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Teaching Advocacy in the Nonprofit Classroom: Three Pedagogical Approaches

Dyana P. Mason, Jennifer A. Jones


Nonprofit organizations that engage in advocacy strengthen their ability to meet their mission by supporting systematic change. As such, students enrolled in nonprofit management programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels should develop both the knowledge of and the skills to engage in advocacy. Students should be trained to consider advocacy as part of a long-term strategic plan to accomplish their mission; however, there is little research or training on how to best teach advocacy to nonprofit students. This paper presents an active learning pedagogical approach. First, we present the literature documenting the role of advocacy in nonprofit organizations and related government regulations. Next, we outline three pedagogical techniques instructors may use to allow students to understand and practice advocacy. With each technique, we include resources and suggestions for faculty. The goal is to provide an opportunity for students to engage directly in policy issues being considered at the local, state or national levels, understand how these issues impact the sector and those being served, and how to take concrete steps to inform the public. These strategies can help shape the debate and offer solutions to decision makers.

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Advocacy; teaching; action learning

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