Define advocacy: What is Advocacy and What is Not?

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)


How Do You Define Advocacy?

According to Mirriam Webster, advocacy is defined as the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. In the time I have worked, the process of supporting causes has changed. From needing lobbyists to meeting with legislators, all the way to how we promote causes, a lot has changed.  These days even the smallest of issues are running multi-year offensive or defensive campaigns.  Even though tactics have changed with new technology and better targeting, the premise for advocacy remains the same.  No matter what form advocacy; legal advocacy, health advocacy, community advocacy or political advocacy, we define advocacy as supporting an issue or cause and defining specific goals around that cause.  

As state legislatures across the country get ready for their sessions, it is time to plan for the next session and use your set of advocacy tools. 

Check out more information on our Advocacy Training here.

What is the difference between an advocacy campaign and a political campaign?

The difference these days seems less and less clear, but it boils down to express advocacy vs. issue advocacy.

Express advocacy means you are asking folks to vote for or against a candidate. Think magic words - vote for and vote against/ 

Issue advocacy means you are talking about issues or a cause.  

Why is this so important?

Advocacy matters because people are a lot more aware of advocacy issues rather than the back and forth of political campaigns. Issues relate to the general public more on a personal basis than most political campaigns. Well-thought out strategies will allow you to expand your member and fundraising base and connect on a personal level. It will also allow you to tell your story in a way that is less political and more issue-focused. Members and the general public are less likely to reject an appeal that is more issue focused than candidate focused. 

Have more questions on what is advocacy and how to define it? Drop us a note or come to our training to up your skills.