Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy Professional Certificate

Grassroots lobbying and advocacy has a rich history in the U.S. From huge public efforts like the Love Canal Homeowners Association in the 1970s and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the 1980s to more recent efforts by groups like Black Lives Matter, the Sierra Club, Moms Demand Action and AARP, individuals and organizations use grassroots lobbying to motivate the public and help reform laws.

Companies, associations and citizens are increasingly engaging in grassroots lobbying and advocacy as an attempt to influence changes in legislation that support their core missions and constituency groups. Grassroots lobbying and advocacy, in contrast to direct lobbying, tends to focus on stimulating the politics of specific communities by impacting public opinion and encouraging public action.

In addition to covering the history of lobbying, students will examine how the legislative process works, key tactics used by groups in order to promote different issues, building coalitions, relationship building and ethical concerns. Certificate holders will leave the program with the skills needed to step into grassroots lobbying or professional advocacy roles in most any field as well as the knowledge to support personal causes through grassroots lobbying or advocacy.

Instructional Team

Our core instructor team includes former members of the Virginia House of Delegates, seasoned contract lobbyists with more than 75 years of collective experience, skilled grassroots operatives, and former political consultants who successfully transitioned from campaigns to advocacy. Instructors work for prominent firms and associations in the Richmond area and have lobbied on behalf of some of the world’s largest companies.

In addition to our instructors, guest speakers from across the country will deliver analysis on the wide-range of topics covered in the course. These speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.


Class meetings total 50 contact hours with weekly class meetings. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Professional Certificate in Grassroots Lobbying & Advocacy from the University of Richmond, and will earn 50 professional hours (equivalent to 5 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 live online via Zoom over the course of a 13-week term.

Zoom sessions are scheduled on Tuesdays & Thursdays, 7-9 p.m. for discussion and activities. Lecture recordings and presentation slide decks will be posted for study and review 48 hours before Zoom sessions.