Advocacy and Civic Engagement

Course Description and Learning Objectives

Nonprofits provide an important vehicle individuals and organizations to work together to improve their communities. Advocacy and civic engagement are an important part of this partnership. More than politics and grassroots organizing, advocacy and civic engagement are essential elements of a nonprofit’s responsibility to represent the interest of the people that they serve. To create a legal and political landscape that supports your mission, you must have the know-how and strategy to make your voice heard.

Successful completion of this course will guide you to:

  • Develop an advocacy plan for your organization.
  • Create a public narrative as a call to action.
  • Identify potential intersections of your organizations’ mission with key policies, departments, committees and elected officials.
  • Find out how to tap into Utah’s 150,000+ college students as part of their curricular and co-curricular experiences.

What’s Expected of You

This course is highly interactive and relies on the experiences of each participant. Therefore, it's important you are prepared to contribute to the program. Please be ready to:

  • Bring all required materials to each session. If your organization doesn’t have any of the required materials, the facilitator will provide you with samples to use.
  • Complete the follow up activities after each session and bring questions and concerns to the next session.
  • Complete the Badge Requirements by the deadline.

Badge Requirements

In order to earn the UNA Advocacy and Civic Engagement Badge, the organization must submit the following items for review and approval:

Advocacy Plan

Document how your mission, vision and values articulate the change you are seeking to bring about and designate your focus on individual change theory (direct service impact), systems change theory (cumulative impact) or both. Your plan should include:

  1. Measuring change: Document or provide templates used to measure the impact your organization is having on the change it is seeking to bring about.
  2. Communication channels: Document your organization’s use of diverse communication channels to amplify important messaging for the organization and advance advocacy efforts. Include a description of who is responsible for such messaging and how partnerships with communications sources are cultivated.
  3. Stakeholder engagement: List or document local, state, and national policies, departments, committees, task forces, elected officials and stakeholders whose interests intersect with your organization’s mission. Document how relationships or interactions are developed and cultivated with these entities.
    Public narrative—Provide two or three samples of public narratives used by the organization and its advocates. Examples of content for public narratives include why individual leaders/advocates are involved in the cause, why community members should care about the cause, what urgent challenges within the community require actions, and how individuals can become involved.

Policy Tracking

If your organization has an advocacy program, provide a copy of your organization’s advocacy plan, including a definition of success and an assignment of duties. Include revision or version date. Include these items:

  1. Policy change: Provide an example of a policy change the organization has brought about, is in the process of affecting, has plans to implement or is reacting to.
  2. Credibility: How is your organization establishing itself as a credible entity in the advocacy arena. If your organization works with policy makers, explain how your organization is working to be deemed influential and credible by policymakers. Examples of this may include: presence and participation in key policy meetings, distribution of information on topics of which the organization is a subject matter expert, ability to gather a critical mass of individuals willing to testify, write to legislators, gather at the Hill, gain media attention and the like.
  3. Influence: define what success in the area of influence and credibility looks like. Examples of this may include appointment to task force or committee, contact from policymakers prior to vote on bills affecting your population, regular meetings with policymakers, inclusion in drafting of policy proposals and the like Intersecting interests (regarding Advocacy). If your organization works with elected officials, list or document local, state, and national policies, departments, committees, task forces and elected officials that intersect with your organization’s mission. Document how relationships or interactions are developed and cultivated with these entities.

Educational partnerships

Document current or potential ways for your organization to partner with educational institutions. This may include a copy of a contract, memorandum of understanding, or other formalized document between your organization and an education institution. It could include examples of current or potential projects with education institutions.

NOTE: The documentation on the requirements requesting explanation need not be lengthy. Clear, concise statements on how the organization meets the requirement listed are sufficient. In most cases, three or four lines of description should suffice.

  • Course Dates:

    The Credential in Advocacy and Civic Engagement includes two classroom sessions, a consultation with the expert trainer, and ongoing coaching and support for four months following your consult. We offer each of the nine Credential courses once per calendar year in Salt Lake City. (We also bring the Credential to areas outside of the Wasatch Front.)

    You can find the schedule (and venue) for the Credential Program and for all our other training on the UNA Calendar. Please email Jill Bennett for more information about this—or any other item on the calendar.

  • Cost:

    UNA Members: $150 for the first person/$30 for each additional participant
    Non-Members: $300 for the first person/$60 for each additional participant

  • Location:

    On line as a webinar or in person classes. Please consult the UNA Calendar for details.