Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!)

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, determine how they want to strengthen their advocacy, and efficiently focus resources to get the best results. The tool can also be used as part of your evaluation process.

We’ve made exciting improvements to how ACT! results are scored and to make it easier to take ACT! a second time to measure progress. The new version launched on June 18, 2018.  If you have any questions about how the changes might affect your use of ACT!, please contact us at [email protected]

Click here to use the Advocacy Capacity Tool online.

To request a PDF of the tool, click here.
ACT! en espanol está disponible aqui.


Visit our FAQ, Terminology, or Instructions pages.

Short on time? ACT!Quick is a short version of the Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!) and is designed to provide a quick diagnosis of the strengths and gaps in organizations’ advocacy skills, knowledge, and practices, and identify areas for strengthening.


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.

Nonprofit Evaluators

Tested and effective tools to measure non-profit advocacy work can be difficult to find. 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:
    1. Advocacy Goals, Plans, and Strategies
    2. Conducting Advocacy
    3. Advocacy Avenues
    4. 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.

Learn More

ACT Data & Analysis: The First 280 Advocacy Capacity Tool 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.

Advocacy Capacity and Effectiveness: What Funders and Grantees Need to Know by AFJ’s Sue Hoechstetter

Need Help?  Call  Shannon Williams at 866-675-6229 or e-mail [email protected].