Where to Go for More: Resources for Advocacy and Communication

The Advocacy Institute
The Advocacy Institute’s mission is to identify effective social justice advocates in the United States and around the world to strengthen their skills, broaden their networks, deepen their effectiveness, and sustain their efforts. Its website offers tremendously useful resources for creating effective social justice advocacy through five phases: building a team, creating a campaign, forming coalitions, designing effective communication strategies, and ensuring long-run success. Descriptions of each phase are accompanied by extensive and substantive assessment exercises, strategies, and examples. The Advocacy Institute’s website also features publications and videos, a monthly electronic newsletter featuring advocates’ work, and a well-edited resources section.
1629 K St., NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20006-1629
phone: 202/777-7575
email: info@advocacy.org

Cause Communications
Cause Communications specializes in helping progressive, activist nonprofits nationwide refine their communication capability and effectiveness. Cause Communications shares what it has learned on its website in a section called “Forget Us…Do It Yourself” – and the resources offered there indeed make it possible for any determined group to go far in refining and spreading its message. Resources include practical information on getting and using media lists. The site also detailed publicity guides and a provocative guerilla toolbox which, among other secrets, reveals the formula for wheat paste for late-night public space poster application and offers advice should late-night poster appliers run afoul of the law. Most of the other Cause Communication tactics are less risky but no less powerful in their detail and utility.
1836 Blake St. #100A
Denver, Colorado 80202
phone: 303/292-1524

News for a Change: An Advocate’s Guide to Working with the Media
News for a Change: An Advocate’s Guide to Working with the Media is a hands-on and how-to book about using media advocacy – the strategic use of news media, advertising, and community organizing – to influence opinion forcefully. Authors Lawrence Wallack, Katie Woodruff, Lori Dorfman, and Iris Diaz draw on their experience as activists and offer examples, particularly public health, between fields and demonstrate how to get coverage and influence opinion to change policy.
News for a Change: An Advocate’s Guide to Working with the Media
Sage Publications, 1999

National Association of Elementary School Principals: “Exercising the Power of Grassroots Advocacy”
“Exercising the Power of Grassroots Advocacy,” written by Sally McConnell and available online, originally appeared in the January/February 2005 issue of Principal magazine, published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Short and to the point, “Exercising the Power of Grassroots Advocacy” suggests ways for school leaders to influence public officials in order to advocate for specific legislative and policy changes.
“Exercising the Power of Grassroots Advocacy,”
Principal, Volume 84, Number 3

Center for Community Change
The mission of the Center for Community Change, located in Washington, DC and with a field office in southern California, is to promote social justice by empowering community organizers. It works with a wide range of issues, including K-12 education; its education section features a number of useful resources including a free quarterly education organizing newsletter, an “Organizer’s Guide to No Child Left Behind,” an “Action Guide to Education Organizing,” and much more.
1536 U Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
phone: 202/339-9300
toll-free phone: 877/777-1536
email: info@communitychange.org http://www.communitychange.org

Learning First Alliance: “A Practical Guide to Promoting America’s Public Schools: Values, Vision and Performance”
The Learning First Alliance, a partnership of eleven national education organizations, offers “A Practical Guide to Promoting America’s Public Schools: Values, Vision and Performance,” a nine-page brief on how to communicate and build alliances with the general public about your school’s mission and vision. This guide offers message and action ideas in seven key areas, including values, school discipline, academics, the benefits of public education, public information, accountability, and parental involvement. Each area is divided into two sections: “What to Say,” which offers suggestions for how to describe your school’s efforts, and “What to Do,” which details steps schools can take to spread their message. Though viewing and downloading the guide requires registration, it is available at no charge.
1001 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 335
Washington, DC 20036
phone: 202/296-5220

FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing
While most of the organizations mentioned in this section aren’t issue-specific, FairTest merits special mention for its strong advocacy for performance based assessment and against the overuse of high stakes standardized tests. Among the features of FairTest’s website is the state-specific Assessment Reform Network (ARN), which connects interested parties with local organizations communicating and advocating locally for changes in assessment policies.
342 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
phone: 617/864-4810
email: info@fairtest.org

CES National and the CES Network
CES offers a range of ways to get involved in local and national advocacy efforts. Participation in the work and activities of regional affiliate centers – a list is available on the CES website at the CES Network tab – connects schools and organizations in a region, creating coalitions that can focus on issues of local interest. CES National, with dozens of affiliate centers and hundreds of schools, provides its network with ways to connect with like-minded schools and organizations both locally and nationally – the advocacy efforts described in this issue of Horace are some of the results of CES connections.