Earn a Professional Certificate in Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy

Earn a Professional Certificate in Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy

Engage grassroots support to lobby & advocate for causes.

Join the University of Richmond in preparing the ethical lobbyists and advocates of the future. Grassroots lobbying and advocacy, in contrast to direct lobbying, focuses on stimulating political activity of specific communities by impacting public opinion and encouraging public action.

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies offers a 12-week, classroom-based Professional Certificate in Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy for those seeking to learn how to organize grassroots support for community causes, and to advocate and lobby legislatures in support of such causes.

This intensive certificate program will teach participants the essential skills required to plan and deploy a successful grassroots lobbying effort.


Participants will gain expertise and knowledge fundamental to grassroots lobbying and advocacy, including the following:

  • Recognizing different types of lobbying and influence
  • Developing and insisting on ethical and fair standards for lobbying
  • Leveraging the influence of associations
  • Inspiring people to action toward the critical act of influence
  • Maintaining a genuine purpose to achieve clients’ goals
  • Understanding the legislative process in Virginia
  • Applying ethical practices in future lobbying efforts

Certificate earners will leave the program with the skills needed to step into a grassroots lobbying role for a cause, association or community-focused organization.

Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a Professional Certificate in Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy from the University of Richmond, and will earn 9 CEUs that can be applied to professional development goals. This program does not earn college credit.

Course of Study

The Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy Professional Certificate consists of eight modules, delivered via hybrid live and self-paced remote instruction.

  • Weekly self-paced video lectures
  • Weekly live remote sessions via Zoom: Tuesday & Thursday evenings, 7-8:30pm

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Types of Influence & the Moral Case for Lobbyists

Introduction to the contemporary world of lobbying, different types of lobbying and influence, and how lobbying is understood by both the general public and corporate America. The goal is to familiarize students with the many ways influence is wielded and lay a foundation of understanding of lobbying.


Ethics & Disclosures

Review of the history of professional lobbying in America, its evolution, and ways new ethics standards and laws affect the industry. Focuses on ethical and fair behavior as the core attribute of a successful lobbyist. Includes case studies of ethical questions where lobbyists have gone wrong, intentionally and unintentionally, to prepare you for ethical dilemmas that may arise.


Associations & the Art of Coalition Building

Focuses on how associations leverage their influence through the power of consensus and pooled resources. A wide array of associations will be discussed. Includes research into how associations are led and managed, and why they are so effective for coalition building.


Grassroots Lobbying

Grassroots lobbying is the foundation of generating civic influence. Covers the various tactics deployed by grassroots lobbyists, how they factor into influence campaigns, and important nuances of lobbying and the wielding of influence. Includes a hands-on guide to placing and managing influence advertisement campaigns.


Political Communications

Covers the importance of building relationships in the process of lobbying, and how maintaining a genuine purpose empowers lobbyists to achieve clients’ goals. Genuine purpose motivates lobbyists to find success on behalf of individuals, corporations, associations and government entities. Learn to maintain a genuine purpose to build stronger relationships with decision makers, colleagues and opponents.


Corporate Representation

Learn how contract lobbyists and internal-employed lobbyists represent corporations, and how this type of lobbying differs from other types. When the lifeblood of a company, often large and sometimes controversial, is on the line, special care must be taken to safeguard both the process and the people involved. Lobbying assignments are usually more specific and require a different skill set than other types previously discussed.


Legislative Process: Local, State & Federal Overview

Develops a basic framework for understanding how the legislative process works at the local, state and federal levels. Provides clear understanding of how local governments operate in Dillon’s Rule states like Virginia. In-depth analysis of the Virginia legislative process will include how bills are created, amended, killed and passed, and legislative strategy.


Future of Lobbying in American & Our Role

Serves as a capstone to the course. Reviews the course subject matter and offers a glimpse into the future of lobbying as a profession, why lobbying and advocacy are needed and morally justified, and how students can take what they have learned and apply it to their personal and professional lives.

Ready to Apply?

The online application can be started & saved. Requires resume & statement of purpose.