What Is Advocacy?

Grade Level: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Nonprofit Organizations
Video Clip and Discussion Guide: Advocacy for an issue is a form of philanthropy. It involves changing hearts and minds in support of an issue. The video shares examples from nonprofits, government, and individuals about the impact and importance of advocacy for an issue. After watching the video, students share examples of advocacy, reflect on issues they care about and personal reasons for advocacy.

Anticipatory Set

Ask the students to name social/political changes in the last 50 years. Ask: How did these changes evolve? For example, how did we change from not wearing seatbelts to feeling unsafe without seatbelts? Tell them to watch the following video and take notes to discuss tools and practices of advocacy.



  1. What is an example of advocacy for an issue in the video?
  2. What is the role of advocacy in a civil society? 
  3. What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?
  4. What can young people do to advocate for an issue they care about?
  5. What difference do you think youth advocacy can make?
  6. Why do you think people like Mike Farrell (actor) and Alex Smith (football player advocating for kids aging out of foster care) get involved in advocacy?
  7. Why do you think the advocacy of mothers in MADD was so effective in changing laws?

Reflect in writing: What school, local or national issue do you feel needs to be changed? What action could you take to gain support for your cause and to begin effecting that change?

Follow-up Activity

Have students research the different advocacy organizations in your community. They may focus on a particular issue (animal abuse, environmental conservation, LGBTQ, etc.). They can investigate different questions about the issues or the organizations. What progress has the organization made? What are their current initiatives? How can students support the organization in their advocacy? 

This Learning to Give Using Advocacy for Change resource gives more information about advocacy and guides action.