So, you’ve worked on your story, know what you want to ask for, got a few facts straight, done a little homework on your lawmakers – or at the very least, know their names. Now, it’s time to get set, and GO!!!
My journey started small. When I first started, I was simply asked to write an email. Imagine my excitement when I got a response back! I felt so empowered, I wanted to do more. So, I sent two more emails.
Feeling so proud of my self, I got a little braver and made a phone call. Just talked to the person at the front desk, but he took down my name and my message – wow! That was easy!!! More, I wanted to more.
Little did I know, I had been bitten by the advocacy bug. I was hooked. I was an ordinary mom-of-three. Perhaps with a flair for communication, and a love of talking. But, what I am trying to say, is I was not some experienced professional. Just plane Jane off the street. With a wing, and a prayer, or 2, or three, I took my passion (and boy was I passionate) and started chipping away at this thing called advocacy.
This thing called advocacy can be summed up pretty easily – building relationships.
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. – Joel A. Barker
There are some easy ways to get started – just takes a little time.
- Find your legislators on Social Media. Friend them on Facebook and post a comment with your story. Follow them on Twitter, and send them a tweet with your story.
- Give the office a call. By simply leaving your name and a brief message, you will be counted. Typically, a lawmaker gets briefed on his/her phone calls once or twice daily.
- Send an email. The legislators websites have a form to submit emails. It is quick and easy.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, there are still more ways to get involved.
- Visit local offices. Make an appointment to meet with the district staff at an office near you. They will pass along your story and messages to the Washington D.C. office.
- Attend Town Hall Meetings. This is a great opportunity to ask a direct question to your lawmakers. Prepare your question in advance, and plan on being one of many. Sometimes, it is helpful to go early or stay late and speak with legislative staff, too.
- Use Traditional Media. Writing a letter to the editor and/or an OpEd piece are additional ways to share your connection with your lawmaker in a public forum.
- Visit the offices in Washington D.C.. Join with other CHD advocacy organizations and attend a Congenital Heart Advocacy Day. For more information visit achaheart.org.
Check out the Take Action archive section for updated action requests. Roll up your sleeves and lets go!!