Why Advocacy Volunteering is Huge for 2024
In 2024, advocacy volunteering is set to take center stage as a driving force for positive change. As societal issues become more prominent, especially during an election year, organizations need to harness the power of advocacy volunteering to engage a broader audience and make a lasting impact.
Even though politics can be frustrating—especially for changemakers who want better for our communities—we need policy change to create lasting impacts. Feeding people who are hungry is great, but removing the barriers that caused hunger in the first place is even better.
And that happens through policy, advocacy, and community engagement.
Why does advocacy volunteering matter so much right now?
Relying on only bandaid measures and downstream solutions is out. Upstream solutions, like advocacy coupled with meeting real time needs is very much in. Advocacy gives a voice to the people you serve, and elevates the perspectives of a community that cares for their neighbors.
Advocacy can take many forms. Volunteers can:
- 📞 Phonebank about an issue on the ballot
- 📚 Host education sessions for the public on issues facing the community
- 🧐 Research evidence-based solutions for your nonprofit and partners to dive into
- 🤝 Engage in direct outreach to elected officials
- ✍️ Sign up voters (learn more)
- And more!
The important thing is that advocacy volunteering helps address the root causes of your mission. Rather than solely helping meet current needs, the solutions you advocate for should help eliminate the causes of hardships faced by your clients.
Younger volunteers want to see organizations create systemic change
When it comes to volunteering, Gen Z and Millennials are steering the ship toward organizations that actively pursue systemic change. Advocacy volunteering provides your supporters with a platform for both action and education.
Gen Z and Millennial volunteers are already reshaping the nonprofit world. For one thing, their preference for digital communication is helping nonprofits embrace tech adoption. But they also are incredibly passionate about creating lasting change.
Younger volunteers aren’t content to just pitch in at a nonprofit occasionally to help meet immediate needs—although they do. But they really want to use their skills to do more good in the world, and drive tangible changes on the issues that matter most to them. Adding advocacy volunteering opportunities within your organization is a way to engage younger volunteers in the areas they care about.
- 🌐 Generational Expectations: Gen Z and millennial volunteers seek out organizations who understand intersectionality and are actively pursuing systemic change.
- 🚀 Action-Oriented Engagement: Advocacy volunteering demonstrates a commitment to action, attracting volunteers who want to see tangible results.
- 🎓 Educational Opportunities: Volunteers are drawn to advocacy as it provides opportunities for them to learn about the root causes of issues and explore solutions.
🛑 Wait! Can nonprofits engage in political advocacy?
Nonprofits have a powerful potential to impact decisions that directly affect the communities they serve. But many nonprofit organizations stay away from political advocacy work because of the MYTH that nonprofits cannot advocate.
This is just not true; 501c3 charitable nonprofits can advocate and even lobby (here are the guidelines from the IRS). Would you be interested in learning more about lobbying and taking the 501h election? Check out this information from the National Council of Nonprofits.
Reaching a wider volunteer pool through advocacy
Advocacy volunteering isn’t just about creating change; it’s about making sure everyone has a seat at the table. Currently, it’s no secret that businesses, corporations, and the extremely wealthy have the ears of politicians, and our systems reflect that.
Advocacy gives a voice to the rest of us. To the collective, the forgotten, the unseen or ignored. It gives power back to the people. Plus, it fosters inclusivity by nature, as it relies on giving more people a say. Reaching out to the community to gather perspectives on what’s needed, rally support, and give people a way to get involved is at the core of an advocacy campaign.
For volunteers, a lot of advocacy work can be done on their own time. That makes it an ideal way to engage virtual volunteers.
- 🤝 Inclusive Participation: Advocacy volunteering enables a diverse audience to join your cause, fostering inclusivity.
- 🌍 Expanded Reach: Virtual advocacy allows organizations to engage volunteers across the issue area—which could be statewide, national, or global—amplifying their impact.
- 📱 Flexibility in Engagement: Virtual volunteering options cater to volunteers’ schedules, making it accessible to a wider audience.
Virtual advocacy: volunteering on their own time
Virtual advocacy is not just a buzzword; it’s a game-changer. It offers flexibility, utilizes technology, and provides skill-building for volunteers, all on their own time. Advocacy volunteering can be a great way to engage busy college students or young professionals. These people care about the state of their communities, but may not always be available for in-person volunteering opportunities.
People who advocate for policy changes build so many skills in the process. They learn digital skills, such as engaging a wide audience through social media, email campaigns, or webinars. And they learn more about the policymaking process, from how to distill what the community wants into the knowledge legislators need to make decisions, to more technical skills like writing briefs or filing petitions.
All of this can be done on their own time once they’ve been trained, making it a really attractive way to engage more volunteers.
- 🕰️ Flexibility in Timing: Virtual advocacy empowers volunteers to contribute on their terms, breaking down time constraints.
