The word advocacy can mean many different things in the nonprofit world and can be at the heart of activities, strategies, mission, core values, and overall organizational effectiveness. Fundamentally, advocacy is about speaking out and making a case for something important. The target of the advocate’s voice is most often a person, group or institution that holds some power over what the advocate wants.
Advocacy can be a challenging concept because there is no one set of instructions about where to begin, how to begin and what constitutes effectiveness. Moreover, our lexicon for advocacy-related concepts and actions complicates matters by using multiple words for the same actions, as well as by blurring understanding of what an organization is really doing. The word advocacy is often used interchangeably with related words such as lobbying and education.