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Advocacy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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A wish is worthless unless action follows. -- Anonymous. Advocacy. Ellen Andrews CT Health Policy Project What is advocacy?. Changing the policies that affect our lives Individual vs. Policy advocacy On behalf of others

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A wish is worthless unless action follows.

-- Anonymous


Ellen Andrews

CT Health Policy Project

What is advocacy?

  • Changing the policies that affect our lives

  • Individual vs. Policy advocacy

  • On behalf of others

  • Public policy advocacy is an outgrowth of individual advocacy

  • Use many of the same principles, if different tools

Why advocate?

Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance toward civilization.

Oscar Wilde

Barriers, Challenges

  • Scary – these are important people, I can’t do this

  • I may make someone mad

  • They won’t listen to me

  • I don’t know enough to advocate

  • I don’t have time

How to advocate

  • Define the problem

  • Find an answer

  • Identify the target

  • Create a plan, including resources

  • Implement

  • Evaluate

  • Future plans

Legislative Advocacy

  • Patience, Perspective

  • Understand and respect the system

  • Create relationships

  • Offer solutions

  • Recruit a champion, then do what they tell you to

Writing letters to policymakers

How to call a legislator

Visiting with policymakers

Effective fact sheets

How to testify at a hearing

Legislators- who are they

The importance of legislative staff

Proper care & feeding of a champion

How to work with a lobbyist

How to work with campaigns

Directions, rules and customs

How a bill becomes a law

Legislative Tools



  • Seems intimidating, but it’s not

  • Seems out of public view, but it’s not

  • Budgets are political documents, not scientific treatises, they respond to the same political pressures as other issues

  • Classic mistake – to pass a bill without any money to implement it

  • Detailed primer on the website

Administrative Advocacy

  • Eventually you will need bureaucrats to implement your bill or enforce your law

  • They are not elected, don’t have to deal with you

  • Make their life easier

  • Include them early in the process

  • Thank them

Administrative lobbying tools

  • Sample letters

  • Freedom of Information Act

  • Research – finding and using data

  • Getting appointed to state boards and commissions

Changing Public Opinion

  • May seem out of place, but it is vital to advocacy

  • Larger than just media

  • Word of mouth is the most powerful tool

  • Letters to the editor, Op-Eds

  • Call-in radio shows

  • Web sites

Public Opinion Tools

  • Writing letters to the editor

  • Op-Eds

  • Tips on talking with a reporter

  • Public speaking


  • Amplify your voice

  • Gain from experience

  • Share resources, information

  • Can be very rewarding/comforting

  • Can be very aggravating

  • How to find one that fits

Persuasion, Creating Relationships

  • Know as much as you can about your target

  • Meet them where they are

  • Be friendly, helpful

  • Be sure what you want to say, practice

  • Get it down to an “elevator ride”

  • NEVER make anything up

  • Understand that sometimes the answer is no

Common advocate mistakes

  • Learn the system first

  • They don’t have to “get religion”, they just have to vote yes (or no)

  • Don’t leave without closing the deal

  • Always follow through

  • Don’t take anything personally

  • Be patient

  • Be flexible

Tips no advocate should forget

  • Always be polite

  • Say thank you, to everyone who helps

  • Get your story straight

  • NEVER make up an answer

  • Trust your champion

  • Patience

  • Perspective

The Health Advocacy

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