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Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!)


What is the Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!)? Who should use this tool? What does this tool help me do?

The Advocacy Capacity Tool (ACT!) is a self-assessment tool that nonprofit organizations, coalitions, and groups can use to assess their current capacity - or readiness - to engage in advocacy efforts.

By completing this tool, you will have a comprehensive snapshot of your organizational advocacy capacity and be able to prioritize areas to strengthen and grow. Advocacy capacity consists of the skills, resources, knowledge, and practices that make advocacy possible.

How does the tool work?

ACT! consists of four sections designed to span the breadth of "what it takes" to do advocacy:
  1. Advocacy Goals, Plans, and Strategies
  2. Conducting Advocacy
  3. Advocacy Avenues
  4. Organizational Operations to Sustain Advocacy
Each section consists of 3-6 indicators. As you complete each section, you will be asked to review a set of statements under each indicator and rank your organization's current capacity in this area using the following scale:
  • Very Strong / Always = 4
  • Moderately Strong / Usually = 3
  • Somewhat Strong / Sometimes = 2
  • Not Strong / Rarely / Never = 1
  • I Don't Know / Not Applicable = N/A
In Sections 2-3, you will also be asked the following question: "To what extent does your organization rely on partners for the above indicator?" 

At the end of the tool, you will receive a score for all 18 capacity indicators and have the opportunity to reflect on which areas you would like to prioritize going forward in terms of strengthening your organization's advocacy capacity.

Need to take a break and finish later?

Not a problem! Starting on the next page, you'll find a "save and continue later" button at the top of your screen. Simply click the button, enter your email address, and you will receive a link that you can use to resume the survey where you left off

Keep in mind:
  • Achieving a high score in every category is not the goal. No organization has it all, so be honest in your answers.
  • Relying on your partners often is the best strategy to fulfill a specific capacity need.
  • Plan on taking ACT! again in 3, 6, or 12 months to assess your progress and growth over time.
Have other questions, comments, or are experiencing technical difficulties?
Please contact Shannon Williams at

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