Advocacy is speaking out on issues that matter to you and your organization. It is about taking a stand on an issue or offering your opinion around a particular need that may exist in a population you serve. It could be talking to people with influence (legislators, school board members, decision makers, etc.) to make something happen regarding a public policy issue.
At the end of the day, advocacy is about change; change around an issue or a set of concerns that are connected to your mission. Advocacy then becomes a way of meeting your mission and conducting your business, another tool in your toolbox of approaches.
Advocacy typically focuses on policy change while community organizing builds power. As seen below, advocacy and organizing are related though differences exist. Advocacy is about influencing policy and organizing is about empowerment.
As the Alliance for Justice states “not all advocacy is lobbying but all lobbying is advocacy” and before you begin any advocacy effort it is important to know what activities you may undertake as a 501c(3) organization and what is permissible under federal and Louisiana state law (LA Ethics). Click here (pdf) for the Louisiana definition of a lobbyist.