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Advocacy Software: What Nonprofits Need to Know (Updated for 2024)

And 10 Top Solutions!

Advocacy Software: What Nonprofits Need to Know (Updated for 2024)

When people think about nonprofit organizations, their minds likely jump straight to their charitable missions or fundraising initiatives. However, there’s another aspect of your nonprofit strategy that supporters should think about when they consider your organization: advocacy.

Advocacy allows your organization to get in touch with key legislators or community leaders to raise awareness of and promote legislation related to your nonprofit’s mission. 

Advocacy software acts as the link between your nonprofit’s community and those leaders. When it comes to investing in the best software solution for your nonprofit, nonprofits tend to have a lot of questions. We’ve combined these questions into a comprehensive guide for organizations to use for their tech investments. 

Common questions asked by nonprofits when it comes to advocacy software solutions include: 

  1. What is it? Why is it important? 
  2. How does advocacy software fit into a larger nonprofit strategy? 
  3. What features are most important to look for in advocacy software?
  4. What is the next step to take in the advocacy software purchasing process? 
  5. What are the top advocacy software solutions on the market today? 

Ready to learn more about advocacy software and how your nonprofit can make the best investment? Let’s dive in!

1. What is advocacy software, and why is it important? 

What is advocacy software? 

Advocacy software is a solution that helps empower the voices of your supporters and persuade leaders to enact legislative change on behalf of your nonprofit’s mission, typically through petitions and targeted communications. 

It’s the essential link supporters need to reach out to their representatives. Think about it: if you told a random supporter to contact their representative in Congress, how would they respond? The likelihood is that they wouldn’t know where to start, how to find the contact information, what platform to use, etc. 

When you have access to effective advocacy software, you answer all of these unknowns for your supporters, making it easier for them to make contact and mobilize your mission.

When the process is easier for your supporters, they’re much more likely to move forward with helping your organization in your advocacy strategy. Plus, you’ll have a new platform on which you can further engage supporters while also furthering your mission!

2. How does advocacy software fit in with your nonprofit strategy?

The primary purpose of nonprofit advocacy is to reach out to decision-makers in order to pass legislation or other regulations in favor of your mission. It may also be used to fight legislation that would have negative repercussions for your cause. 

Pay attention to the news and current events so that you know exactly when something related to your nonprofit’s mission is in the public eye. Appealing to decision-makers during these times will help your organization make great strides toward your overarching goals. 

While this may be the main purpose of investing in advocacy software, it’s not the only one. There are other aspects of your nonprofit’s strategy that can also be positively impacted by this investment, including:

  • Ask diversification. Donors may get frustrated if your organization asks for money over and over and over again. Diversifying your asks to include signing a petition, texting a representative, or conducting other advocacy tasks will keep donors engaged with your organization for a longer period of time.
  • Supporter acquisition. Advocacy software is an incredibly effective tool for the acquisition of support because you’re not asking for money. When supporters participate in your advocacy activities, you’re able to capture their information and further cultivate them to become donors and future ambassadors of your mission. 
  • Organization partnerships. If your organization shares mission-based similarities with another organization, you may choose to create a bigger impact by strategizing together for an advocacy campaign. This is the beginning of a lasting partnership that will help both of you get closer to your ultimate goals. 

All in all, advocacy is a great opportunity to supplement some of your nonprofit’s existing strategies in order to make the greatest difference.

3. What are the top features to look for in online advocacy software?

When your nonprofit invests in advocacy software, your first priority may be looking for a solution that offers the desired advocacy actions: petitions, call-a-rep, emails, social media posting, etc. 

However, there is so much more you need to be on the lookout for! When you’re looking for advocacy software, you should make sure you have the tools you need to contact your decision-makers, reach your supporters, and track your nonprofit’s progress internally. 

