Advocacy Field Guide for Lean Funders: How Small and Place-Based Foundations and Donors Can Make Big Change with Little Money

Exponent Philanthropy and Frontera Strategy

Success in the advocacy and policy arena depends on knowing who the decision-makers are, what motivates them, the best arguments and supporting data to use, the most effective voices and champions, and the best timing. These will be specific to every issue and will vary in every town, city or state. Therefore, to apply the principles and practices in this guide, you first need to choose a focus for your policy work — usually one or two issues you care deeply about — and then you need to learn everything you can about that issue.

This, then, is the essential preparation for advocacy — focus and scanning the policy landscape of your chosen issue. Steps 1 and 2 of this guide explore this critical work — the foundation upon which everything else is built. This work may take several months but will position you for success.

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