Advocacy refers to various ways to influence key individuals or groups to benefit a cause or organization. The groups may be public or private, national or local, and they may vary, depending upon the issue at hand.
Why Advocate For Head Start?
Head Start engages in advocacy efforts to assure the continued success of the Head Start program. Because Head Start is funded primarily by public sources, securing adequate funding for our academic, social, health and family services is one of our primary advocacy objectives. We do this by making sure human services decision makers know about the wide range of services Head Start provides; about the individual successes it experiences, about the research that proves its effectiveness and about the savings it ultimately delivers to society. This means establishing and maintaining positive, ongoing contact with the legislative and executive branches of government, at the federal and state levels. It also means keeping abreast of issues, trends and legislation that have the potential to affect Head Start, and letting legislators know and understand our point of view about such issues.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Individuals involved in the Head Start program, and others with a special interest in the program are in a perfect position to be heard by policy makers. Their attitudes, as well as their personal experiences and successes with the program reinforce the impact that Head Start has on the lives of the families in their jurisdiction.
We need to ensure that their constituents contact the Appropriations Committees’ members. If your Senator or Representative is on either of the lists below, please make sure you call or email ASAP.
Tips for Contacting Legislators
While all contact with legislators influences their decision making, some efforts are more successful than others. Here are a few tips for making the most of your contact with state and federal senators and representatives. Communicate with YOUR legislators first. They want to know what their constituents think about issues; they are influenced less by those outside their districts.
- All communication should be accompanied by your name and address.
- Be sure to indicate you are a constituent of the legislator you are contacting.
- Phone calls and faxes generally have more impact than e-mail letters.
- E-mail letters have less impact , but are still important. They are faster, easier and more economical than calls or U.S. Mail.
- Original letters carry more weight than form letters, so whenever possible write original letters, or customize form letters.
- One way to maximize form letters is to customize them, print and fax/Mail them with your name & address.