Grassroots advocacy campaigns require inventive planning, a deep knowledge of the advocacy landscape, and unwavering dedication to your cause. Of course, to make the most of these factors, you’ll also need to have strong advocacy skills and know how to put them to use.
Whether you’re a volunteer or a campaign manager, improving your abilities to advocate and support your cause will only make you a greater asset to your campaign. However, few important advocacy skills can be mastered overnight, and as the advocacy landscape evolves, it will only become more necessary to continually learn new skills and refresh your current knowledge.
Once you’ve decided to take the time to improve your advocacy skills, the next step is exploring your options for how to do so. To help get you inspired, this article will walk through four popular methods grassroots volunteers and campaign leaders can use to keep their skills sharp:
What you’ll need to master will depend on your role in your advocacy campaign and your campaign’s specific activities. Choose training activities that align with your personal goals to get the most out of your learning experiences and that also provide you with opportunities for making new connections in the advocacy space. Let’s get started.
If you want to learn something or improve your skills, the most straightforward way to do so is by taking a class. For dedicated advocates, it is possible to enroll in advocacy-specific online courses, but there are also a variety of other ways to acquire skills that are key to advocacy.
Here are a few fundamental advocacy skills to look for courses in:
Regpack’s guide to online registration software discusses the many learning opportunities available to those interested in finding them, such as formal classes and courses, online workshops, conferences, virtual events, and webinars, to name a few. With this variety, do your research and choose an option that fits your specific schedule and interests.
Part of being a strong advocate is knowing what is going on in the greater advocacy landscape. Effective strategies and trends can change quickly, and staying up to date will allow you to learn from others’ successes and avoid their mistakes in your own campaign.
While you can’t know everything that’s going on in the advocacy world, there are several ways you can keep yourself informed about the most relevant information to your campaign:
As a campaign leader, understanding the greater advocacy world can help inform your campaign’s overall strategy. For volunteers, doing your research can make you more informed when performing outreach for your campaign, while also providing inspiration for how you can better contribute to your campaign.
You can learn more about how advocacy campaigns function by working in a variety of different roles. Doing so will provide a multifaceted perspective of your campaign, allowing volunteers to find a role that suits their strengths and leaders to better understand how they can support all of their volunteers.
Volunteers help advocacy campaigns in a variety of ways, so be sure to volunteer for the activities that are most applicable to your campaign. Here are a few common types of volunteering that might fit your advocacy organization:
Advocacy campaign leaders can also use what they have learned through working in different positions in their volunteer recruitment efforts. After all, those with hands-on experience will be able to more accurately explain what the role entails and what kinds of people are best suited for it.
While you should keep an eye on current trends and the future of advocacy campaigns, you can also learn how to succeed by looking to past campaigns. Successful campaigns can provide a blueprint for activities and strategies that your organization might benefit from implementing. For example, if you’re planning to host a 5K fundraising event, you can gain insight into how to succeed by looking into previous campaigns’ 5K management practices.
Cornershop Creative’s guide to nonprofit advocacy offers a few more examples of specific advice you can gain from studying past campaigns:
You can discover past campaigns by researching movements from one or two years ago on advocacy blogs and new sites. Some strategies from past campaigns have even been written about in detail to help current campaign organizers understand why they succeeded.
Becoming a strong advocate for your cause requires consistent dedication and research. Stay on top of current advocacy trends to identify new strategies you can apply to your campaign. Plus, don’t neglect other key advocacy skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork as you build your advocacy toolkit. Good luck!