Advocacy is “public support for an idea, plan, or way of doing something.”Cambridge Dictionary
Advocating for adult learners and adult education means engaging actively in promoting access to adult basic education, adult secondary education, English as a second/additional language, and career/technical skills development for all adults.
Community advocacy raises awareness of the effects of limited educational opportunity on individuals, families, and society. It works to increase community support for adult learners and the adult education programs that serve them.
Instructional advocacy promotes equal access to educational opportunity within academic and other instructional contexts, regardless of individual circumstances or prior educational experience. It works to ensure availability of content that meets adult learners’ needs and goals; wraparound services that enable adult learners to persist in education; and professional development opportunities for adult education instructors.
Political advocacy increases understanding of the outcomes that policies and procedures in education and related areas produce. It works to engage lawmakers and federal, state, and local agency staff in ensuring that laws and regulations reduce barriers to education and promote success for adult learners across the country.
The NCL Approach to Advocacy
NCL brings a strengths-based approach to all of its advocacy work. NCL’s advocacy messaging rests on an asset-focused framework that has four foundation points:
|Adult education programs and adult learners are integral parts of their communities.|
|Adult learners have strong motivation to improve their situations. They can and do develop new skills in adult education programs.|
|Adult education programs contribute to the overall strength and resilience of the community.|
|A community strengthens itself by supporting and promoting adult education.|
NCL’s advocacy statements combine data on needs and impacts with illustrations of what works and why within this framework. They depict adult education organizations as builders and sustainers of a rich and resilient civil society and create connections that generate support from the broader community and responsiveness from policy makers.
The National Council of Nonprofits provides a cogent list of reasons for mission-driven organizations to engage in active advocacy.
Advocacy helps your nonprofit meet its mission.
Advocacy helps your nonprofit survive and thrive.
Advocacy helps your community solve problems.
Advocacy helps your community avoid problems.
Advocacy helps give citizens a voice.
Advocacy helps strengthen communities.
Advocacy helps public policy makers who need – and often want – citizen input.
Visit the Council’s website for more on each of these points and for clear, concise information on the nature and legality of advocacy and lobbying.