The word advocacy means “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal: the act of process of advocating something” (Merriam-Webster). Originating from the Latin word advocare, which means to come to the aid of another, advocacy is an important role of most nonprofit organizations today. It describes an extensive range of expressions, actions and activities that pursue outcomes that directly affects the lives of the people served by the organization. All nonprofits advocate to varying degrees. For some, advocacy is the center of their work, while others may use advocacy to respond to issues pertaining to their mission.
For non-profits, advocacy, when done effectively, influences public policy by providing an outlet for individuals and organizations to voice an opinion. These efforts can influence public opinion, invite press coverage and provide legislators a chance to respond to citizens’ needs.
The twelve organizations mentioned in this book advocate widely different causes but they all follow the same basic principles: Balance pragmatism with idealism, Practice principles bipartisanship, Preserve credibility and integrity, Hire policy experience, and Find funding for advocacy (Crutchfield).
At the same time, you need people who know how to leverage free market systems for public influence. Powerful and dynamic non-profits are able to recognize that the private sector have enormous resources and enormous power. The best groups realize that they have just as much to offer businesses as the companies have to offer to them. The trick is being able to create a profit base that they can benefit from. It is difficult to work effectively with businesses, but high impact non-profits see more opportunities than obstacles (Crutchfield).
When you compare these principles to that of the Paul Levy case, the thing that is striking is the lack of continuity. From the time Paul stepped into the hospital it seemed as if he was fighting an uphill battle. For example,...