When it comes to advocacy, influencing lawmakers requires the right grassroots strategy. In this video, Parkside Vice President, Saima Anjam, answers some common questions about advocacy, coalition building, and grassroots mobilization.
What is “advocacy” – what do advocates do?
SA: In 2019, in New York State we saw a progressive slate of issues pass. Advocates were out in full force supporting what they thought was important and all that is the public showing their support for these progressive causes, and that is advocacy. It’s just trying to convince somebody of what you believe in.
How can advocates build a strong coalition?
SA: Building an effective coalition is really important. First, you have to start by looking at the people who are directly impacted, and then you should think about who are the people in the community who already doing this work. Are you connected to them and how can you connect them? Then you can think about your nontraditional allies, like the business community, and if they can be supportive. It’s really important to think about all of these pieces because what you’re doing is using your coalition to build a larger campaign.
What can advocates do to make their government pay attention?
SA: There are a number of ways to do that, to make sure that you have your voice heard, first you have to know your arguments. What are you saying and who’s your audience? Then you have to disseminate your message. Are you going to a community meeting, are you showing up in the halls of government, are you reaching out to media? How are you amplifying your voice? And then you can have your own events in the community. Have vigils, you could host your own meetings, your own town halls, you can have protests. Make sure you’re using social media to amplify your voice.
How can advocates turn their cause into a real movement?
SA: Every event that you go to, every event that you have, you should be collecting people’s information. If they’re interested in the issue you want to make sure that you’ve got their contact information that way you can share action alerts with them, you can share information about other events that you’re having. Make sure that on social media people are uplifting and amplifying what you’re saying. Hit that “like” button, hit that “share” button, retweet, it’s all very, very important to make sure your message comes across.
You’re building a larger network of engaged people.
The Parkside Group can help you take your grassroots organizing to the next level using cutting edge action alert services and traditional outreach.