Advocacy is the act of supporting a particular cause for a specific desired outcome. An advocate speaks up for someone to help them get their views, opinions and concerns heard. There are many different types of advocacy, including issue based advocacy (also called crisis, short term or professional advocacy), self-advocacy, group advocacy, citizen advocacy and peer advocacy.
Independent or issue based advocacy involves a one to one short term partnership between a professional and a person dealing with a specific issue with which they need assistance. Once the issue is resolved, the advocacy relationship usually ends until it is needed again. Self-advocacy is often seen as the ideal form of advocacy. It involves individuals speaking out for themselves to express their own needs and represent their own interests. Group advocacy is when people come together to represent shared interests or goals, such as developing or changing services, and offer each other support and skill development. Citizen advocacy involves a one to one partnership, usually long term, between two people. The advocate is a volunteer who takes a personal interest in ensuring that their partners interests are effectively represented. The relationship is based on trust, commitment and loyalty. Peer advocacy is used to describe advocacy relationships where both the advocate and the partner share similar experiences, difficulties or discrimination. The advocate is able to speak up when their partner is not. The relationship is based on empowerment and mutual support. These different types of advocacy are often interrelated and more than one type of advocacy may be involved at the same time.
Effective advocacy involves the following five steps:
- Determine the issue.
- Identify allies.
- Identify potential opponents and resistance factors.
- Determine how to involve all parties
- Develop a plan for a specific desired outcome.
Black Student Achievement can advocate for students individually or in a group to resolve an issue or help them to develop the skills needed to advocate for themselves. From societal issues of social justice to campus involvement and inclusion, Black Student Achievement is committed to supporting the student voice.
For more information or assistance with advocacy skills, visit Black Student Achievement in Student Center East, Suite 300, call at 404-413-1530 or email.