Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

Can you afford to not do advocacy?

Monday, February 06, 2012


A new study backs up what Share Our Strength has learned through the success of its No Kid Hungry campaign in enrolling more children in public food and nutrition programs. The National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy’s new report called Levering Limited Dollars found that every dollar invested in policy and civic engagement returns $115 in community benefits. The report cites numerous concrete examples. It can be found at @

For many years, we funded advocacy but did little ourselves. It was only when we realized that one of the primary reasons that children in America were hungry was that they were not accessing programs for which they were eligible, like school breakfast and summer meals, that we built a capacity to better understand and intersect with relevant public policy matters. We did not become lobbyists, but we did work to ensure that those we serve were more likely to benefit from the programs policymakers, with bipartisan support, had established.

Too many nonprofits assume that they can’t afford to devote limited resources to advocacy. But with a return of $115 dollars for every dollar spent, how can they afford not to?