Build A Movement!

Build A Movement! (using public policy to achieve your mission) logo

Build A Movement!
invites you and your colleagues to take action on policy issues that matter to your mission. In its purest form, government is intended to represent the will of the people. This toolkit will support you as you build a movement of people and policy that propels your work to the destination you envision for your organization.  In the spirit of barn-raising, we “raise the roof,” working together to achieve things we can’t do alone.


Here’s how Build A Movement! is organized:

1: Introduction and Groundwork

An overview of the Build A Movement! framework, along with basic information on public policy, advocacy, and civics. Use this chapter to assess where you are.

You have a choice in how you use policy to achieve your mission. Think of it in terms of living in a house. How you manage the house is up to you.

  • You can do basic upkeep to keep the house safe and sound (“Everyday advocacy”).
  • You can respond hurriedly when the roof starts to leak or your neighbor offers you a new refrigerator (“Urgent advocacy”).
  • You can be pro-active in upgrading the house — maybe add an addition — with requires special permitting (“Step-it-up advocacy”).

These correspond to the three pathways in Build A Movement!

2: Everyday Advocacy

Basic good practice and upkeep of your organization so you are nimble, resilient, and ready to serve. Because you aren’t taking the extra step of lobbying, no special registration is needed. Everyday “upkeep” advocacy activities include things like keeping abreast of your field, speaking out on issues that affect your mission, networking and being visible in your community.

3: Urgent Advocacy

Advocacy that happens in response to something unplanned, like the city council is about to cut your funding or there’s a proposal in the state legislature for a new policy that would benefit or hurt you.

4: Step-It-Up Advocacy

Everyday advocacy plus you take advantage of the benefits that lobbying provides nonprofit organizations. You make policy more central to your strategy because your mission is significantly impacted by the decisions of policymakers.


Build A Movement! also includes the following:

  • The Activities Guide, a PDF document that explains different actions you can take towards advocacy. It’s organized into pathways, like the chapters.
  • The Build A Movement! videos, 12 short videos by members of the nonprofit sector that explain how to use the power of advocacy to further your mission.
  • A lively Interactive Graphic that lets you use your mouse to explore the material on a dynamic webpage.
  • The Build A Movement! poster, to help you see all the activities in relation to each other. You can download the poster in PDF format and print it at 11×17 inches.
The Build A Movement! poster
The Build A Movement! poster