About AdvocacyWhat is advocacy?Is the pursuit of influencing outcomes—in areas ofpublic-policy and resource allocation decisions withinpolitical, economic, social systems and institutions—that directly affect people’s current lives.
About AdvocacyWhat is grassroots advocacy?It’s when concerned citizens come together without beingorganized by an organization or company regarding an issuethey feel is not being resolved appropriately by governmentofficials and other entities with the power to respond to theissue. The term “grassroots” refers to a movement whichgrows spontaneously and naturally.
About AdvocacyWhy is advocacy important?Children cannot stand up for themselves and without a groupof people to voice their concerns on children’s behalf,legislators would not know the necessary issues to create andenforce laws to benefit our community’s children.
The Legislative ProcessHow a bill is introducedA member of the House of Representatives or the Senatebecomes aware of an issue and based on research, inputfrom experts, and public opinion, that individual will write upa bill as a resolution to the issue. It will go to a committeeand if passed at the committee level, it will go for a vote inboth the House and the Senate. Before it is officially passedor rejected, the bill may receive several amendments. If itpasses both the House and the Senate, it becomes law.
The Legislative ProcessWe are a democracyOur system is based on a democracy. The more legislatorshear from constituents on an issue, the more pressure theyfeel to act and vote accordingly. They want to be re-electedand they are there to represent us. This is why largecompanies pay lobbyists to hang out in the halls andlobbies of the legislative buildings to repeat their concernslike a broken record over and over—getting that messagethrough to legislators.
The Legislative ProcessAdvocacy vs. LobbyingNonprofits often cannot afford lobbyists, or their federal orstate grant requirements prevents them from hiringlobbyists or acting as their own lobbyists. This puts them inan area of generating advocacy efforts through donationsand volunteers from the community.
The Legislative ProcessYour impact on a billThrough grassroots advocacy, our communities can jointogether and raise awareness and educate legislatorsabout issues regarding children. With enough voices, wecan demand amendments to bills, and urge legislators tovote against bills that would have a negative impact, andvote for bills that would have a positive impact. As acollective voice, through advocacy, we can make adifference in generating new laws and changing outdatedlaws.
The Legislative ProcessYour role as a constituentBecome involved in an advocacy group or help start onethrough your child’s school, your church, or a civic club.Educate yourself about the issues affecting early careand education.Make sure your elected officials hear from you by phone,email, letters, in-person visits.Participate in Smart Start’s advocacy efforts.
Ways to Partner with Smart StartTuesdays for TotsRegister and go with us to Raleigh to visit our statelegislators when they are in session in the spring.If you can’t go, send us your story. We’ll tell it for you.Sponsor someone like a teenage mother, a parentstruggling to pay for child care, or a parent of a specialneeds child.Sponsor our bus, snacks and drinks, t-shirts.Encourage other people to go with you such as family,friends, and co-workers.
The Legislative ProcessTuesdays at HomeSend birthday cards to legislators and thank them foryour hard work. This makes contact with them when youaren’t asking for something.Have children create art projects and send them.Have parents write personal letters telling their story.Have older children that were in a Smart Start programshare their story by letter, an online video, or email.Keep your message brief and to the point, but respectful.
The Legislative ProcessMaking a ConnectionSmart Start has sample letters and post cards on ourwebsite.Smart Start provides a link on our website where you canfind the legislator names and contact info representing yourparticular address.Become and e-advocate through Smart Start’s website orsign up today. We’ll keep you informed on the latest SmartStart alerts, budget changes, and issues affecting ourchildren.
Thank you for supporting Smart Start &the children in our community!