Top skills to succeed in global development advocacy

Whether you work in a dedicated advocacy role or wear an advocacy hat from time to time, here are the tops skills you should hone according to experts. Photo by: Viktor Hanacek

The role of advocacy is cross-cutting in global development, and critical to organizations in securing funding, shaping programs and creating sustainable change. While specific mandates vary from one organization to another, advocacy professionals are focused on influencing decisions within political, economic and social systems to better support their organization’s mission and benefit stakeholders.

Global development organizations can be engaged in advocacy at a local, national or international level and often have positions dedicated to these efforts. Inge Brees, senior European Union advocacy officer at CARE International, heads up the organization's advocacy in Brussels and focuses on influencing policies at an EU level. However, she says that in practice, the nature of advocacy as a cross-cutting issue means people often wear multiple hats — country directors, for example, who are responsible for program management might also practice advocacy to some extent through discussions with local authorities and in ensuring civil society space for their partners to work.

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.