What is Grassroots Advocacy?

Grassroots advocacy is the process of communicating with the general public and asking them to contact their local, state or federal officials regarding a certain issue. In contrast to direct lobbying, grassroots advocacy is often citizen-based activism.

It’s a fairly straightforward concept. The confusion surrounding grassroots advocacy comes from misconceptions about lobbying. Some people may assume and ask, “don’t we have lobbyists who do this for a living?” and the answer is, technically, yes. However, there is a difference between lobbying and grassroots advocacy. Direct lobbying conducted on behalf of an organization is exercised by lobbyists, government relations teams and involves the participation of members of a certain nonprofit organization or association. Grassroots advocacy, on the other hand, is considered indirect lobbying. Grassroots advocacy initiatives look to involve citizens who are personally affected by an issue that an organization care about.