Speak Up

Tips on Advocacy for Publicly Funded Nonprofits

Suri Duitch
Review by Cara Seitchek

2002, 19 pages. City Limits Community Information Service, Inc., Center for an Urban Future 120 Wall Street, 20th floor, New York, NY 10005 (212) 479-3344, www.nycfuture.org

Speak Up is a simple, clear booklet that outlines the basics of advocacy techniques used by nonprofit organizations. Only nineteen pages, it assures readers of the positive consequences of advocacy, provides supportive commentary, and offers tips and suggestions on how to approach the advocacy process.

Nonprofit organizations are in a unique position to advocate for communities that are often unable to advocate for themselves. Not only do they deal with people's immediate problems and concerns, but they are also connected to larger social issues that give them the knowledge and background they need to advocate effectively for these communities. In addition, nonprofits know the realities of dealing with government agencies, particularly since government funds are one important source of support for the programs of many nonprofits. By combining their knowledge of constituents with their knowledge of government, nonprofit organizations are well-suited to advocate for change.

provides the basic tools to start an advocacy campaign. It defines the difference between advocacy and lobbying, and lists four levels of advocacy so that organizations can choose a form of advocacy that fits their resources and comfort level.

The study provides a balanced look at advocacy by discussing five barriers to advocacy, and potential problems that an organization may encounter. Money, nonprofit status, time, retribution, and mindsets are all valid concerns, and identifying them provides a realistic view of the challenges an organization can face.

The five barriers are countered by five specific recommendations for creating and implementing a successful advocacy campaign. These recommendations are good suggestions not only as the starting point for advocacy, but also for the organization as a whole. Interspersed throughout the text are tips and specific suggestions on how to implement the recommendations.

Speak Up is an excellent tool for a non-profit that advocates for or is considering becoming an advocate for its community. The simple, clear text is easy to read and understand, and is a good summary of why advocacy is important and how to engage in it effectively.