Presentation on theme: "ADVOCACY FOR THE REST OF US Goals: Skills for you to make a positive difference for your food program and your community Resources to help you be an effective."— Presentation transcript:
ADVOCACY FOR THE REST OF US Goals: Skills for you to make a positive difference for your food program and your community Resources to help you be an effective advocate with state & federal legislators – and connect to other effective advocates
ICE BREAKER One thing that makes you nervous about advocacy One thing you hope to learn during this session
WHAT IS ADVOCACY? Working to influence public policy to create systemic or institutional change In other words: Speaking up on an issue you care about
LISTEN TO YOUR CLIENTS How many of you have heard from clients that their food stamps were cut? How many of you hear from clients about how many jobs they are working? How many of you hear about various other hardships your clients are groping with? What do you do with that info? What do you tell them?
QUESTIONS WE ASK 1.Is this good policy? 2.Can we afford it? 3.Is it a priority? 4.Is there popular support? Each of these questions has a political answer.
WHATS THE PLAN? Advocacy is most effective when your goal is shared - build alliances with others who share your vision: Use common messages and strategies with other anti- hunger efforts. Find allies with different perspectives on that same vision - unusual suspects get attention.
DEVELOPING AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE: 1.Who are you? 2.What is your issue? 3.Why do you care? 4.Why should your lawmaker care? 5.What do you specifically want your lawmaker to do?
HOW TO REACH LAWMAKERS Visit their office, either locally, in Olympia or both (Hunger Action Day is a great day to come down) Call or in response to action alerts Invite them to your program (site visit) Make a video Fact sheets Client/empty fridge campaign Tell your organizations story – capacity, challenges and needs along with successes
LOBBY DAYS Lobby days are a great way to start! Lobby days are organized by an issue (e.g. Hunger Action Day) or an organization (WAs PTA or United Way) Lobby days typically involve some training and/or an opportunity to meet your legislators
HEARINGS AND OFFICE VISITS Go to Olympia during session, or even DC! Its great to see democracy in action – and to show lawmakers that you want to be part of that action. Meeting with staff is just as good as meeting with your lawmaker (staff know a lot about the issues and often have more time).
PHONE CALLS Prepare your message before you dial Keep it brief but personal Nervous? Call after hours!
WRITING A handwritten letter is more effective than an (exception: federal officials) If you are writing an , the subject line is critical: make your issue clear right off If you are signing a form or petition, BEGIN with a personal message
SITE VISITS Meeting outside of session is the best way to develop a relationship – meeting when you dont want something from them is even better. Invite lawmakers to your food bank, a meal program, etc.: somewhere that shows them your work and impact on your community
ENGAGE YOUR CLIENTS Collect stories Have a client talk to a legislator Educate clients about issues that affect them Host your own focus group of clients to gather stories and feedback
ENGAGE YOUR COMMUNITY SNAP Challenge Letter campaign Food bank alumni campaign? Get your board members involved Invite other service agencies to come when your legislator comes to visit your program Write an op-ed for your local paper
Washington Food Coalition: Julie Washburn Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition, staff: Claire Lane, WithinReach Northwest Harvest, public policy manager: Christina Wong Childrens Alliance, food policy director: Linda Stone Food Lifeline (western WA), public policy coordinator: Katharine Ryan HUNGER ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS IN WASHINGTON:
TOOLS AND RESOURCES Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition Northwest Harvest Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)