I’m Ayelet Hines, founder of Change University, and I’m glad you’re here. My team and I want to help you shift power to communities and deploy the best science available to shape data-driven policies that will improve lives and protect the planet.

My career in advocacy began when I was 13 when I heard a public service announcement by Kermit the Frog on San Antonio’s college radio station. Kermit told me to send a postcard to a wildlife organization and receive an action kit in the mail.

I didn’t know who they were or what that was, but through Kermit’s invitation, I became a letter-writing machine, getting everyone I knew to send letters to members of Congress urging them to protect wildlife and the places they live.

I’ve spent the intervening 30 years helping nonprofits build movements, activating the right people at the right time around evidence-based policies through organizing, communications, lobbying and training. In those 30 years, here are the most common concerns I’ve heard from campaign directors:

  • “If we don’t get better at winning campaigns and changing policies, we’re going to lose funding, people and momentum.”
  • “When we don’t deliver on our campaign goals, our funders lose faith in us.”
  • “Our organization’s mission is to do good in the world, and we can’t get there without building a movement for long-term, durable, enforceable change.”

Stretching Every Dollar

As an advocacy professional, I know we’ll often be outspent by the opposition, so we have to be savvy about how we spend our limited advocacy dollars. It makes me crazy when organizations pay for in-person trainings that teach our teams things they can learn more economically and thoroughly on their own, or worse, when our teams receive no training but are expected to ace campaigns flying blind. I’ve both hired in-person trainers to teach advocacy and have been hired to teach it, and I’m here to tell you that the all-in-person training model is inefficient, outdated and a waste of money. Much of those trainings are the same thing over and over—unchanging definitions, concepts and methods—and that’s not how to build 21st Century movements.

You know the drill: Directors send staff all over the world, paying thousands of dollars in airfare, hotels and meals, and hiring consultants to teach what people can learn on their own schedule. Frankly, it’s almost a scam. I want to help you stretch every dollar, modernize your trainings, and get advocacy skills into the hands of all the staff and volunteers who have any role in winning your campaigns. Why? Because social justice is my calling and I need you to win.

Investing in your advocacy infrastructure supports you from one victory to the next, which is how organizations build power, win, and retain support. The cost of training is far less than the cost of losing your campaign, which costs you support and costs the people and places you’re helping a better future.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I really look forward to engaging with you, so leave your comments on the blog or shoot me an email.

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