Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit

Two pictures: one is of the Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit Facilitator Guide cover, the other of a young man speaking into a microphone at a workshop as two facilitators look on.

Left: Cover of the Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit facilitator guide. Download available below. Right: Photo from Healthy Community Living,

This toolkit is a guide for Centers for Independent Living and others to conduct interactive and engaging workshops to facilitate the development of advocacy skills of emerging Independent Living leaders and youth with disabilities. It describes how to introduce advocacy through the facilitation of unique activities and discussions, identifying issues of importance, and putting advocacy skills into practice. A unique approach presented in this toolkit is the use of improv to introduce, invite, and engage others into and with the world of advocacy.

Using improv hones communication and public speaking skills, stimulates fast thinking, and encourages engagement with ideas, all skills that are important for effective advocacy. Improv also provides a supportive environment that allows participants to take risks, try out new ideas, and build their confidence. The activities incorporate different learning styles, and can easily be modified to accommodate everyone.

An important part of advocacy, no matter if the goal is to help one person or many, is establishing a confident voice, developed and supported by a community of peer support. This workshop and accompanying toolkit materials give participants the opportunity to explore their voices, build confidence, and display their skills both verbally as well as in written form. The intent is to provide a safe space among peers and trusted facilitators to introduce the concept of both group and self-advocacy.

The Toolkit is a collaboration between BASE, an affiliate of Summit Independent Living in Missoula, MT, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), and RTC:Rural staff, and was developed in response to the needs and interests of CILs and other stakeholders.

To learn more about BASE, their mission, and their use of improv to teach advocacy skills, follow the link below to their YouTube video:
BASE Impact with closed captions

Toolkit Contents

Note: We are very interested in how you think you might use these materials, so we can use this information in our future research and other materials we plan to develop! Please take a moment to email us the answer to this question: If you are downloading or viewing these materials, how do you plan to use them?

Session 1: Introduction to Advocacy

Session 2: Audience, Resources, and Tone

Session 3: Putting It All Together

How-To Guides

Additional Materials


For technical assistance, or if you have any questions, please contact RTC:Rural via email at

A group of youth at the APRIL 2016 conference.

Photo from Healthy Community Living,