Leadership Development

The Advocacy Institute works to level the playing field for Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities, immigrants, low-income people, and other leaders who have been historically excluded and underrepresented. We believe that legislative advocacy is knowable and navigable, and we have developed a core curriculum to provide advocates with the foundational tools they need to build – and win – powerful campaigns. Our intimate trainings foster connections between social justice movement organizations, build relationships across issue areas, and demystify advocacy work for people who are too often denied a seat at the table.

All trainings are led by AI staff with a strong commitment to social and racial justice and years of experience in government work, direct service provision, policy advocacy, and organizing. We work closely with trusted government insiders, seasoned advocates, and experienced organizers to create training spaces where participants can gain an inside perspective on legislative and budget advocacy and strategize next steps in their campaigns. Participants leave trainings with concrete skills and customized tools to support their advocacy going forward.

Our trainings & events are open to New Yorkers who are:

  • Affiliated with a non-profit organization
  • Working actively on social justice legislative or budget campaigns (either on their own or in coalitions)
  • Located in New York State

New York City Budget: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Thursday, March 18, 2-3:30 pm

Register here

Join the Advocacy Institute and Ashley Sawyer from Girls for Gender Equity to learn to learn the good, bad and ugly of the New York City budget process. We’ll review budget timelines and key players, discuss strategies for budget advocacy, learn about the movement for police-free schools, and provide updates on de Blasio’s executive budget and responses from Councilmembers and advocates.


The deadline to register for this training is Monday, March 15. The training is free for AI member organizations and $15 per person for non-members. Once you’ve registered you’ll receive a calendar invitation, which will be updated with the Zoom link prior to the training, and – if you’re a non-member – a payment link. (Not sure if your organization is a member? Please see our member list here. If you are interested in being a member or have questions about membership, please email membership@advocacy-institute.org.)

Join us on the third Thursday of each month! Details will be added to the Upcoming Events tab closer to each training date.

  • January: What’s Next in the New Year
  • February: Road to Redistricting
  • March: NYC Budget: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • April: NYC Who’s Who
  • May: New York State Who’s Who
  • June: Building Relationships
  • July: Session Update
  • August: Local & State Landscape
  • September: New York State Budget Process
  • October: Developing a Strong Bill Package
  • November: New York State Bill to Law
  • December: Framing Your Advocacy

Core Trainings

The AI team has developed a core curriculum that provides the foundational tools advocates need to effectively craft campaigns and navigate the halls of power. Interactive exercises, small group discussions, real-world case studies, and strategies to support member-driven advocacy are woven into all of our trainings. We also work closely with movement groups to tailor and create trainings responsive to current campaign needs and strategic opportunities. Our current core trainings are:

  • Introduction to Advocacy – define and differentiate advocacy, legislative advocacy, and lobbying.
  • Local & State Landscape – explore the different powers of local and state governments and the importance of choosing the right forum for your advocacy.
  • New York State Bill to Law – learn how a bill (really) becomes law at the state level, including how to select sponsors, strategies for moving bills through committees, and routes to get to a floor vote.
  • New York State Who’s Who – get familiar with key players in the state legislative and budget processes.
  • Who’s Who Buffalo, Hudson Valley, Long Island, and NYC – discover key players in your community and the roles they have in local and state politics.
  • New York City Bill to Law – learn how to move a bill through the New York City Council and win over the Mayor.
  • New York City Budget – explore the in’s and out’s of the budgeting process, including tips on how to impact the big picture of revenue and spending, and different types of funding you can secure to support your work.
  • Developing a Strong Bill Package – understand how to develop the specifics of a bill, collect info to back up your proposal, and effectively message around your ask
  • Coalition-Building – explore the importance of working across regions and issue areas, and learn concrete strategies to build a strong coalition.
  • Identifying Targets – learn to figure out who you need to push to move your campaign forward.
  • Building the Relationships You Need to Win – learn effective strategies to connect with your targets.

Recordings of past webinars are available to AI members via our Tools portal. Not yet a member? Contact membership@advocacy-institute.org to discuss!

  • Road to Redistricting: Shifting the Balance of Power in New York State (February 18, 2021)
  • 2021: What’s Next in the New Year (January 28, 2021)
  • Developing a Strong Bill Package (October 15, 2020)
  • NYC Budget Process (October 7, 2020)
  • The State Budget: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies (October 1, 2020)
  • Elections Debrief  (August 18, 2020)
  • Digital Advocacy Workshop (May 28, 2020)
  • All About Implementation 2020 (March 31, 2020)
  • NYC Budget Webinar (February 27, 2020)
  • 2020 Session Updates (January 30, 2020)
  • All About Implementation 2019 (May 30, 2019)
  • Last Chance for Legislation (April 18, 2019)
  • NYC Budget Homestretch (March 28, 2019)
  • Meet our AI Insiders (Building Key Relationships) (February 21, 2019)
  • Campaign Milestones: Tracking Progress Along the Way (January 24, 2019)
  • Key Players & Power Dynamics | How the Elections Impact Legislative Strategy (December 6, 2018)
  • State Power & Authority Why Working Across Regions Matters (Nov 1, 2018)
  • Understanding State Legislative & Budget Cycles (Oct 4, 2018)

Our series, cohorts, and regional trainings offer participants a chance to dive deeper into AI’s content and develop meaningful connections with other advocates.

  • Long Island: Coming to the Table (Winter 2020/21)
  • Advocacy Series with Engage NY (Fall/Winter 2020)
  • Legislative Campaign Assessment & Tracking Tool (LCATT) Series (Summer 2020)
  • Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy Series (Summer 2020)
  • New York City 1-Day Training (November 20, 2019)
  • Long Island Training (Nassau) (October 22, 23, 2019)
  • New York City Regional 3 Day (July 11, 18, 25, 2019)
  • Western New York Regional Day (June 10, 2019)
  • Hudson Valley & Westchester 2 Day (March 20 & 21, 2019)
  • New York City Regional 2 Day (Jan 30 & 31, 2019)
  • Hudson Valley Regional Funder Training (October 25, 2018)
  • Western NY Regional Funder Training (October 12, 2018)
  • NYC Regional Training (Jan. 31, Feb. 7 & 14, 2018)
  • Hudson Valley Regional Training (January 24-26, 2018)
  • Member Training (November 14, 2017)
  • Member Training (October 17, 2017)
  • Western New York Training (September 26, 27, 28, 2017)
  • Member Training (September 20, 2017)
  • Summer Leadership Course (July 6, 13, 20, 27, 2017)
  • Joint Training Series with HSC & UNH (July 11, 18, 2, 2017)
  • Long Island Training (w/ LICET) (May 10, 11, 12, 2017)
  • Member Training (May 18, 2017)
  • Member Training (April 13, 2017)
  • Member Training (March 16, 2017)
  • Member Training (February 9, 2017)
  • Buffalo Training. (December 9 – 11, 2016)
  • Member Training (November 15, 2016)
  • Member Training (September 20, 2016)
  • Long Island Nassau Training (May 25 – 27, 2016)
  • Long Island Suffolk Training (April 26 – 28, 2016)
  • New York City Training (April 22, 2016)
  • Westchester Training (February 3 – 5, 2016)


Webinars: free for AI member organizations; $15 per person for non-members.

In-person trainings: free for AI member organizations, $50 per person per day for non-members. (Due to the pandemic, AI is not hosting in-person trainings at this time, but we look forward to resuming these trainings as soon as it’s safe to do so.)

Contact hello@advocacy-institute.org with any questions.