Advocacy vs. Lobbying

What's Advocacy?

Advocacy refers to attempts to bring positive change by raising awareness and informing the public about an idea, cause, or policy. This can include researching new solutions, creating coalitions of like-minded people, and public campaigning.

What's Lobbying?

Lobbying refers to attempts to influence the decisions, actions, or policies of legislators or members of regulatory agencies. It involves contacting or getting the public to contact policymakers in order to support or oppose certain legislation.

What's the Difference?

Educating an elected government official about the effects of a policy on your community is an example of advocacy but asking this governmental official to vote for or against introduced legislation is an example of lobbying.

Can My 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Advocate?

Yes! Any organization (or individual) can!

Can My 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Lobby?

Organizations that qualify for 501(c)(3) status must comply with certain rules and regulations, including limits on the amount of money they can spend on lobbying. These organizations are not prohibited from lobbying however they are limited as to how much they can spend on lobbying.


More resources on Advocacy vs. Lobbying:

CADCA Strategizer 31
Anti-Lobbying Restrictions for CDC Grantees