Respond to my classmates’ postings by commenting on and questioning the evidence that they would provide to their congressperson, senator, community representative if lobbying or advocating on behalf of an important issue.

Discussion 1 (Rhonda)

Advocacy is any activity that an individual or organization takes on to influence policies; activism for an issue (Almog-Bar & Schmid, 2014). Advocacy is important as it allows for individuals to be heard, it can influence decisions about laws and policies, it requires people to work together therefore promoting participation and problem solving, and advocacy illuminates and educates the public on issues that they would otherwise be ignorant of. Lobbying, on the other hand, is actions that may influence those in power and deals with specific changes in legislative such as a change to a particular law (Berry, 2020).

The nonprofit organizations in my area are all rather poor. They make do with old buildings that may or may not have air conditioning, the flooring is usually bare plywood or concrete, the conditions in which the volunteers work are inadequate and can sometimes be very hot. This is what I would advocate for, the working conditions that the nonprofit volunteers work in.

Evidence that I would provide to the person of power that I am advocating to would include pictures of the buildings, interior and exterior, statements from the volunteers, and data of weather for a specific period in the area where most of the nonprofit buildings stand (downtown).

Human service providers that advocate for those in need must mobilize and gather resources, educate the public in a way that will make a difference, and work with any other agencies that may be involved with the party in question. Other agencies may include the media, to whom they could write letters, share evidence, to educate the public about the issue. Advocacy requires a lot of organizational skills, and it is important that the human service provider keeps up with all the evidence that they gather. The human service provider must focus on the human needs and commit the time required.


Almog-Bar, M., & Schmid, H. (2014). Advocacy Activities of Nonprofit Human Service Organizations: A Critical Review. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(1), 11–35. to an external site.

Berry, J. M. (2020). Expanding Nonprofit Advocacy. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 11(4), 1–7.

Respond to my classmates’ postings by commenting on and questioning the evidence that they would provide to their congressperson, senator, community representative if lobbying or advocating on behalf of an important issue.

Discussion 2 (Kayla)

Advocacy is defined as the process of stakeholders making their voices heard on issues that affect their lives and the lives of others at the local, state, and national level. Most nonprofits advocate as much as possible in order to achieve their goals. This includes speaking with a congressman or educating a lawmaker on the issue at hand. Lobbying, on the other hand, involves activities that are in direct support of, or opposition to, a specific piece of introduced or proposed legislation. Lobbying is just a small portion of advocating for an issue. Lobbying consists of proposing a bill on the state or federal level, or even recruiting others to oppose a current bill (AACAP).

One issue I truly believe needs to be advocated for is mental health programs in rural areas, but more specifically for my job programs for children and adolescents. For data purposes I would gather the number of children in the given area, as well as the number of available resources. For example, I serve one county, which has 4 school districts consisting of approximately 2,000-2,500 kids total. I am the only case manager in this county, and currently carry 40 consumers on my caseload. This leaves a lot of children/teens without mental health assistance.

Next, I would be an advocate for the parents and school districts and obtain the number of children needing mental health services that are not currently receiving them. As a mental health professional, I would take all data, along with written statements from those within the community and take it first to the state legislator. If no action is taken there, then I would proceed to contact the federal legislation in written form. All documentation is very important when taking these steps towards lobbying for your community. The more letters I have from parents, school employees, etc., the better the chances of legislation looking at my case.

It feels most times that living in small town America, you don’t get very far or much attention when it comes to issues being addressed at a state or federal level. However, if we do not take the steps to advocate for these kids then who will? Can anyone lend any advice as far as how to better approach the issue of limited mental health services in rural areas?

advocacy_vs_lobbying.pdf ( to an external site.

Herzberg, J. T. (2015). Foundations in human services practice: A generalist perspective on individual, agency, and community. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson. a