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.

Advocacy Leadership Accelerator


The Advocacy Institute is excited to host the first ever Advocacy Leadership Accelerator that seeks to create skills, capacity, networks, and support for advocates working across New York State. This 10-month program, held from September through June, is an opportunity for 15-20 advocates with some experience in legislative and budget advocacy to deepen their skills and build their leadership. This program will build on Advocacy Institute’s proven Legislative Campaign Assessment and Tracking Tool (LCATT) curriculum while digging deeper into campaign strategy.

This program will center an intersectional and racial equity lens to examine how multiple forms of oppression combine to impact advocates’ ability to affect policy change. The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator will be grounded in the work of participants, and our sessions will allow advocates to reflect on the challenges they are facing and strategies to address those challenges, in community with their peers. Applications for this program are now closed, please subscribe to our email list to keep updated on our other upcoming programs.

Learn More

Our trainings & events are open to policy advocates, organizers, community members, volunteers, and others working toward a more just and equitable New York.

Join the Advocacy Institute for our annual Virtual Summer Camp: Advocacy 101 series where we will be giving advocates an overview on effectively developing a state legislative advocacy campaign. Over the course of 6 sessions spanning three weeks in July, we will discuss how to set the stage for your legislative campaign to be successful, how to work effectively in coalitions, understanding the key decision makers in Albany, and navigating the complexities of the budget and legislative process. Each week, one session will delve into effective advocacy while the second, regional spotlight, session will focus on advocates and their work in Western New York, the Hudson Valley, and in Long Island. More details on each session below:

  • Tuesday July 12, This session will focus on understanding that creating a strong and strategic foundation for your campaign is essential to your long-term success. We will introduce you to Advocacy Institute’s Legislative Campaign Assessment and Tracking Tool (LCATT), discuss how to identify the key choice points that arise as you start your campaign, the pros and cons of different strategies, and learn how building an inclusive coalition held together by shared values can help your campaign succeed.
  • Regional Spotlight 1, Thursday July 14.
  • Tuesday July 19, This session will focus on helping advocates gain technical expertise on the steps associated with driving a bill to law at the state level and confidence navigating the entire process. Additionally, we will discuss who’s who in Albany so you can have a better understanding of the players in the legislature and executive branch, their roles, and how they work with each other so that you can best influence them.
  • Regional Spotlight 2, Thursday July 21.
  • Tuesday July 26, This session will build on what we learned in previous sessions and delve deeper into how to strategically build relationships in order to access power within the complexity of statewide dynamics, elections, and the web of relationships. We will also help participants gain literacy and confidence in talking about and navigating the budget process in Albany, understand the significance of the budget as a policy document and the opportunities to advance advocacy goals through the budget.
  • Regional Spotlight 3, Thursday July 28.

In addition to what is discussed above, advocates will gain access to AI’s LCATT Workbook – a tool developed, and generally reserved for, AI member organizations. The workbook is an invaluable resource for helping advocates plan for and assess their campaigns in Albany and elsewhere. We will be using the LCATT throughout the training sessions to guide learning and attendees will gain access to this tool.

AI trainings are open to policy advocates, organizers, community members, volunteers, and others working toward a more just and equitable New York. The Summer Camp is free for AI member organizations and $50 per person for non-members.

The deadline to register for this training is on a rolling basis. 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. Payments are due at least a day before sessions for non-members to receive the event log-in details. We are not able to provide refunds, but you are welcome to transfer your event registration to a colleague or apply the fee to a future training if you’re unable to make it or pay after the deadline.

If you are interested in being a member or have questions about membership, please email membership@advocacy-institute.org.

Register here

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AI hosts at least one training every month that’s open to anyone who wants to join us. These trainings are free for AI members and low-cost for all others. Details are added to the Upcoming Events tab closer to each training date.

  • January 20: The Real State of the State: Reflecting and Preparing for Albany

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.

  • Summer Series: Advocacy Bootcamp for Hudson Valley and Western NY (Summer 2021)
  • Advocacy Series with NYC Capacity Building Collaborative (Spring 2021)
  • 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)
  • New York City 1-Day Training (November 2019)
  • Long Island Training (Nassau) (October 2019)
  • New York City Regional 3 Day (July 2019)
  • Western New York Regional Day (June 2019)
  • Hudson Valley & Westchester 2 Day (March 2019)
  • New York City Regional 2 Day (Jan 2019)
  • Hudson Valley Regional Funder Training (October 2018)
  • Western NY Regional Funder Training (October 2018)
  • NYC Regional Training (Jan-Feb 2018)
  • Hudson Valley Regional Training (January 2018)
  • Western New York Training (September 2017)
  • Summer Leadership Course (July 2017)
  • Joint Training Series with HSC & UNH (July 2017)
  • Long Island Training (w/ LICET) (May 2017)
  • Buffalo Training (December 2016)
  • Long Island Nassau Training (May 2016)
  • Long Island Suffolk Training (April 2016)
  • New York City Training (April 2016)
  • Westchester Training (February 2016)


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

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.