How to be an
Advocate without
Lobbying
Beth Yoke, YALSA
Executive Director
What We’ll Cover Today
•Defining terms: what is
what
•Legal underpinnings
•Political activity
•Lobbying
•Advocacy activiti...
Terminology
Each of these is different,
although often they’re mistakenly
used as if they’re
interchangeable:
•Political a...
Why Restrictions Exist
Tax status
•Federal law limits what kinds of
government affairs activities a 501c3
organizations ca...
Political Activity – never ok
Lobbying – some ok
• Asking an official to oppose or
support a piece of legislation
• Any communication that refers
to and...
Advocacy – always ok
•Communications with government officials or
between organizations & their members that
does not atte...
Types of Advocacy
Communicate
•Goal is to raise awareness & visibility
•Create a regular schedule: monthly
messages are a good frequency
•Le...
Discuss
•Take time to meet with policy makers and
elected officials to talk about issues that are
important to them & thei...
Educate
•Officials aren’t aware of how
the library helps the teens &
their families in your
community unless you &
your ad...
Share Expertise
•Become a valuable resource
•Ensure officials & policy makers
have the information they need
to make infor...
Build Relationships
•Most time-consuming part of
advocacy
•Can have the biggest results
•If a positive working relationshi...
Be Visible
• Who:
– You, your teen space
– Your teen patrons & their parents
• When: as often as possible
• How:
– In pers...
Resources
• Free toolkit
• Free webinar
• Canned presentation
• Downloadable handouts
• Tip sheets
• Wiki page for adding ...
Questions? Comments? Ideas?
• What haven’t we
covered?
• What would you
like to know in
more detail?
• What ideas or
comme...
Contact
Beth Yoke
byoke@ala.org
312.280.4391
LinkedIn:
http://linkd.in/AmcIGu
YALSA
Email: yalsa@ala.org
Facebook:
www.fac...
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How to be an Advocate without Lobbying

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This is a presentation I gave at the Tennessee Library Association Conference in 2012, which provides some strategies for how to advocate for a cause without lobbying.

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How to be an Advocate without Lobbying

  1. 1. How to be an Advocate without Lobbying Beth Yoke, YALSA Executive Director
  2. 2. What We’ll Cover Today •Defining terms: what is what •Legal underpinnings •Political activity •Lobbying •Advocacy activities •Q&A / idea sharing
  3. 3. Terminology Each of these is different, although often they’re mistakenly used as if they’re interchangeable: •Political activity •Lobbying •Advocating
  4. 4. Why Restrictions Exist Tax status •Federal law limits what kinds of government affairs activities a 501c3 organizations can do oAbsolutely no political campaigning oLimited lobbying (varies based on how not-for-profits file for taxes) Good brief overview: http://bit.ly/FRxaZg
  5. 5. Political Activity – never ok
  6. 6. Lobbying – some ok • Asking an official to oppose or support a piece of legislation • Any communication that refers to and reflects a view on a specific legislative proposal or bill Actions whose purpose is to influence legislation Ask your supervisor for policies or guidelines
  7. 7. Advocacy – always ok •Communications with government officials or between organizations & their members that does not attempt to influence legislation •Education •Providing expertise or technical assistance •Releasing data, research or survey results of nonpartisan studies •Discussing broad policy issues (social, economic, etc.) •Self defense
  8. 8. Types of Advocacy
  9. 9. Communicate •Goal is to raise awareness & visibility •Create a regular schedule: monthly messages are a good frequency •Let library leaders, officials & policy makers know what’s going on •Keep messages positive and respectful •Idea is to inform, not to complain
  10. 10. Discuss •Take time to meet with policy makers and elected officials to talk about issues that are important to them & their voters, including: •Adolescent literacy •Internet safety •Workforce development / career prep •Digital literacy skills Show how the library helps with these •Quarterly meetings are a good amount •Be positive & respectful •Bring a teen, parent or other advocate
  11. 11. Educate •Officials aren’t aware of how the library helps the teens & their families in your community unless you & your advocates tell them or show them •An official in-the-know can make informed decisions •Other library staff would benefit from knowing teen services basics
  12. 12. Share Expertise •Become a valuable resource •Ensure officials & policy makers have the information they need to make informed decisions •Show how library resources can be used to support their work •Provide information and training to library coworkers •Create a culture where all staff value teen services
  13. 13. Build Relationships •Most time-consuming part of advocacy •Can have the biggest results •If a positive working relationship is in place, a level of trust comes with it •The outcome is that it’s easier to discuss difficult issues & reach compromises
  14. 14. Be Visible • Who: – You, your teen space – Your teen patrons & their parents • When: as often as possible • How: – In person – Online • Why: the squeaky wheel gets the grease
  15. 15. Resources • Free toolkit • Free webinar • Canned presentation • Downloadable handouts • Tip sheets • Wiki page for adding & sharing content www.ala.org/yalsa/advocacy
  16. 16. Questions? Comments? Ideas? • What haven’t we covered? • What would you like to know in more detail? • What ideas or comments do you want to share?
  17. 17. Contact Beth Yoke byoke@ala.org 312.280.4391 LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/AmcIGu YALSA Email: yalsa@ala.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/yalsa Phone: 312.280.4390 Twitter: @yalsa

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