- Look for a partner
A partner is another organization that will help you do your work. A partner can be a coalition of organizations who have joined together to work on a particular issue. Or a partner can be another advocacy organization who shares your commitment and values. This work is hard. Partners can be invaluable in helping you to develop educational materials, do research on the issues, help organize events and be a sounding board for your own work.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as you look for partners. What expertise/report do you bring to the issue? How could you help other partners? Where are your skills weak? What help do you want?
Identify partner organizations. Some partners or allies are easily found. Many groups have had long working relationship with UU Churches, such as local interfaith groups. There is a natural affinity between UUs and many secular progressive groups. Identifying partner organizations is also an opportunity to work with non-traditional groups. You can find allies by talking to your legislators. Ask them which groups are working similar issues and which organizations are well respected among legislators. Attend meetings; listen to see who is active and what kind of work they do. Join mail lists so that you become familiar with the players and issues.
The UUA and the UUSC are also great resources. A list all of the UUA partner organizations can be found at UUA Related and Affiliate Organizations. Check to see if any of these have local chapters in your state. Also look at UUSC’s Recent Updates page for the latest activities of their program partners.
- Know how your state works
If you are not familiar with the formal and informal processes get a good mentor to help you through your first legislative session or find a volunteer to take the initial leadership role.
- Build an advocacy plan
- Establish goals – be sensitive to the need for compromise during the legislative cycle
- Develop your message/campaign name
- Prepare/obtain educational materials
- Identify strategies where you can be effective such as giving testimony, signing postcards, making calls, writing letters to the editor, registering voters, writing press releases, or maintaining databases.
- Identify potential legislators/respected leaders who will support this program. Contact them for ideas about making a difference
- Recruit and organize your volunteers
- Assess communication
Assess the quality of your communication tools. A campaign requires the ability to reach your supporters quickly. Consider purchasing an email program, as this can be an effective tool during a campaign. Two programs to consider are Contact Contact and Vertical Response
- Evaluate your work
At the end hopefully we are celebrating our accomplishments. Regardless of the outcomes, assess what you did well and what did not work.