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Health Center Advocacy 101

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Presentation on theme: "Health Center Advocacy 101"— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Center Advocacy 101

2 This presentation includes…
1. Defining “lobbying” 2. Understand legal do’s and don’ts for 501(c)3 non-profits 3. Learn practical plans for implementing successful grassroots outreach and impact 4. Understand the power and importance of grassroots!

3 Can Health Centers Lobby?
YES! You cannot use ANY federal funds to lobby Keep lobbying expenses below 5% of your organization’s time and effort   YES, and you should. More than 75% of a health centers’ budget is determined by federal, state and local government’s decisions. However, there are limits to what non-profits can do. First of all, you cannot use ANY federal funds to lobby. Second, you should keep lobbying expenses below 5% of your organization’s time and effort.

4 Elected official decisions are important to CHCs and CHC patients
Income Sources for Health Centers

5 What Is Lobbying? Advocating the enactment or defeat of pending or proposed federal, state, or local legislation or referendum.

6 Two types of lobbying: 1) Direct lobbying: Communicating directly with the official’s office There are two types of lobbying, and health centers should use both when appropriate. Direct lobbying means you are communicating directly with the official’s office. Grassroots lobbying means you are urging others to communicate with an official. Both are critical to making an impact with your elected official.

7 Two types of lobbying: 2) Grassroots lobbying: Urging others to communicate with an official

8 What is advocacy? Acting in support of a belief, policy, or cause.
Giving voice on behalf of another. The support or recommendation of policy.

9 The Rules: Dos and Don’ts
Voter Registration Voter Education Distribute Sample Ballots, Guides Co-sponsor Candidate Forums Educate the Candidates Remind People to Vote Help on Election Day Recruit Poll Workers Support or Oppose Ballot Questions DON’T Endorse a candidate for office Give resources to candidates Rate candidates on your issue Tell people how to vote

10 What is your #1 goal when you meet with an elected official?
To get them to remember that they actually met with you!

11 Goals Can someone get the target on the phone?
Can you get the target to your center (how often)? How often is the center in the media? How many local organizations/elected officials do something CONCRETE to support you? How many grassroots advocates do you have? How active are they? How many voters have you registered? Do they vote? How much of what you ask your targets for do you get?

12 Effective Advocacy Effective advocacy has one requirement: ACTION
Simply discussing issues, challenges, and plans is NOT effective advocacy To be an effective advocate & attain your goals you MUST Make advocacy an ongoing commitment and priority Translate discussions, plans, and passions into moveable actions Make your voice and perspective heard and understood

13 Effective Advocacy = Power
Grassroots advocacy is about BUILDING POWER Power is NOT measured by the number of advocates on a list Power is NOT measured by the number of small (or even large) victories we win Power must be measured by our ability to successfully advance our own agenda and to make it unthinkable that any other political or special interest would ever want to take us on.

14 Organizing Grassroots Advocacy
Advocacy Has to be an Organizational Commitment The Board Must Take the Lead – a formal commitment to time and resources is essential. Create an Advocacy Committee with a Chair – Board and staff need to be included. 2. Advocacy Has Rules Know the Rules. It’s hard to break the rules, but you can do it if you don’t know what they are. 3. Advocacy Needs to be done Face to Face Plan to get your local, state and federal officials (and their staff) to your Center on a regular basis 4. Advocacy Needs Numbers

15 Organizing Grassroots Advocacy
5. Advocacy Needs a Megaphone Learn how to use the media 6. Advocacy Needs Friends Look for ways to reach out to other organizations in your community on a regular basis 7. Advocacy Needs Votes Empower your health center by making sure your patients and staff are registered to vote and that they vote! 8. Advocacy Doesn’t Stop When the Whistle Blows Your goal is to build permanent power to influence any issue that affects your center, at any level of government.

16 Relative Effectiveness of Advocacy Communications
1. A visit to your health center 2. A personal meeting back home 3. A personal meeting in Washington 4. Personal telephone calls 5. Personalized Letters (faxed) 6. Personalized s 7. Template s (ineffective unless in volume)

17 Taking Action Nothing Beats Face To Face Advocacy – Get in front of elected officials and get them to your health center Personal Stories Matter - Collect compelling stories from patients and staff Not Everyone Has A Computer - Petitions and letters give everyone a chance to advocate For Those Who Are Online – Ask for their help! Use social media to share action alerts Vote! – Encourage others to vote, too

18 Speaking of Taking Action…
Campaign For America’s Health Centers sends Action Alert s so YOU can connect with your elected officials to ask them to help your health center with funding and other policy matters. SIGN UP to receive action alert s 2) TAKE ACTION when you receive an ! 3) ASK OTHERS to sign up and take action, too!

19 Contact us!
Send your health center grassroots advocacy questions to

20 Learn more

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