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Grassroots Advocacy: An Equation For Success

Grassroots Advocacy: An Equation For Success. MTPCA – Advocacy Presentation May 29, 2012 Amanda Pears Kelly Assistant Director of National Advocacy. Getting Involved: HC Advocates. Board Members 25% of all HC advocates are HC Board Members Health Center Staff

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Grassroots Advocacy: An Equation For Success

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  1. Grassroots Advocacy: An Equation For Success MTPCA – Advocacy Presentation May 29, 2012 Amanda Pears Kelly Assistant Director of National Advocacy

  2. Getting Involved: HC Advocates • Board Members • 25% of all HC advocates are HC Board Members • Health Center Staff • 55% of all HC advocates are HC Staff • Patients • 10 -15% of all HC advocates are HC Patients • Community Partners and Other Supporters • 5 -10% are Community Supporters and HC Supporters

  3. Action = 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Why is Advocacy More Important than Ever • Ignorance is not Bliss: too many people don’t know who we are • Elections Matter! • State and Federal Deficit Reduction Efforts: we are now big enough to matter • The Appearance of Power is Power • Elected officials fear the voters more than ever (See #2)

  6. Rules for Organizing Grassroots Advocacy Have Not Changed 1. 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 If 100 emails and faxes are good, a thousand is better! (It took 1 million emails to save Big Bird the first time. That might not be enough now!)

  7. Rules for Organizing Grassroots Advocacy Have Not Changed 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 – More Later 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 When it comes to the government, issues don’t go away – they just hide. Your goal is to build the permanent power to influence any issue that affects your center- at any level of government.

  8. What’s Different About Today? How Have Our Advocacy Needs Changed • Civic Engagement Is More Important Than Ever: Voter Registration and Voter Education have to integrated into our work • We MUST begin to educate and empower our staff, board and patients. We need them and they deserve the power. • Educating the Public and the Media about what reform means and Health Centers’ role in it is essential • We will need to Learn how to use new tools for communication and advocacy to be effective

  9. The Real Deal: Advocacy That Works • Nothing Beats Face to Face Advocacy • Personal stories matter • Not everyone has a computer: Petitions, letters (faxed) give everyone a chance to advocate • Vote, Vote, Vote

  10. The REAL Deal: 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 emails 7. Template emails (ineffective unless in volume)

  11. Empowering Yourself Through Advocacy Your level of commitment is directly related to your ability to make an impact. You must demonstrate personal commitment to your issues if you expect to receive the support and commitment of your officials and community members.

  12. Do’s & Don’t s of Health Center Advocacy • Do: • Know What You’re Asking For • Know Your Audience • Know Your Opponents • Know The Rules • Make a Commitment • Be Polite • Say THANK YOU • Keep it Simple

  13. Do’s & Don’t s of Health Center Advocacy • Don’t: • Offer Answers You Don’t Have • Assume Knowledge of Health Centers • Believe Someone Else is Taking Care of Your Advocacy • Burn Bridges • Be Intimidated • Confuse Being Quiet for Being Polite • Express Partisanship • Forget to make your ASK

  14. What Happens When…. • Your Policymaker Doesn’t Agree? • NO FEDERAL FUNDING • NO ‘ObamaCare’ • Party Line Votes ONLY • Others are Misinformed? • The Media • Community Partners • Policymakers

  15. Social Media Tools: The Basics Facebook • Facebook is one vehicle for social networking. It’s a free-access social networking site in which users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school and region to connect and interact with other people. Twitter • Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates, known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. For health centers, Twitter can be a tool for connecting to the community, the local media and your elected officials.

  16. Advocacy Tools & Resources:Campaign For America’s Health Centers

  17. Tools & Resources: Community Health Vote

  18. Tools & Resources: National Health Center Week

  19. Making Effective Advocacy Happen:Building A Culture Of Advocacy • In order to realize the full potential of our grassroots power it is critical that we create a culture of advocacy at the local, state and federal levels • Building a culture of advocacy means: • Changing the culture and attitude from within the health center, recognizing advocacy as a critical and mandatory component to our daily work and planning. • Making a commitment to doing the work to build and organize our grassroots in order to fully realize the potential of our grassroots power. • Growth and recognition of grassroots advocacy and effectiveness the same way other critical skills and programs are recognized for health center staff and boards.

  20. Making Effective Advocacy Happen:Building A Culture Of Advocacy • Essentials For Empowering Yourself Through Advocacy- IN THE COMMUNITY • Recruit Advocates:Inform others of your issues and advocacy efforts, ask them to get involved and make a commitment to health center advocacy. • Partnerships:Reach out to local businesses and organizations to educate them about the health center and ask them to join in health center advocacy efforts. • Increase Exposure:Begin an advocacy campaign at your health center. • Set up legislative visits at the health center with local, state, and federal officials regularly. • Write letters to the editor on health center issues. • Hold health center events • Make people (elected officials, the media, the public) aware of who you are and what you provide the community.

  21. Making Effective Advocacy Happen:Building A Culture Of Advocacy • Essentials For Empowering Yourself Through Advocacy- IN THE COMMUNITY • Build And Maintain Relationships With Elected Officials! • Establish an ongoing schedule of hosting and meeting with local, state, and federal elected officials (and their staff) at the health center. • Know your officials- interests, background, committees, career etc. • Let your officials know how many patients/ constituents you are serving at the health center and up update them regularly on developments at the health center. • Offer yourself as an information resource to your official and their staff. • Recognize and thank your officials for their support of health centers.

  22. Making Effective Advocacy Happen: Establish What Works At Your Center And In Your Community • Essentials For Empowering Yourself Through Advocacy- • Staying Informed- provide board members, staff, patients, and community partners regular updates and reports on what’s happening in D.C. and your state capital and how it could affect their center. • Ongoing Priority and Commitment- make advocacy a standing item on the agenda at every board meeting. • Recognition- publicly recognize and thank both officials and health center advocates who sign up for our advocacy network and who take effective action. • Patient Involvement- don’t be afraid to include your patients! Find ways to involve patients in as many advocacy activities as possible.

  23. The Bottom Line The Success (and Our FUTURE) will depend on the Strength of ADVOCACY! Advocacy cannot just be a clinical or social work act for individual patients, to succeed it MUST be a responsibility of leaders for their communities!

  24. NACHC is Here to Help • Make sure your Center is a NACHC member • Sign upas a Health Center Advocate (go to www.nachc.org for details) • Call on the NACHC Advocacy Team for Training and assistance

  25. Advocacy Staff Contacts Marc Wetherhorn – National Advocacy Director 540-942-4312, mwetherhorn@nachc.org Amanda Pears Kelly – Assistant National Advocacy Director 202-834-2592, apearskelly@nachc.org Lindsey Ruivivar – Associate National Advocacy Director 202-480-3275, Lruivivar@nachc.org Yvette Ramirez Ammerman - Albuquerque, N.M. 505- 252-0872, yammerman@nachc.org Danny O’Neill – Jefferson City, Missouri 573 - 636-4222, doneill@mo-pca.org Lynn Williams – Nashville, TN 615-329-0621, lynn.wms@comcast.net Becky Fowler - Columbia, SC 803-788-2778,  beckyf@scphca.org

  26. “…The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” -Mohandas Gandhi

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