People advocate many causes for various reasons, but what is advocacy? Advocacy involves garnering public support for your particular cause or policy. Needless to say, advocacy has a divergent range. Sometimes the goal is small, local and concrete, like the addition of a traffic light or stop sign for a residential neighborhood. Other times the cause is far more abstract and broad. The following are just a few examples of popular causes for which people champion:
Advocacy for the homeless, such as improving the quality of homeless shelters and outreach services
Advocacy for veteran affairs, including benefits and mental-health support
Advocacy for improved conditions surrounding senior citizens, like managing retirement funds or Medicare supplemental insurance
Advocacy for women’s rights, including equal pay, workforce integration and equality, daycare schools and alternatives, family planning and maternity leave
Advocacy for affordable health care for all Americans, such as by eliminating the insurance mandate for individuals, implementing single-payer reform or requesting employers to contribute to healthcare coverage
Advocacy for disease prevention and awareness for issues such as HIV/AIDS, immunizations and clean drinking water
Regardless of the cause you're advocating–large or small, group or individual, local or global–crowdfunding can help.
Advocacy requires a lot of planning and consideration. You have to pin down and codify the end result as well as the steps you are going to take to get there. Every campaign is a journey. Identify your end goal, such as the change of a law or rushed FDA approval for a specific cancer treatment or life-saving medication.
Along with the result, the individuals that you are trying to affect and the accomplishments associated with successful implementation play a strong role in advocacy. Paint a picture for contributors and donors that illustrates the benefit of what you are doing. Once this cancer treatment receives FDA approval, how many lives will be saved and how much suffering will be averted (perhaps it is less painful or invasive as well as cost effective)?
What do you need to do to obtain FDA approval? Are you fundraising to cover the patent or fund the research study? Outlining the use of the collected funding is essential. Donors will want to know where their money is going and how the money is used. This can also give campaign contributors incentive to donate more, once they see their hard-earned money working its magic.
Running a successful advocacy campaign also costs money to cover the daily operations to accomplish the end goal. You must consider the cost of salaries, office space, phone-lines, computer equipment, website creation and design, content creation and distribution across different channels, travel, etc.
Some traditional forms of advocacy awareness and funding include
Door-to-door canvassing and
Galas or charity events.
Many older forms of fundraising for advocacy groups that drain time, human and financial resources, which could be better allocated elsewhere, are no longer cost effective or even legal! There are now regulations in place regarding telemarketing and email campaigns. The digital age has created new mechanisms for people to raise money as well as awareness for their causes, and one of those mediums is crowdfunding.
Start your advocacy campaign for free on UHelp.com, the crowdfunding platform with zero platform fees and a daily marketing plan to help you get started. At UHelp, we help!
About the Author: Ally Sinclair is a staff writer for UHelp.com.