Advocacy and Lobbying to Invoke Change

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The desire to incite positive change in society is at the heart of all nonprofit organizations. It’s in their nature to get involved in the issues that have a direct impact on the society they’re working to better. Nonprofits are often eager to fight for what’s right but may also be wary of treading in political waters.

While sometimes used synonymously, advocating and lobbying are entirely distinct endeavors. Understanding the difference between the two may help nonprofits and employees decide how they can appropriately and effectively voice their support or opposition.

Advocating for the cause

Nonprofits advocate for their own missions, but they can also speak up about other local, state or national concerns. Advocacy is an ongoing effort with educational and promotional goals, rather than a sole objective to influence or make legislative change.

Lobbying for or against the legislation

When the efforts directly support or oppose legislation, they enter into lobbying territory. Nonprofit organizations often lobby for or against laws, policies, resolutions, proposals and referendums in an attempt to influence legislation.

GSPM’s Master’s in Political Management

Check out the infographic for more thoughts on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying efforts, and contact an enrollment advisor to learn more about advancing your career with a graduate degree.


Nonprofit Advocacy as a Core Competency by Nonprofit Quarterly
Everyday Advocacy by the National Council of Nonprofits
Lobbying by the IRSNonprofit Advocacy vs. Lobbying: Which Is the Best Strategy? by The Balance Small Business

All Hands In: Advocacy and Lobbying to Invoke Change

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