keegan at the Center ( ) and they will send you a copy for free - send your mailing address and the number of copies you would like.

And keep up the good work.

Related Articles

Hosting a Legislative Breakfast

Celebrating Your Victories - Finding Something to Celebrate

Advocacy for Organizations - Choosing Your Issue(s)


Electoral Advocacy Toolkit for Nonprofits from Voices for America's Children (formerly the National Association of Child Advocates)

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