Therefore, you’ll need to look for top features in advocacy software functionality, such as: 

  • Data licensing. Know whether your software has data licensing, which gives you built-in access to databases, or if this will be an additional cost. Some solutions have certain data sets available, but the more unique your targets, the more you may be choosing these a la carte.
  • Outreach platforms. Make sure you have the tools your nonprofit needs to communicate your advocacy needs to your supporters. Built-in marketing tools like email, social media, and text messaging will help you reach advocates for your cause.
  • Bill-tracking. Bill-tracking makes it easy for your organization to watch the progression of a bill or resolution through the legislative process. Keep an eye on those bills or resolutions directly related to your organization’s cause.
  • Automated reporting. Automating data reporting allows your software system to do the work for you when it comes to reporting on your advocacy campaigns. Have reports sent to relevant members of your team so they can keep up with who’s getting involved, effective actions, and who your advocates are contacting. 

Unless you have very specific and complex needs requiring certain unique advocacy capabilities, an all-in-one nonprofit solution is the best option for advocacy tools. It means you’ll have a built-in integration with your donor database and fundraising tools for easy strategic overlap. 

This means you’ll be able to more easily find crossover between donors, advocates, and volunteers given the data stored in your CRM. Plus, you can encourage each group of supporters to get more involved in these different aspects of nonprofit support; for instance, convincing a donor to advocate for your cause or an advocate to donate.

4. What are the next steps to choose new advocacy software? 

Once you know the features your organization is looking for in advocacy software, it’s time to take the next step and look for an advocacy solution that’s right for your nonprofit. 

What are these next steps? We’re glad you asked! We’ve listed them below: 

  • Research. Conduct preliminary research into the software solutions that you’re already aware of. Look for those that offer the important features you’ve already listed. 
  • Check referral pages. Conduct even more research using advocacy software referral pages from brands you trust. Trusted brands in the nonprofit space tend to know good solutions when they see them. 
  • Ask for a demo. Narrow down your list with the research you’ve conducted, then ask for a demo of the software you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have about the solution, price, or functionality. 
  • Make your choice. Decide which software solution you want to invest in. Then, make the purchase. Don’t forget to celebrate during this step. It’s an exciting decision to make!
  • Train your team. Start training your team with available resources. Look for training resources offered by the software provider, those offered through third parties, and maybe even consulting services if you still need help. 

If you’re not sure where to start your research, we’ve compiled a list to help. Read more about our favorite advocacy software solutions in the next section.

5. What are our favorite advocacy software solutions? 

It can be tough getting started looking for advocacy software. That’s why we’ve started the research process for you. We’ve listed our top 10 favorite solutions for nonprofits

Check them out below!


The Best Fundraising Software for Advocacy: CharityEngine

Advocacy Software Overview

We would argue that CharityEngine is the best fundraising software for advocacy and anything else your nonprofit does to engage donors and have an impact. Our clients who use our advocacy tools will agree that CharityEngine offers everything your nonprofit needs to conduct advocacy outreach. You can choose to offer one action or multiple actions in a single workflow. Some such actions you can conduct include: 

  • Petitions
  • Phone-a-rep
  • Social posting
  • Sending emails
  • Registering for an advocacy event

With this software, you can encourage supporters to reach out to federal, state, local, media, or custom targets. 

Track legislation and automate reports using CharityEngine’s software to keep a close eye on the progress your organization makes. Automating tasks like reports and marketing will also free up more time for you to work on your campaign rather than working on administrative tasks. 


Why CharityEngine Made the List

We put ourselves at the top of this list so nonprofits can see our advocacy tools. And you'll quickly note that CharityEngine is more than an advocacy’s a complete system of fundraising software designed to help your organization succeed. 

With this software, you can host advocacy data in the same place as the rest of your data, making it easy to pull lists and supporter segments that include advocacy engagement metrics.

soapbox engage logo

Top Advocacy Software: Soapbox Engage

Advocacy Software Overview

Soapbox Engage offers a series of apps that are built for Salesforce. With this software, your advocacy campaign can lean on the app for actions like: 

  • Petitions
  • Donations
  • Events

Because Soapbox Engage is built for Salesforce, the data you collect from your advocacy campaign is streamlined straight into the Salesforce CRM for your convenience.


Why Soapbox Engage Made Our List

Soapbox Engage offers customizable templates that are effective on any device. You configure petitions or fundraising pages with your logo, text, and preferred forms. Then, you’ll be able to view it on mobile, tablets, or desktop. 

