How You Can Influence Government Decisions
Advocacy is the process by which you can make your voice heard on behalf of the issues that matter most. Speaking out on important issues is a critical part of the democratic process. Policy makers count on ideas and information from their constituents, using that input to form laws and polices. If you think a proposal misses the mark or a new law is needed, share your ideas.
Be Informed and Involved
It is essential to keep informed. Getting the basic facts is the first step and not very hard. Sign up for the mailing list of an advocacy group that focuses on your issue. Go to public meetings where needs are discussed., Attending school board or county zoning board meetings before your issue goes on the agenda is time well-spent. You will better understand how the decision-making process works and be much more effective in your efforts to influence policymakers. Local advocacy groups or individuals can direct you to reports on the subject, and you can follow the issue in the media.
Do Your Homework. Anticipate Opposing Arguments
Always use facts; don’t exaggerate. Never give inaccurate information. Credibility is a strong asset, so always tell the truth. Anticipate the questions policymakers are likely to have on your topic, include “What’s the fiscal impact?” Anticipate your opposition’s arguments and be prepared to respond.
Be Concise. Practice Brevity!
Always be prepared with a brief (90-second) “speech” – one that specifies your issue, the bill or budget item you care about and what you want done.
While credibility is in large part established by actions taken with honesty and accuracy, it is also a function of patience and commitment…perhaps best described as “being in it for the long haul.” Effective public policy advocacy consists of the continuing search for opportunities to move you priorities forward.
Public Policy Advocacy
Patience and Persistence. Be in it for the Long Haul
Note: NCJW is a 501c3 nonpartisan organization and does not oppose or endorse any political party or candidate.