Advocacy 101 Alan Morgan, CEONational Rural Health Association202-639-0550
Overview/Goals The what, why, who & how of advocacy Experience a hill visit Know what you can do when you go home
What is Advocacy? Advocacy is the tool citizens use in our democracy to bring about improvements. But really more than that – you advocate daily Context – legislature
If you can’t advocate… Educate You’ll hear lobby – think advocacy or go further and think educate All you are doing is asking Members of Congress and their staff to understand your situation – they can do the rest
Why Advocate? You care about your community You have a need You’re in DC…
Who Advocates? I want you to advocate! You are your own best voice
To Whom? Representatives, senators, governors, mayors, council members, elected officials Their staffs Public officials – CMS, HRSA, HHS, White House, Departments of Health Some of you…
A word about staffers… Speaking to a hill staffer In a lot of cases, they will be younger than you expected They are making important decisions
Lots of issues You will know more They want to know what they are talking about – they’ll pretend Explain acronyms & concepts
Time Crunch You may be one of many meetings today Long hours – back-to-back Understand this time constraint Be concise Be flexible Be on time
How Should I Advocate? Visit in their office, phone calls, letters, parties, greeting at a parade, invite to your facility or any other way of meeting people and conversing Be yourself 5 Rules of Advocacy…
1. Have an ask Don’t want to say “no” Experts at avoiding this Easy to get caught up into a discussion of your facility and never about how to help. Make specific, support x.
Frame the Message Here for Rural Health… “Change must come to rural, too!” Short-term – stimulus Medium-term – proper funding Long-term – compact on reform Anecdotes and Stories Imbed Data (if possible) Stay on Message
2. Talk to Decision Maker Go to event where Senator/Representative is and ask in person Get an email or call to health staffer – leave message with health L.A. NOT the front desk John.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
3. Importance to District How is this important to your state/district? Personalize it Give your experience They want to help their constituents
4. Know who you are speaking to Hill staffers are usually younger than you may expect – still important Where is bill? What committee? Is person newbie or experienced? Don’t assume anything!
5. Be Concise and Follow-Up Be Polite! Understand time constraint Follow-up by email
Putting it together First impressions are important Prepare Leave Behinds Walk through material Be attentive – ask questions to make sure they understand Be yourself – don’t worry about mistakes
Role Play 1 So how do you think that went? What in specific was wrong with it? Do you think that staffer will help them? What are some things they could do better?