Screenshot 2024-01-23 095624

Top Advocacy Software: Muster

Advocacy Software Overview

Muster's grassroots advocacy platform helps advocacy and government relations professionals drive public policy impact, measure performance, and share their organization's impact with policymakers. Muster offers solutions like: 

  • An advocacy CRM to help nonprofits acquire, manage, and segment advocates with ease. 
  • Branded action centers that speak to your advocates and drive action around public policy.
  • Email and text broadcasts that allow you to drive action directly from the Munster platform.

Muster's customer service gets top marks, as well as powerful functionality that can propel your advocacy efforts.


Why Muster Made Our List

Muster offers a user-friendly interface and allows a great deal of customization for nonprofits. The pricing is flexible, allowing smaller nonprofits or those just getting started with advocacy to buy what they need without committing to a robust platform.

mobilize logo

Top Advocacy Software: Mobilize

Advocacy Software Overview

Mobilize (which, through a series of acquisitions, is now part of the Bonterra family) focuses on volunteer recruitment. They offer to save volunteer managers time with easy-to-use tools that automate routine tasks, such as email and text messages to supporters who sign up, and provide optimized event search and discovery with a streamlined signup process. 

Mobilize has broad appeal to organizations relying on volunteers, such as nonprofits, advocacy groups, labor unions, and political campaigns. The platform offers: 

  • Easy event creation so nonprofits can post their first event immediately, without any technical hoops to jump through.
  • Post-event feedback surveys sent via email and text so your organization gets immediate feedback. 
  • Customizable, streamlined event campaigns that give volunteers the power to host events on your behalf.

With Mobilize, you can tap into a network of more than 3,000 mission-driven organizations and more than five million supporters. You also have the formidable power of Bonterra. Bear in mind that in large acquisition plays, the parent company can choose to discontinue support for platforms or even sunset them. 

mobilize site

Why Mobilize Made Our List

While we are wary of its longevity now that it's part of the Bonterra family, we like that it's focused on volunteers. It was created with mission-based organizations in mind, and many clients have seen drastic upticks in engagement.

Hustle logo

Top Advocacy Software: Hustle

Advocacy Software Overview

Hustle is an advocacy software solution designed to help motivate and drive your audience to attend events and rallies in support of your cause. You can grab the attention of your supporters with automated texting that sends messages right to their phones. Encourage supporters to: 

  • Attend city or town hall meetings. 
  • Join a rally or event in support of your mission. 
  • Attract volunteers to engage with upcoming events. 
  • Participate in contacting legislators. 

Use Hustle to send custom texts to the phones of supporters. Then, set up automated replies for their responses and make sure they have all of the information they need.

Hustle site

Why Hustle Made Our List

With Hustle, your organization can segment your supporters for more personalized messaging. Then, use call tracking to collect statistics about how many of your supporters are contacting their decision-makers or attending your events.

DNL logo

Top Advocacy Software: MobileAction!

Advocacy Software Overview

MobileAction! is a mobile app by DNL OmniMedia used to connect all of your supporters to your advocacy campaigns, making it easy for them to take action and support your mission. With this app, your organization can:

  • Send action alerts to supporters.
  • Enable donors to manage their own accounts.
  • Launch a peer-to-peer fundraising event.
  • Survey supporters to get feedback on your campaign. 

With the majority of all online traffic now browsed on mobile devices, advocacy apps are gaining popularity in the nonprofit world.

DNL webiste

Why MobileAction! Made Our List

MobileAction! is designed to help nonprofits make the most of Blackbaud’s Luminate Online platform. DNL OmniMedia is an expert nonprofit tech consulting firm that can help you maximize your use of your tools, especially if you’ve invested in Blackbaud products. 

Bill track 50 logo

Top Advocacy Software: BillTrack50

Advocacy Software Overview

BillTrack50 provides legislative and regulatory tracking for your organization to keep an eye on the pending status of bills. It enables your organization to stay in the know and keep your supporters updated with regular updates and alerts about legislation relevant to your mission. With this software, your organization can: 

  • Create a custom bill sheet to provide a quick summary of each of the relevant bills. Plus, bills in your areas of interest will automatically be added to this sheet. 
  • Receive status updates with any new information regarding the different legislation listed on your custom bill sheet. 
  • Learn more about regulations to complement the existing legislation tracking tech. Learn more about both federal and state regulations relevant to your nonprofit. 

