Giving Compass' Take:

• Arabella Advisors discusses how philanthropists will need to work closely with advocates to achieve scale; the benefits of doing so are already apparent.

• In this politically divisive environment, many nonprofits may shy away from advocacy, but this post makes a good argument for thoughtful engagement on the community level to advance social causes.

• Here are some key questions to answer when funding advocacy.

When pursued strategically, philanthropy and advocacy are like two sides of the same coin. Their practitioners both take action in service of needed social change, seeking to realize visions of a better world, and it’s rare that either set can achieve the goals it seeks without the other, at least at scale. Advocates are typically well aware how much they need donors to accomplish their goals. For their part, donors increasingly understand that the inverse is true as well: they need advocates — or at least the tools of advocacy — to achieve the ends they seek.

As governments become ever more paralyzed by ideological polarization and fiscal restrictions, civil society institutions are playing an increasingly large role in asserting public-interest values and driving policy reform.

In an environment where even childhood hunger gets caught up in partisan clashes, funders and their grantees are seeing the need to renew their theories of change and ways of doing business.

More and more, donors are engaging in collaborative efforts that aggregate their expertise and divvy up the work to fit their various interests and capacities. Such advocacy funding collaboratives can create dynamic partnerships between individual donors and foundations. Individual donors typically bring flexibility: they can move money quickly and are less restricted in what they can fund, so they can seize sudden opportunities in ways that are sometimes more difficult for large institutional donors.

Read the full article about strategic philanthropy and advocacy by Scott Nielsen at