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 Did you know that you advocate on a daily basis? It's not always about some BIG issue or talking with a legislator - sometimes it can be as simple as talking to a manager to get an undercooked steak corrected.  As part of PTA our issues can be small - getting the teacher a file cabinet; to BIG - saying "We need to find a sustainable source of funds".
 
What is Advocacy?
There are various descriptions of advocacy, but it is most often described as
active support of an idea or cause.
 
A more formal description may read as follows: Advocacy by an individual or by an advocacy group normally aim to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions
PTA advocates on behalf of children.
 
Why Advocate?
  1. To act on PTA’s mission
  2. To educate decision makers
  3. To influence laws, policies and programs
Research the issue
The first step in beginning your advocacy efforts is to learn all about the issue:
Know the facts
Identify impact of issue—local, regional, state and national
Gather real stories that illustrate the need for change
 
Advocacy in Action
Once you have gathered the facts, it is time to put your efforts into action
Make an appointment with your policymaker
Meet with the policymaker
State your concern
Educate the policymaker
Specify the action you would like them to take
Provide handouts and fact sheets to reinforce your position
Thank the policymaker for meeting with you
 
Follow Up --- Keep in Touch
Continue your efforts after your meeting. Your advocacy action plan has to be ongoing and consistent.
Build a positive relationship with your policymaker’s office
Get to know the policymaker’s staff
Invite policymaker/staff to school to see the situation for themselves
Your contact with policymaker’s office should include positive feedback for their help or action on other PTA issues
Always remember to thank them
 
Spread the Message/ Keep the Issue Visible
Include the larger community in your efforts
Build a network of advocates
Provide your network as well as media with fact sheets (use PTA talking points)
Communicate with policy makers ---Phone calls, emails, faxes, letters
Write letters to the editor, Op-Ed pieces, articles in support of your position
Form coalitions with other groups that support the issue
Give updates at PTA meetings, community meetings etc.
Speak of the issue publicly
Encourage everyone to get involved—build momentum