Student Advocacy Day Work Plan
The following work plan has been prepared as a guide to help you plan your state's advocacy day.
Four Months in Advance
Three Months in Advance
Determine Advocacy Day Date and Time
- Review the legislative calendar to be sure the legislators are in session at the Capitol; pick a date that is early enough in the session that there is still time for the legislators to incorporate your ideas/solutions into their work
- Check for any university conflicts (e.g., exams)
- Check for any other major events (e.g., football games)
- Ensure hotel availability, if applicable (e.g., advocates traveling long distances)
- Estimate the number of people that might attend
Identify a Location and Secure a Meeting Room
- You will need a room to hold the briefing and to work as a base for participants to gather in. It is preferable to see if you can secure a room in the Capitol or legislative office buildings so everything is centrally organized and is located in an appropriate atmosphere. This also creates an opportunity for legislators to stop in and say "hello" or even be part of the briefing agenda. Check to be sure you are allowed to provide food (lunch/breakfast) in the room. Your estimate of the number of participants may dictate what rooms will accommodate the group; be sure to coordinate and register with any event planning staff at the state house to do this; your lobbyist may also be able to help facilitate this.
- If a legislative office building room is not available, nearby hotels can be a great resource for a room to gather in and host the briefing.
Develop Communications and Recruit Participants
- Determine an RSVP deadline and be sure to include it in all communications. Your RSVP deadline should be at least one month prior to the advocacy day.
- Create "Save the Date" announcements, posters, flyers, and/or postcards must be created and sent early to help recruit participants to your advocacy day. Do this early and often so members can plan to take off work and students can make arrangements to be excused from class.
- Use logos and themes to draw recruits in and tie together your information.
- Send a letter for Communications and Science Disorders (CSD) program administrators. Be sure to follow-up on letters by contacting CSD program administrators about participating and releasing students for that day.
Two Months in Advance
It is helpful to let the state legislators know you are coming on a certain day; this can be handled in one of two ways:
- You can create promotional/announcement materials, such as postcards or posters to announce your advocacy day
- You can have your participants (members/students) make appointments with their legislators via phone or e-mail; to accomplish this you must:
- Supply participants with legislator contact information and scripts
- E-mail reminders to make appointments
Plan Advocacy Day Briefing
- Create an agenda
- Invite energizing speakers; could include a legislator
- Plan a roleplaying script
- Have a review of the factual information on issues; briefing
Prepare Briefing Packets
- Talking Points on the issues
- Leave Behinds—brochures/summary of the issue and solutions that can be left with the legislator following your visit
- FAQs—which can be sent out ahead
- Legislative directory for names and room numbers
- Capitol and legislative office building complex maps; information on parking
- Supply blank state association logo paper for notes to legislators unavailable at visit
- Visit report
- Design buttons, event t-shirts, or other apparel/items to identify the group and make them stand out in the busy Capitol, if resources allow
One Month in Advance
Students, in particular, may need assistance with transportation to and from the Capitol. You may wish to:
- Contract for a bus or van
- Provide stipends for mileage reimbursement for carpooling
- Be sure to provide parking information for all participants
Food and Drinks
- As resources allow, plan to feed your participants a light breakfast of box lunches depending on the time of the day and based upon the number of RSVPs; depending on timing, you may wish to supply:
- For a morning meeting, a light breakfast (e.g., coffee and bagels) as participants register for the briefing, or
- If a later arrival, a lunch, provided between or after visits with the legislators may be necessary. This could be as simple as box lunches or pizza or as elaborate as time and budget allow.
- If resources and time allows, you may wish to have a closing event to draw everyone back to talk about their experiences and turn in their evaluation forms; this can include food and drink as desired.
- Copy, collate, and produce entire packets to be handed out at the briefing based on RSVP numbers
- If there is a particular bill/issue to advocate, plan to send out the issue brief in advance in addition to repeating it in the packet. FAQ's, maps, and appointment scripts may also go out in advance and be repeated in the packet
Target Date: Advocacy Day!
Briefing and Visits
- Day will start with everyone arriving at designated location and registering to enter the briefing room, receiving packet, and any identifying giveaways you may have chosen to provide (e.g., buttons, t-shirts)
- Coffee/breakfast, mingling
- Legislator visits
- Wrap up, early visit reports
- Evaluations dropped off or e-mailed later
- Social event, if desired and time and resources allow
Two Weeks After Lobby Day
- E-mail or mail thank you notes to the legislators
- Write an article for your Web site/newsletter; include pictures
- Post experience on Facebook or Twitter, if possible
- Collect final reports on visits
- Submit final evaluation and budget report to ASHA (required for states participating in ASHA's stipend agreement program)