Alabama Advocacy Toolkit

Intro to Advocacy

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.” —William Faulkner

The quote above beautifully explains why advocacy is crucial to a functional democracy. We must always strive to be better and to do better. We can only do this by refusing to be neutral and by taking a stand — especially, when it’s hard.

Advocacy is a core part of being an active citizen. The word “advocate” literally means, “to call for.” To advocate is to take a public stand on a policy or to promote a cause. Advocacy is a tool to solve problems affecting you, your family, and your community. Advocacy often involves public education, activisim, and lobbying strategies to achieve specific goals and objectives.

You might assume that being an advocate requires confrontation, but this is not always the case. Effective advocacy means knowing when and how to avoid unnecessary conflict. At Gasp, whenever we consider starting an advocacy campaign we first weigh the pros and cons of taking action and ask ourselves what tactics and resources will be required in order to win.

Effective advocacy is always strategic in nature, which is why planning is paramount. Before beginning a campaign, try to envision what success looks like. Maybe you merely want to bring attention to a problem that is important to you. Or perhaps you’d like to change a law or policy. How you define success will determine how you go about achieving your objectives. Once you’ve determined what winning looks like, imagine what the journey holds: time, resources, threats, obstacles, victories and defeats. Then imagine how you will navigate the road to victory.

What Does Advocacy Look Like?

Oftentimes, folks are confused about the diffe