Advocacy is challenging to evaluate and measure. Evaluation plays a critical role in the assessment of progress and determining if and when your organization is meeting your advocacy goals. It also helps to develop realistic long-term and incremental measures of advocacy success and progress, allowing you to identify and apply lessons learned. AFJ developed the free, online Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT), ACT! Quick, and International Advocacy Capacity Tool (IACT) to address some of the challenges involved in evaluating advocacy.


ACT logoAdvocacy 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 (individual organizations or coalitions) 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 quick logoACT! Quick

To be introduced to advocacy capacity assessment in less than 15 minutes, groups can use this abbreviated version of ACT at board meetings, conferences, or any time.  Then they are ready to use the full version for a more comprehensive assessment.



Herramienta de la Capacidad de Abogacía (ACT!)

El trabajo más eficaz de abogacía se resulta cuando los grupos y coaliciones entienden su posición actual y como pueden aprovechar de sus fortalezas organizativas para impulsar el cambio social. Con la Herramienta de la Capacidad de Abogacía (ACT!) gratis, las organizaciones sin fines de lucro pueden comparar sus habilidades de la promoción y defensa de causas, identificar dificultades y oportunidades específicas en sus estrategias de abogar y enfocar eficientemente sus recursos para lograr los mejores resultados. Esta herramienta también se puede utilizar para hacer evaluaciones.



International Advocacy Capacity Tool (IACT)

The International Advocacy Capacity Tool (IACT) helps groups around the world measure their readiness to engage in advocacy. Groups answer questions about their organization’s skills, knowledge, practices and resources for running issue campaigns, influencing legislation, or other forms of advocacy. The tool then immediately generates results.



Investing in Change: A Funder’s Guide to Supporting Advocacy

This book is an indispensable guide for foundations in explaining the various roles they can play in the advocacy process. Investing in Change can serve as an in-depth guide to navigating the tax code surrounding support of public charities, or a quick reference guide to answer a specific question.



NEW! ACT Data & Analysis: The First 280 Advocacy Capacity Tool Users

One of the ways Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy initiative assists nonprofits is by helping them assess their ability to engage in effective advocacy using our free, online Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT). The tool measures the resources, skills, knowledge, and practices that are necessary for influencing public policy. We’ve analyzed the results from the first 280 nonprofit organizations to complete the ACT. This is a snapshot of the findings. While the results do not represent the entire nonprofit sector, they offer a glimpse of how groups assess their strengths and weaknesses related to policy change and can help funders support advocacy.



Mission Possible: Evaluating Advocacy Grants

This article by AFJ’s Sue Hoechstetter and the George Gund Foundation’s Marcia Egbert describes the conceptual framework for evaluating advocacy grants. In addition to a case study, it includes tips to evaluate grantees’ work that are consistent with the nature of advocacy.



Benchmarks for Advocacy Evaluation

100 results and activities to help plan and measure progress of advocacy work.



Make Democracy Work

This brochure describes how AFJ provides the advocacy knowledge and tools you need to advance your organization’s mission, help shape public policy and make democracy work.



Tips for Evaluating Advocacy: A Checklist for Grantmaking Organizations

Six tips for funders for evaluating advocacy grants.



Tips for Evaluating Advocacy: A Checklist for Grantees

Seven tips for grantees in evaluating their advocacy work.



Build Your Advocacy Grantmaking: Advocacy Evaluation Tool & Advocacy Capacity Assessment Tool

Developed with input from advocates and funders, these tools were designed to help funders get information they need about the results of their advocacy grantmaking.



Words to Give By: Leading Voices in Advocacy Funding

A compilation of interviews with foundation leaders on the importance of supporting advocacy.


You can also learn more about advocacy evaluation through our blog and trainings.