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Advocacy Toolkit for Caregiving Coalitions. Advocacy- Why Now?. State Budgets Federal Budgets 65.7 Million Family Caregivers in need of resources Improving State Resources. Identify State Leaders. Start by visiting: to locate your state legislators

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advocacy why now
Advocacy- Why Now?
  • State Budgets
  • Federal Budgets
  • 65.7 Million Family Caregivers in need of resources
  • Improving State Resources
identify state leaders
Identify State Leaders
  • Start by visiting: to locate your state legislators
  • Visit your leaders website and find out what committees they are a part of. Target your leaders that have an interest in aging/family issues. The Key is to find the leaders who may influence change and are able to work with you on an advocacy campaign.
  • Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment
advocacy cycle
Advocacy Cycle
  • Identify issue or problem
  • Research cause and effect
  • Plan goals, objectives, indicators, methods, activities, and timeline
  • Act
  • Monitor and Evaluate actions and results
know the leaders
Know the Leaders
  • Create a list of legislators who care about these issues, especially those on key committees that focus on aging, disability and caregiver issues
  • Search the state legislation for policy makers who have created, supported or voted on caregiving, aging and disability issues
  • Begin developing relationships with those members and their key staff. Set up meetings, email the staff with helpful information and keep in contact with them
  • Become their resource!
know the process
Know the Process
  • Learn how the budget process in your state works– many states produce a document on the process, but you can talk to other people who have been through the budget advocacy process before.
  • Track key committees—when they are meeting, what their agendas are, who are the staff of the committees (get to know them)
  • When you identify an issue, think about at what points you can effect the legislative process
  • Identify other groups that are possible partners or coalition members and that are potentially more seasoned in this work
track the legislation
Track the Legislation
  • Following the legislative process for your advocacy and to keep your members informed is a key process
  • Create a grid or structured form to track relevant legislation. This grid could include the name and number of the bill, sponsors, summary of legislation, where it is in the policy process and who is supporting or opposing the measure
prioritize issues
Prioritize Issues
  • Create a list of priorities for your coalition. This will make tracking and managing the advocacy process much easier
  • Prioritizing is also helpful for the policy makers when you meet with them. You will want to have a clear message to present so you do not overwhelm them with a wish list of hundreds of asks. Create 1-5 asks that the coalition can agree upon and have those on all your material during the campaign
create justification
Create Justification
  • Especially when your coalition is working on budget advocacy efforts, a justification or clear impact statement about your budgetary ask is critical to policy makers paying attention. Legislators are looking for a bang for their buck as well as for programs that make a big impact. Create one document that articulates the impact that specific programs will make
tracking state budgets
Tracking State Budgets
  • The State budget process will vary by State. Typically the Governor’s office will submit the State budget by the first of the year and then the State Legislature will act on it usually by June.
  • The National Council on State Legislature is a great resource to find information in regards to your State budget process:,61,132#132
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation has a whole website devoted to state budgets and recent budget cuts.  It is interactive website that you can click on the state your interested in get the latest information on what's happening in that state with regard to Medicaid cuts, or education spending. Etc…
  • It is important for the Coalition to note that even if programs are de-funded or eliminated all together, remember to advocate for the policy to remain in place. Coalitions need to be sure that the language is still in even if there is no funding because the funding can always come back.
raise awareness
Raise Awareness
  • Although legislators might be your key decision makers, keeping a broad view of who you are trying to influence is key. Other groups you might be able to influence with your legislative advocacy include:
    • Potential new members of your coalition
    • Media
    • General Public
    • Possible Funders
  • Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

  • Caregiver Coalition Advocacy Guide

  • AARP, Across the States 2006: Profiles of Long-Term Care and Independent Living
  • Making the Case: Saving Your State’s Caregiver Support Programs

strategy chart
Strategy Chart

Source: Midwest Academy, 28 E. Jackson Blvd, #605, Chicago, IL 60604

solutions sheet
Solutions Sheet
  • Each State Coalition should develop a solutions sheet to develop for their advocacy campaign. Choosing the top priorities/programs that your coalition wants to advocate for and providing solutions on how to make it happen.
  • For Example: Keeping State Caregiver Respite Plan fully funded