Discover how grassroots advocacy can build a community of engaged supporters pushing for local change.

Nonprofit Basics: Grassroots Advocacy

When you think of advocacy, you probably think of national-level movements demanding large-scale societal change. However, much important advocacy work starts at the grassroots level, in individual communities. Major change can be enacted by small groups working locally to reach out to decision makers and rally together around a cause.

What Is Grassroots Advocacy?

On a large scale, the term “advocacy” refers to speaking up on behalf of another group who is directly affected by an issue. Grassroots advocacy is advocacy work that takes place in local communities. Your community might mobilize to advocate for a local initiative, or your work might involve contacting elected officials to share your perspective on a more wide-reaching issue.

In community advocacy campaigns, individuals communicate with local policymakers to influence change. These campaigns are a powerful way to build connections, enact meaningful local change, and have a voice in creating the community you want to be a part of.

Leaders of grassroots advocacy initiatives bring information about an issue to their communities, educating and growing a network of engaged individuals who are interested in advocating for a cause. With an organized campaign effort, this network can reach policymakers and push for change.

Benefits of Grassroots Advocacy

Grassroots advocacy provides a way for organizations to make tangible improvements in the community. Benefits of advocacy include:

  • Creating a positive impact at a local level. It can be overwhelming to consider all of the societal changes you wish to see. Grassroots advocacy offers an accessible way to make a noticeable impact in your local community. These efforts can also expand into a broader advocacy campaign that pushes for wider-reaching change.
  • Forging connections in your community. Grassroots advocacy campaigns unite people who share similar visions for the future of their community. Working together for a common goal offers a meaningful way to connect with other community members.

Helping your community advocate for itself in the future. Once you have a network of engaged local advocates, your community will be better equipped to push future advocacy efforts forward.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but advocacy work can lay the groundwork to make a lasting difference, first in your local community and potentially on a larger scale in the future.

5 Grassroots Advocacy Strategies

Advocacy needs to be strategically planned and organized to be effective. To plan an effective grassroots campaign, implement these five strategies:

Use these five strategies to support your grassroots advocacy campaign.

  • Craft a compelling message. What is your campaign working to accomplish? Being able to clearly articulate your goals and methods is essential to building support for your work.
  • Gather support online. Share informational materials about your campaign, and offer ways for people to get involved by leveraging your organization’s website and social media.
  • Canvass your community. Since your grassroots campaign is focusing on your local community, directly reaching out to members of your neighborhood or town is an effective way to build your network. Talk to community members about your campaign and explain how they can support your work.
  • Launch peer-to-peer campaigns. Involve your advocacy network in fundraising to gather widespread support for your campaign.
  • Host events. Events are a great way for all the people involved in your campaign to meet one another and continue to build connections. Your event might include a group outreach effort, with attendees contacting local decision makers. Events can also double as fundraising opportunities.

When your organization is equipped with the right strategies and resources, you’ll be able to empower your community through grassroots advocacy.

Other Resources to Explore

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources.

Community Advocacy: The Complete Guide to Mobilize Change – Dive deeper into the essentials and benefits of community or grassroots advocacy.

Advocacy Software: 14 Top Platforms to Mobilize Supporters – Discover how specialized software can advance your organization’s grassroots advocacy efforts.