- 📱 Utilizing Technology: Leverage virtual platforms for advocacy initiatives, utilizing social media, online petitions, and virtual events.
- 💻 Skill-Building Opportunities: Virtual advocacy provides volunteers with skills that are increasingly valuable in today’s world.
Election year means a focus on social and humanitarian issues
2024, an election year, presents a unique opportunity for advocacy volunteers to shine. Especially going into this election cycle, people want to see actual change on the issues that matter to them, not just talk.
Nonprofit partnerships have a unique advantage to pushing changes that can help them achieve their missions, create deeper community engagement, and put the focus on issues that matter most to the people you serve.
With the economic impacts of the pandemic reaching far and wide, people have already rallied support for structural change in 2023. Boycotts, strikes, and conversations revolved around the changes we need to make collectively for a more just future. 2024 can be a year to amplify that energy to drive change across issues.
- 🗳️ Community Focus: In 2024, as an election year, communities will rally around social and humanitarian issues—especially coming off of a year of inflation, boycotts, and strikes.
- 🤔 Informed Citizenship: Advocacy volunteering promotes informed citizenship by encouraging dialogue and engagement on critical issues.
- 🌐 Connectivity: Elections often spark discussions about national and global issues, creating opportunities for international advocacy efforts.
Advocacy volunteering trends and best practices
What does successful advocacy volunteering look like in the ever-evolving landscape of 2024? There are trends for the times we’re in and best practices you can use for true impact.
- ✊Strategic Partnerships: Successful advocacy often involves forming strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations. This can be with other nonprofits, corporate partners, schools, community organizations, local governments, and more.
- 🎯 Diverse Forms of Advocacy: Explore different forms of advocacy, from grassroots community campaigns to legislative initiatives.
- 🤝 Volunteer Engagement Strategies: Best practices include clear communication, training, and recognizing volunteers for their advocacy efforts.
- 🚀 Impact Measurement: Organizations should implement tools to measure the impact of advocacy initiatives and demonstrate results.
- 💡Adaptability and Innovation: Trends suggest that successful advocacy volunteering requires adaptability to evolving social and political landscapes and embracing innovative approaches. This can include using social media like TikTok, the easiest platform to go viral on.
- 💻 Use Tech to Your Advantage: There are incredible tools to help you in your advocacy volunteering campaigns, from tools to help you manage volunteers, to social media to further your reach. Tech can be a gamechanger!
Maximize Your Nonprofit Advocacy Volunteers
Okay, now that you know how to get started in nonprofit advocacy, let’s learn how to maximize your volunteer force for this task.
First, provide ways for volunteers to sign up to receive information about your advocacy work. These messages can include ways for them to help educate others about the importance of the work you do.
🦸 Create an advocacy volunteer task force
These people will be your go-to’s whenever you’re launching a new advocacy campaign. Train them to be able to easily share your nonprofit’s stances on important issues, as well as the impact of your nonprofit. This prepares them to talk with reporters, donors, or community groups.
Bring them into the conversation with legislators by having them write letters or call decision-makers telling them about the issues and needs. The people and communities you serve know all too well what the needs are. Together you can shine a light on problems that have been ignored.
These task force volunteers can also sit in on your nonprofit’s committee meetings or local hearings. By including them in your meetings and work, it creates the opportunity for them to gain experience and bring their passions to the mission of your nonprofit.
🤝 Partner with other nonprofits
Partnering with other nonprofits in your area brings your community together around a common cause. Many times, during the legislative session, this will attract favorable media attention, creating higher visibility and increasing awareness of your work.
You can use these partners to co-organize a rally for your work, bringing your volunteers and community members together to advocate. This is especially important to show lawmakers that you have the strength of numbers on your side.
Advocacy volunteering is poised to play a pivotal role in 2024, engaging a passionate and diverse volunteer base. Organizations should leverage virtual platforms, understand the expectations of younger generations, and stay on top of evolving trends to maximize the impact of their advocacy initiatives.
As you plan for the year ahead, consider integrating advocacy volunteering into your organization’s strategy, empowering volunteers to drive meaningful change.
Activating your advocacy volunteering task force
- Have an easy signup process for subscribing to advocacy alerts.
- Create a group on POINT for advocacy volunteers so you can easily mass email and even create private volunteer opportunities.
- Schedule shifts at your location for volunteers to do advocacy work.
- If you want volunteers to be able to advocate remotely or on their own time, set up letter-writing packages that they can take home or create a copy-paste template for emails and texts.
- Frequently communicate anything that they need to know:
- Updates to success (number of people mobilized, legislative changes, etc.)
- Changes to messaging
- New calls-to-action
- And anything else that can help them advocate to the best of their ability!
POINT was built to help nonprofits do more good in their communities, however they can. We would love to support your nonprofit advocacy volunteer program, and all your other volunteers!
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