Understanding and Influencing Public Policy

Previous Course Title: Public Policy Advocacy for Social Change

This course will examine the importance of public policy advocacy for nonprofit organizations and the impact of nonprofit advocacy on society. Participants will explore the roles that nonprofits play in influencing the public policy process.

Understanding and Influencing Public Policy will analyze the range of advocacy strategies available to nonprofits with a special emphasis on the use of social media to promote advocacy goals. The course will culminate in a discussion of organizational capacity building to plan, implement and evaluate a successful advocacy campaign.

This intensive five-week course explores the following topics:

  • What is public policy advocacy and why is it important to nonprofits?
  • Nonprofit lobbying: What every nonprofit leader needs to know
  • Advocacy in action: Understanding strategies and tactics for effective advocacy
  • How to get your board “on board” for advocacy work and how to build the organizational capacity to achieve it
  • Using the Internet and social media to conduct an advocacy campaign

Learning Objectives

What you and your organization will gain from this course:

  • Understand the distinction between advocacy and lobbying
  • Identify myths associated with nonprofit lobbying and nonprofit leaders
  • Articulate basic lobbying guidelines for public charities 501(c)(3) organization
  • Describe what the law permits nonprofits to do in relation to elections
  • Describe the major types of advocacy strategies and tactics that nonprofits can utilize
  • Determine which strategies are right for a given campaign
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of working with a coalition
  • Determine the type of institutional commitment and resources needed for an advocacy campaign
  • Identify policy issues to address as well as the appropriate arena for advocacy efforts
  • Become familiar with successful technology-based campaigns and social media tools
  • Know when a social media campaign is appropriate for an advocacy campaign
  • Explain emerging best practices in social media advocacy

Special features of this course:

  • A weekly Resource Center provides carefully tailored readings and other relevant resources for program evaluation
  • “Studio” activities provide opportunities for new and experienced practitioners to cultivate practical skills
  • Original case studies and problem-based learning activities
  • In-depth weekly discussions on the real-life challenges of program design and evaluation
  • Small class size of 25 participants

This is an instructor-led course delivered entirely online. It is highly interactive and requires active participation on discussion boards and completion of assigned projects. We estimate spending an average of 8 – 10 hours per week on each Certificate in Nonprofit Management course. For this reason, we highly recommend students participate in no more than two CNM courses at a time.

Note: This is a tech-enhanced course that requires access to Blackboard, a course management system used by UIC. In order to complete registration, you must submit proof of identity to secure your unique NetID (username).

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