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Advocacy Ellen Andrews CT Health Policy Project www.cthealthpolicy.org A wish is worthless unless action follows. -- Anonymous.

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Presentation on theme: "Advocacy Ellen Andrews CT Health Policy Project www.cthealthpolicy.org A wish is worthless unless action follows. -- Anonymous."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advocacy Ellen Andrews CT Health Policy Project A wish is worthless unless action follows. -- Anonymous

2 What is advocacy? Changing the policies that affect our lives Individual vs. Policy advocacy On behalf of others Public policy advocacy is an outgrowth of individual advocacy Use many of the same principles, if different tools

3 Why advocate? Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance toward civilization. Oscar Wilde

4 Barriers, Challenges Scary – these are important people, I can’t do this I may make someone mad They won’t listen to me I don’t know enough to advocate I don’t have time

5 How to advocate Define the problem Find an answer Identify the target Create a plan, including resources Implement Evaluate Future plans

6 Legislative Advocacy Patience, Perspective Understand and respect the system Create relationships Offer solutions Recruit a champion, then do what they tell you to

7 Legislative Tools Writing letters to policymakers How to call a legislator Visiting with policymakers Effective fact sheets How to testify at a hearing Legislators- who are they The importance of legislative staff Proper care & feeding of a champion How to work with a lobbyist How to work with campaigns Directions, rules and customs How a bill becomes a law

8 Budget Drives EVERYTHING Seems intimidating, but it’s not Seems out of public view, but it’s not Budgets are political documents, not scientific treatises, they respond to the same political pressures as other issues Classic mistake – to pass a bill without any money to implement it Detailed primer on the website

9 Administrative Advocacy Eventually you will need bureaucrats to implement your bill or enforce your law They are not elected, don’t have to deal with you Make their life easier Include them early in the process Thank them

10 Administrative lobbying tools Sample letters Freedom of Information Act Research – finding and using data Getting appointed to state boards and commissions

11 Changing Public Opinion May seem out of place, but it is vital to advocacy Larger than just media Word of mouth is the most powerful tool Letters to the editor, Op-Eds Call-in radio shows Web sites

12 Public Opinion Tools Writing letters to the editor Op-Eds Tips on talking with a reporter Public speaking

13 Collaborations Amplify your voice Gain from experience Share resources, information Can be very rewarding/comforting Can be very aggravating How to find one that fits

14 Persuasion, Creating Relationships Know as much as you can about your target Meet them where they are Be friendly, helpful Be sure what you want to say, practice Get it down to an “elevator ride” NEVER make anything up Understand that sometimes the answer is no

15 Common advocate mistakes Learn the system first They don’t have to “get religion”, they just have to vote yes (or no) Don’t leave without closing the deal Always follow through Don’t take anything personally Be patient Be flexible

16 Tips no advocate should forget Always be polite Say thank you, to everyone who helps Get your story straight NEVER make up an answer Trust your champion Patience Perspective

17 The Health Advocacy Toolbox For more help and regularly updated information go to


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