BattenX CNE

Equipping for Positive Change: Policy Advocacy for Nonprofit Leaders

Program Overview

Being an effective advocate has become an essential part of leadership in the nonprofit sector. With advances in technology and the increased participation in new media platforms, engagement between leaders in both the public and private sectors has become a necessary task. However, few have been trained to execute this critical role effectively. 

The policymaking process of the U.S. government -- one based in the principles of federalism and democracy -- is complex and confounding, but also accessible, with the proper set of knowledge and skills. Knowing the difference between educating government officials versus lobbying, how to galvanize the voices of your members, what types of tools to use for various audiences, and how to craft persuasive – and therefore successful – messages all can be learned. While the “recipe” for lobbying can be applied at any level of government, successful advocacy requires knowledge regarding pertinent data, policy research, strategic planning, grassroots organizing and succinct and persuasive message development.  

Impact & Outcomes

To address this gap, the BattenX program of UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, in collaboration with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, designed a three-part workshop series to give nonprofit leaders the knowledge and skills for successful policy advocacy. BattenX is an executive education and lifelong-learning initiative housed at UVA's Batten School.

The three Wednesday sessions are scheduled: Sept. 20, Oct. 18, and Nov. 15. All are from 12 noon to 2 p.m. and will be online via Zoom.


  • Understanding the basic structure of the U.S. government, including the characteristics of federalism and representative democracy
  • Distinguishing between advocacy and lobbying, and explaining the role of advocacy in our democracy
  • Explaining the nonprofit sector’s role in public policy advocacy and how it can strengthen our democracy
  • Identifying differences in advocacy at the local, state, and national levels


  • Acquisition of critical tools and strategies for successful advocacy


  • Engagement with peers at other regional nonprofit organizations

Program Fee: Register individually for sessions, or register for all three and get a discount.

  • $75 per session
  • CNE member discount: $55 per session

Refund Policy: A refund will be issued less a $20 processing fee for cancellations made 30 days or more prior to the start of any BattenX program.

Customer Service Contact Information:  

  • September 20: The U.S. Government: Federalism, Democracy, and the Principles of Policy Making


  • October 18: Non-Profit Advocacy: Does Your  Organization Have What It Takes to Be an Effective Advocate?


  • November 15: It’s Time to Advocate: Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Implementing Your Action Plan



Additional Event

A Primer: Equipping for Positive Change  Grab your lunch and join us for this free, online-only Lunch and Learn workshop. Anyone is welcome to join regardless of whether you are participating in any of the other three sessions.

Wednesday, August 23, 12 noon - 1 p.m. Complete.

Instructor: Brooke Lehmann, a lecturer at the Batten School as well as President of Childworks and Founding Partner of Capitolworks

Program Type: Workshop

Mode of Instruction: Online synchronous via Zoom