Advocacy 101

Advocacy is telling your story to a decision-maker, through various means, with the express purpose of compelling that person to do (or not to do) something.  It is a process that normally takes time to realize tangible results and there is no one way to go about advocating. Advocacy is also grounded in two fundamental components:

  • The ability of you to tell your personal story – it is personal to your own style and comfort level.
  • The establishment and fostering of mutually-beneficial relationships with those who have the ability to effect change.

Finally, advocacy is empowerment – exerting some form of control or initiating some form of action around an issue that matters to you.

Why is Advocacy Important?

So why is advocacy important?  The easiest answer (as the saying goes) is because the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  But advocacy is also important because the alternative, not doing anything, is really no alternative at all.  Inaction has never led to change or progress.

Advocacy can make a difference because:

  • Decision-makers react to those credible groups or individuals who most effectively bring their issues to the forefront of the public agenda. 
  • In the case of advocating to government, they have competing interests and concerns that can only be fully discerned when people make their voices heard.
  • As voters and taxpayers, we all have the ability to effect change.

Different Kinds of Advocacy