Advocacy can include many different things, but at its core, advocacy simply requires that someone cares enough to step forward and take action to bring about change – something we do in small and big ways every day!
Advocacy can mean writing a letter to your elected official, meeting with your legislator at the State Capitol in St. Paul, talking with your child’s teacher or doctor about your concerns, standing up for yourself and much more. Effective advocacy is all about building relationships with people and sharing your story.
Share Your Story for Change
We all have unique experiences that shape our lives, and sharing your story is one of the easiest, most powerful ways to bring about change in your community.
Policymakers need information – they can’t possibly know everything that is going on, so they rely on the people they represent to keep them informed about what matters to their community. This is where your story can make a difference!
Connecting with your policymakers is an effective way to advocate for issues that matter to you:
- Get to know who represents you. Visit www.leg.mn and learn about the state legislators that represent you. You can find out about their background, the committees they sit on, bills they’ve authored and sign up to receive their legislative updates. Remember – there are elected officials at many different levels of government that represent you. Learn more about your school board, city council, mayor, park board, county commission and other local government bodies. The tips below apply to policymakers at all levels of government!
- Build a relationship with your representative. Introduce yourself and establish a relationship before you need something from them.
- Make the issue personal by sharing your story. Stories show policymakers how their decisions affect people personally and can help simplify complex issues.
- Be persistent and patient. Change takes time. You might not succeed the first, second or even third time.
- Keep communicating with your representative. Whether you agree or disagree with them, it’s important to tell them what you care about. They rely on their constituents to tell them what is happening in their communities.
- Say “Thank You” often. Policymakers work hard to get elected and want to represent their communities the best they can. They always appreciate hearing they’re doing a good job.
Want to learn more?
To learn more about advocacy and how to communicate with your policymakers about issues you care about, attend a YWCA Minneapolis advocacy workshop:
YWCA Minneapolis Advocacy Network
If you’re inspired to take action, join the YWCA Minneapolis Advocacy Network!
Add your name to the YWCA Minneapolis Advocacy Network to receive email updates and action alerts about how to contact your legislators around issues related to YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, girls and youth.