Skills for Social Transformation and Relationship Building


Advocacy education begins with gaining an understanding of the social issue at hand, including any policies that impact it. This can take various forms: collecting quantitative data; gathering stories of people directly affected; and conducting research meetings with experts in the field.


Power is essential to being able to influence decision makers, and grassroots advocates build power by cultivating relationships with constituents in close proximity who share self-interest. These constituents are primarily people directly affected by structures of oppression, for organizers aim not to speak for others but to amplify marginalized voices.


Though one-to-one relational meetings and personal invitations are essential to building power, strategic use of media can greatly extend the reach of a campaign. Advocates frame their argument using traditional media (e.g. newspapers, television stations) and social media to inform the public of the issue, persuade viewers to act, circulate petitions and share other opportunities for action.

Meeting with Decision Maker 

These steps, though fluid, ultimately aim toward moving a decision maker to act, whether that be supporting proposed legislation, implementing a new policy or taking other measures that promote the common good. Advocates seek to influence this individual (e.g. school board member, county council member, U.S. Senator) by conducting a meeting with her/him in which they effectively convey power through a mobilized constituency, present a persuasive argument rooted in human dignity, backed by data and animated by stories, and make an Ask of the decision maker to commit his/her support.

Relationship Building

Relationships are central to the success of advocacy work and are required for each of the skills listed above. Whether learning about an issue from a community member directly affected, asking a peer to support the campaign, accessing media to spread the message, or sitting down with a legislator, effective advocacy rests on the ability of individuals to form relationships and work together to make lasting change.


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Upcoming Events

April 2021

Application Deadline | McNeill Leadership Fellows Program
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm

May 2021

CST Research Seminar
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 9:45am
Labor Café | The Paid Leave Priority
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

June 2021

July 2021

Just Wage Forum 2021 | Series Conclusion (Virtual)
Friday, July 23, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

September 2021