Lobbying and Advocacy – What is the Difference
What is Lobbying?
Lobbying is taking a specific position on a specific piece of legislation (for the exact definition of direct and grassroots lobbying, see page 3 of the CADCA Guidelines for Advocacy).
How Is Advocacy Different From Lobbying?
Most advocacy is not lobbying at all and is permissible for everyone. Examples of activities that are not considered lobbying include:
- Sending information, outcomes and other successes about your coalition to your legislators
- Educating your legislator about problems and issues in your community that need to be addressed
- Letting your legislators know what federal programs fund your coalition work
Should I Be Afraid to Participate in Advocacy Activities?
No! Advocacy is something you should absolutely participate in and is NOT considered lobbying as you are not taking a specific position on a specific piece of legislation.
Should I Be Afraid to Participate in Lobbying Activities?
No! But if you are going to participate in lobbying activities, there are certain guidelines that you need to follow as a 501(c)(3) (see the CADCA Guidelines for Advocacy and the rest of this document), but you are not prohibited from doing so.
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Sue Thau provides additional input on lobbying, click here Lobbying