Fely Curva, Ph.D.
Co-Chair, NAHPL Advocacy Committee
“Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn.
Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe.
But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.”
Advocacy is an all-year-long activity at the national, state, and local levels. State Legislatures set their calendars and some meet year-round, annually, or bi-annually. Local government, however, the closest to the constituents and where policy germinates never rest to meet the needs of their communities.
There are several types of advocacy strategies to consider depending on the needs of your organization (Source: Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, Advocacy 101):
• Decision-Maker Advocacy (State Legislature/Congress) – Where constituent expresses support for/against or concern about a public policy and is addressed directly to elected leaders.
• Community/Person to Person Advocacy – Where constituents inform and recruit friends, family, and professional relationships to join you in support of an important cause.
• Media Advocacy – Where individuals or constituents communicate their point of view through social media, print, TV, or radio to build awareness or movement on important issues.
The most effective and impactful advocacy is the Community/Person-to-Person Advocacy where individuals have access to elected community leaders. Storytelling can change lives, empower and cultivate leaders for your movement/cause, and foster communal understanding.
• Personal Stories are Powerful and Relatable!
• Hold the attention of the intended audience
• Trigger feelings and personalizes the impact of policy on people’s lives
• Are memorable and can motivate people to action
• Influence others and can change people’s mind
• Telling your Story….quick guide….
Storytelling strengthens connections between you and the elected official/audience. It is the most difficult form of advocacy but can leave lasting impressions on the intended audience.