Becoming a strong advocate

Advocacy, as used here, doesn’t always mean directly influencing legislation. Sometimes it means influencing local decisions at the municipal, county, or state level, or educating your community about important threats to their waters and providing methods to engage in local political processes. Other times it may simply mean supporting the positions of others. Regardless of how you frame your advocacy efforts, incorporate these best practices to become a stronger advocate.

  • Nurture a strong organizational culture and build a solid leadership team. Reasonable board oversight will go a long way in supporting your programmatic objectives. Your culture and leadership contribute to the development of thoughtful policies and strategies, which can be converted into a well thought-out, and successful , advocacy plan.
  • Create thoughtful, intentional, and deliberate processes. By being strategic and not just reactive, organizations are able to build up their power which in turn ensures strength and influence for their respective programs. By establishing processes, you can define the limits of your work and better your fundraising efforts.
  • When you do build effective relations with elected officials, effective communication regarding the issues that your group is addressing is critical. If you are not succinct and honest when addressing these people of interest, your advocacy efforts will be derailed from the start.  You may also want to engage a skilled facilitator to help you with your engagement process.
  • If you do engage in direct lobbying as a 501(c)(3) organization, do not surpass any limitations that would place tax-exempt status at jeopardy.

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