Advocacy Tools

Advocacy is critical for sustaining and growing your program and the overall community land trust and permanently affordable housing field. On this page, you will find material to help clarify the role of nonprofits in political advocacy (what you can and cannot do) and tools to help you and your organization become more effective advocates.

Getting Started

These tools were developed to help Network Members plan and conduct advocacy events. They were also used to help Network staff, board and Resident Ambassadors conduct 60 advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill in 2015

Step 1: Learn the Difference Between Advocacy and Lobbying

Advocacy vs. Lobbying Guide
This guide from the January, 2014 Policy Action Committee Meeting talks about the differences between lobbying and advocacy.

Additional Resources:
IRS guidance on the allowable advocacy and lobbying activities for 501(c)3 organizations.
IRS Measuring Lobbying Activity: Expenditure Test
IRS Measuring Lobbying Activity: Substantial Part Test
Alliance for Justice: Worry Free Lobbying for Nonprofits
Network’s Policy Action Committee January 2014 recording

Step 2: Develop an Advocacy Plan

Advocacy Plan Guide
This step by step guide will prepare you for advocacy initiatives from identifying staff and board roles and responsibilities to making specific policy target work plans.

Additional Resources:
501 Commons.org Resources for Advocacy & Community Engagement

Step 3: Tell Your Advocacy Story

Storytelling for Advocacy
This worksheet gives tips and an overview of why we tell stories.

Additional Resources:
TED Talks on Storytelling

Conducting Advocacy Visits

These tools were developed to assist staff, board and Resident Ambassadors on a day and half advocacy event in Washington DC.
Each of these tools should help maximize the efforts of a successful advocacy visit.

Checklist for Visits with Local, State and Federal Elected Officials
A checklist of what is needed for advocacy visits with local, state and federal elected officials.

Constituent Based Advocacy Tip Sheet
A guide on how to build relationships with congressional representatives for effective advocacy from the June, 2014 Policy Action Committee Meeting.

Advocacy Visit Agenda Template
A template of possible roles, responsibilities and content for advocacy visits.

Sample “What is a CLT?” Handout
This handout (PDF Document) was used by the Network to advocate on behalf our Members in 2015 on Capitol Hill. It explains the CLT/PAH program and asks congress to increase funding for the HOME and CDBG programs.

What is a CLT ?” Handout Template
This double sided template (Word Document) describes CLT or permanently affordable housing organizations on the front and leaves space for Members to customize specific advocacy asks on the back.

Advocacy visits report form template
This template will help you track your advocacy meetings that you have with elected officials for follow-up.

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