Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit - Courtesy of BMS


Advocacy is not a one-day affair. It is important to ensure that your grassroots advocacy efforts happen all year long. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 advocates, keeping them engaged throughout the year is essential. Here are some examples of how you can keep them connected to one another, as well as to other potential new advocates:

Volunteering Keep a running list of ways advocates can volunteer with your organization. Consider utilizing volunteers to provide administrative duties for your annual fundraising campaign or to share educational literature at their local hospital so that other patients with a direct connection to your cause can learn about your advocacy efforts. And, at times, the voice of an advocate is needed either at a legislative briefing or a regulatory hearing. Collect the names of those advocates willing to volunteer within these settings so when the time comes, you will know who to call. Congressional District Meetings For members of Congress, August is their Congressional Recess. So, when you and your advocates think of August, think “locally, it’s time to get to work!” This is a terrific point in your journey to help your advocates schedule meetings with their members of Congress; the good news is, they won’t have to go far. Local district meetings are imperative to your success in legislative advocacy. Advocates who have met with their members at home will tell you it’s a different dynamic and a great place to deliver important messages. Encourage your advocates to spend time building relationships with their Congressional leaders and district staff while they are on recess.

Local Events Develop a toolkit for your advocates to utilize at any hometown event, such as a local fair or a community event. This toolkit can include things like a tablecloth with your organization’s name on it, printed education materials to distribute about your organization and a few takeaways for people directing them where to go to learn more. Community Fundraising Design a fundraising event your advocates can hold locally. Maybe it is a barbeque, or an evening at a local pizzeria, where a certain amount of the proceeds go to your organization. Encourage your advocates to share their ideas and suggestions with you. Listen to them, as they know what would work best in their local communities. Research Advocacy Program Develop a research advocacy training program where interested advocates can learn more about the science of their dis- ease to better represent other patients. Guideline committees and regulatory government agencies are often looking for patient advocates to sit on panels to represent the patient voice. Participation on those committees or panels can be the first step in the process of having your voice heard among other organizations, scientists, healthcare professionals, and government agencies.


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