The most effective advocacy work happens when groups and coalitions know where they stand and can leverage their organizational strengths to work for social change. With the free Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT), nonprofits can benchmark their advocacy skills, identify specific gaps and opportunities in their advocacy strategies, and efficiently focus resources to get the best results. The tool can also be used in evaluations.
ACT Report: The First 100 Users – These findings offer a snapshot of what nonprofit staff and directors say they need to become better advocates, as well as what their current advocacy strengths and gaps are.
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Your most effective advocacy work builds on your strengths, uses resources efficiently and side-steps any gaps in resources or expertise. Are you getting the most out of your advocacy efforts? How can you do even better? With the free ACT, non-profits can assess their advocacy skills, identify specific gaps and strategic opportunities, focus resources to strengthen their organization and get the best advocacy results possible, and share organizational growth with funders.
Assessing the capacity of the organizations you fund to deliver on those efforts can be difficult. ACT is a powerful tool for foundations that want to understand and evaluate the skills and readiness of their grantees, identify the specific gaps and opportunities in their own advocacy portfolios, and focus resources where they matter most.
Tested and effective tools to measure non-profit advocacy work can be difficult to find. The ACT, from Bolder Advocacy, is a free, tried-and-tested tool that evaluators nationwide can use to easily measure nonprofit readiness, identify advocacy skills, and report on organizational capacity building outcomes.
This tool consists of:
- Preliminary questions about the organization (this includes informal groups and coalitions).
- Core capacities or indicators: The 18 indicators and related measures have been selected based on experience gathered by advocates, evaluators, funders, and other nonprofit leaders. Together, they represent the core areas of capacity for any organization or groups of organizations that aim to be effective advocates over time. They are organized into 4 sections:
- Advocacy Goals, Plans, and Strategies
- Conducting Advocacy
- Advocacy Avenues
- Organizational Operations to Sustain Advocacy
- Measures: Each indicator has four basic measures and one to three advanced measures. Users rate themselves according to the measures.
Working with Grantees to Build and Measure Advocacy Capacity
Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy Initiative is publishing a five-part series for funders that breaks advocacy into 18 specific and measurable skills and practices that promote effective nonprofit advocacy. We will also offer recommendations for how foundations can work with their funding partners to strengthen capacity in these areas.
Read: Advocacy Capacity and Effectiveness: What Funders and Grantees Need to Know by AFJ’s Sue Hoechstetter
Need Help? Contact Susan Hoechstetter.