Our sector increasingly recognizes that achieving impact at scale requires a mix of tools and investments—including smart investments in advocacy that target multiple levers of change, from strong policies to public education to accountability for elected officials. Advocacy is any action intended to influence public policy or the allocation of public resources; or the policies, procedures, and practices of private-sector institutions. While providing services to individuals can help them navigate existing institutions, advocacy aims to influence the rules by which those institutions operate.
Smart grant making aimed at effecting change through legislation, litigation, organizing, and calls for enforcement can generate more sustainable impact over time than service-oriented grant making alone. And the rules of policy influence have changed over the last decade: now, philanthropists who want to have a voice in policy making need to invest more, and more effectively, or risk ceding influence to those who do.
Arabella works with a range of donors and social entrepreneurs to analyze the policy landscape, understand the benefits and risks of engaging, form productive partnerships, and incubate and evaluate campaigns. From our decade of experience working with innovative funders, we know that investment in advocacy can deliver exponential return on investment—if it’s done right.