This month we’re talking about advocacy as a planned activity in your organization. The article below is from my colleague Jacob Gorenkoff. Jacob is a former not-for-profit executive and the Founder & CEO of Homeward Public Affairs. He can be reached at

Take it away Jacob:

I’ve built my career around helping mission-driven not-for-profits maximize their impact. The key is effective advocacy.

Effective advocacy allows organizations like yours to actively participate in shaping policies, laws, and regulations that directly affect your mission. The strategic integration of your advocacy into all your organization’s activities can also energize your members, clients, and partners, building even greater positive momentum for the great work that you do.

In this article, I am going to share a handful of lessons I’ve learned during my career: the significance of advocacy, why advocacy should be seamlessly woven into every aspect of your strategic planning and organizational activities, and the crucial first steps in embarking on a successful advocacy journey.

Our governments create policies that shape our lives and the missions that not-for-profits like yours pursue. Advocacy is how we engage with those policies, providing government and the public with important perspective on how to create positive change that helps you pursue your mission.

Engaging in advocacy allows you to influence the policymaking process, helping address systemic issues, advocate for marginalized communities, and work towards creating a more equitable society. It also enhances your credibility, visibility, and leadership. If you demonstrate success as an advocate, you will create a large impact for the communities you serve. Your increased visibility can attract more support and resources, further bolstering the organization’s ability to effect positive change.

Maximizing your impact requires integrating advocacy into your strategic planning. Integrating advocacy into your strategic planning will allow you to be proactive rather than reactive. Rather than adapting to policies and regulations imposed on you, proactive strategic planning will allow you to actively shape the landscape in which you operate. This proactive stance empowers not-for-profits to anticipate and address potential challenges, ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of your initiatives.

The first step towards successful advocacy is articulating your objectives, beginning with a thorough examination of your mission, goals, and the societal issues you aim to address. With a well-defined mission, organizations can then identify specific policy changes, legislative amendments, or government actions that align with their objectives.

To make this process effective, you must clearly articulate what government can do to support your goals. This may involve advocating for increased funding, changes in regulations, or the development of new policies. By providing specific and actionable recommendations, you can make it easier for policymakers to understand your needs and take appropriate action.

Integrating advocacy into the strategic planning process and organizational activities is not just beneficial; it is imperative for mission-driven not-for-profits in Canada. By actively participating in advocacy, you can maximize your impact by shaping public policies to create a more favorable environment for achieving your mission.

There you have it. Making advocacy a part of your organization’s activities might help you make even bigger impacts within your community.


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