Two years ago, the Advocacy Initiative (AI) examined how civil society groups in Ireland were advocating for social change.

The survey found that 61% of groups were not engaged in advocacy work at all. Of the 39% of non-profit organisations that were engaged in social justice advocacy, most did so at local and not national level.

However, planned advocacy was on the rise, with 44% conducting information and awareness raising work, 19% focusing on policy implementation and 18% developing new policy.

Raising public awareness, networking, participation in local committees, and lobbying were the main activities campaigners choose.

1) The advocacy target was most often the general public.

2) The second most popular targets were local committees and county councils.

From the survey, the AI recommended:

  • A key way for civil society organisations to successfully stand up for citizens is to collaborate with other organisations to get the message across.
  • Keep your message simple, tell clear and compelling stories, take risks in campaigns and recognise there is value in creating strong political alliances.

Revealingly, the survey found that only 15% of members of the public thought the Community and Voluntary Sector was influential in political decision making; 46% felt the sector should be influential.

The Advocacy Initiative ran for three years and its website remains accessible:

Independence of NGO sector is at stake