What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is any activity that attempts to influence public policy. At Homage Senior Services, we focus our efforts on issues that affect older adults and people with disabilities. It takes all of us to participate in advocacy so our collective voices will be heard.
Why is Advocacy Important?
Fact: The aging population is the fastest growing population. By 2030, older adults (65+) will double in number and reach 300,000 in Snohomish County. Advocacy efforts are critical to help assure services will be available to those who need it.
Why Should You Become an Advocate?
- You Care
- You are an expert
- You are part of a greater whole
- Older adult issues are important
- You have the power to change things
How Can I Be An Advocate?
- Join our Grassroots Advocacy Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate in this effort
- Attend town hall meetings and let your individual voice be heard
- Make phone calls, send emails and letters, use social media, schedule meetings with elected officials and community leaders
- VOTE! And encourage others to register and vote as well
How to Schedule a Meeting
- Call the office and find out the name of the scheduler
- Email your request to the scheduler. Mention you are a constituent and give a broad outline of what you want to discuss. Keep the time requested to 15 minutes
- Call the scheduler if you haven't heard back in 3-4 days
During the Meeting
- Make your case - tell a story to reinforce your message and try to connect it to part of a larger issue that people care about (aging, healthcare, cost savings, etc.)
- Personalize the story to connect with the interest of the legislator
- Offer solutions, not just problems
- If going with a group, identify 1-2 spokespeople
- Focus on 2-3 main points with a specific request for action such as supporting or opposing a bill
- Listen to what the legislator has to say and push back (politely and respectfully) if needed
- Don't be discouraged if you meet with staff or an intern instead of the legislator. They will carry your message forward and are often the person who will do the actual research and work on the issue
After The Meeting
Send a note or email thanking them for their time and reiterate your request. Even if they didn't support it this time, a thank you note can set a positive tone for the next meeting.
To find your Federal government officials visit: www.govtrack.us/congress/members
To find your State legislators visit: http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder
This is a great site that tells you about bills and how they are passed (it's kid friendly but it is an easy way to understand the process). It also discusses what is a law and amendment.
For more information contact: Martha Peppones at email@example.com
What is the difference between lobbying and advocacy? Lobbying is always advocacy, but advocacy is not always lobbying. Refer to the link below for further distinction.