Easily communicate the research you find with BillTrack50 tools like widgets and stakeholder pages. Widgets allow you to drop data directly into your website. Meanwhile, you have more control over who can read and write in the forum of a stakeholder page. 

Bill track 50 website

Why BillTrack50 Made Our List

On its own, BillTrack50 is a great research tool for advocacy. However, you can also take BillTrack50 to the next level because they partner with the top advocacy software solution, CharityEngine! Using the power of both tools, your nonprofit can leverage your research to boost your grassroots campaigns.

NationBuilder Logo

Top Advocacy Software: NationBuilder

Advocacy Software Overview

NationBuilder offers software to help nonprofits increase their impact with a system that includes a database, email and text blasts, and hosted action websites. The company was founded on the belief that change will occur only with the participation and leadership of millions of citizens. Using this technology, anyone can easily mobilize their community and lead them to action.

Other features of this software include: 

  • A "people database" allowing you to tag individuals as donors, volunteers, or supporters.
  • Action pages, such as petitions, events, volunteer forms, and fundraising pages that are ready for you to add content with a few clicks.
  • Dynamic journeys that can reflect a supporter's action throughout their website experience.

NationBuilder makes it easy to collect donations and even accept payments.

Nationbuilder website

Why NationBuilder Made Our List

The software helps you create targeted and deliberate advocacy plans and campaigns. Pricing plans start quite low, and NationBuilder doesn't charge transaction fees.

ballot ready logo

Top Advocacy Software: BallotReady

Advocacy Software Overview

BallotReady is a platform designed to help drive educated voting in the United States. You can simply type in your address and learn more about every candidate and referendum. 

This software is a great resource for: 

  • Political advocates encouraging people to go vote at the polls
  • Advocacy campaigns looking to inform people about their current supporters
  • Learning more about the connection to relevant issues by political representatives

When political candidates run on a platform related to your issue, be sure you know about it! Then, educate and encourage supporters to vote in the upcoming election. 

Ballot ready website

Why BallotReady Made Our List

BallotReady developed a tool called CivicEngine.This tool is used to mobilize voters and candidates for every election. Those looking to run in an election should consider mobilizing voters with CivicEngine.

Cicero logo

Top Advocacy Software: Cicero

Advocacy Software Overview

Cicero calls itself “Democracy’s Database” because it stores information about over 25,000 elected officials. This is how you can find the contact data for the relevant supporter representatives. To leverage the data, your organization can use Cicero’s tools like: 

  • API. Cicero’s API allows developers to quickly integrate the database with any tools and applications. 
  • DistrictMatch. This solution allows you to upload your address file, then, Cicero will stamp it with relevant data. 
  • Data Licensing. Purchase data in shapefile or tabular format in bulk. You can purchase this as a one-time or subscription-based solution. 

Cicero makes it easy to find the data you need in order to match your organization’s supporters to their most relevant legislator.

Cicero website

Why Cicero Made Our List

Matching constituents to their representatives using address-level data makes it much easier for supporters to contact the right person. Informing supporters about who they should contact creates a more streamlined advocacy campaign.

Advocacy software helps connect your mission to relevant decision-makers. It creates a unified voice for your organization and all of your supporters, strengthening the messages that you want to communicate to legislators. Plus, it provides a method of engagement that doesn’t require supporters to give money! 

Follow our steps to investing in advocacy software today to see what it can do for your organization. 

Or, if you want to do more research first, here are some additional resources to help:

  • Fundraising Software: 8 Top Providers. Rarely is a nonprofit only focused on advocacy tools. Most also need donor management, email automation, and robust analytics and reporting. When all those tools are native to one platform, there aren't any data silos! Check out this list of top fundraising software options.
  • A No-Stress Guide to Switching Nonprofit CRMs. If you're ready for a technology overhaul, read this free guide that walks you through a stress-free implementation. 
  • Top 13 Advocacy Software Solutions. Looking for even more software recommendations? Check out Double the Donation’s top advocacy software guide.