Background analysis, policy design, engagement of decision-makers, developing evidence for policy change

Political Advocacy


Using the breath of funding strategies outlined in this Spotlight, philanthropy is a powerful force in sparking social changes. At the same time, philanthropy relies on governments to ensure that the implementation of these changes is scaled-up, across society.

In this context, Political Advocacy is an important funding strategy to stimulate wide-spread and long-lasting change towards climate-resilient societies.

The potential for philanthropy to leverage the power of governments is huge: The annual expenditure of European foundations amounts to just over 1 percent of the total tax revenues of EU member states.[1]




  • Lobbying, which directly engages policymakers around specific policy proposals, is only one aspect of Political Advocacy. Supporting Political Advocacy can also mean to fund:
    • Policy analysis that informs policymakers and shapes the political debate by surfacing new insights,
    • Translation of academic research into governance proposals such as legislation or administrative rule,
    • Enforcement to ensure that existing legislation is implemented effectively.
  • Engagement in broader alliances leads to a more powerful voice in the political arena. Political Advocacy means to work with all stakeholders involved in fostering progress on policy, of which governments are only one. Moreover, funders who become part of a broader movement or join efforts with other funders can alleviate the risk of controversy and partisanship (Bainum Family Foundation 2020).
  • Political Advocacy benefits from long-term and flexible funding that gives grantees the possibility to respond to electoral cycles and new political events by changing their strategy (Watson 2022).


[1] Based on statistics from the Donors and Foundations Network in Europe (DAFNE) from 2016, the annual charitable expenditure of the 147,000 identified foundations in Europe amounts to 60 billion euros (Gavalda et al. 2021). In the same year, the total tax revenues of the EU member states amounted to just over 5,000 billion euros (Eurostat 2021).

Bainum Family Foundation (2020): Creating Change Through Policy Advocacy. 10 Ways Foundations Can Engage. Bethesda, MD (Bainum Briefs, 2). Online verfügbar unter, zuletzt geprüft am 05.08.2022.

Eurostat (2021): EU tax and social contribution revenue decreased in 2020. European Commission. Online verfügbar unter

Gavalda, Manon; Dupont, Capucine; Brodin, Claire (2021): Philanthropy and development. Stocktake and partnership strategy. Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires Étrangères. Online verfügbar unter, zuletzt geprüft am 15.08.2022.

Watson, Sara (2022): 16 Grantmaking Characteristics to Effectively Support Public Policy Advocacy. Hg. v. Bolder Advocacy. Online verfügbar unter, zuletzt geprüft am 05.08.2022.