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Advocacy - What is it?

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Advocacy - Home Find Your Legislator




Advocacy is simply trying to influence others who provide services or make policies that affect our lives. By participating in advocacy you move from a powerless bystander to a person empowered and in control of the quality of your life.
  • Personal advocacy: Helping yourself or others understand their choices and/or get services. Sharing ideas at a support group, accompanying someone to an appointment or meeting with a service provider or others to help represent their needs.
  • Public advocacy: Activities that educate the general public to gain understanding. Speaking to a club, church or other organization, writing a letter to the editor or submitting an article, posting a blog.
  • Legislative advocacy: Working to influence legislation on a local, state or national level. It is easier than you think. All it takes is a call, email, letter or meeting with your elected representative.

Advocacy Makes a Difference - You Can Make a Difference

Many of us think that ordinary individuals can't make a difference. It takes just one person to initiate change. In this era of every complex issue being reduced to "sound bites" it's more important than ever to share your expertise and experiences - to share your story.

No one person can understand every issue, but collectively if we share our expertise, interests, passions and life experiences, we will all make better choices. This is especially important for those who represent others, such as elected officials and other policy makers.

All too often we say someone else will speak up.

We are the "someone else", if we don't step up, important information may never be shared, understanding won't happen and poor decisions may be made affecting individuals and communities.




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Advocacy Toolkits

  • Autism Speaks Advocacy Toolkit
    Toolkit for both individuals on the Autism spectrum and their families to help them develop and use advocacy skills to assure their best possible life.

  • Disability Advocates Wisconsin Network (DAWN)
    Grassroots organization that focuses on the most important issues affecting all people with disabilities, their families, friends, and service providers. Practical advocacy tools to put into action for individuals and organizations.

  • Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources GWAAR
    Advocacy page for GWAAR, a support agency for organizations that serve adults age 60 and older. Explains advocacy and provides links to sheets with easy to follow tips on ways to reach out to your legislator and how to make your message more effective.

  • NCOA Advocacy Toolkit
    Advocacy Toolkit to help you make you4r voice heard! The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit organization that for more than 65 years has made improving the lives of older adults their passion and mission. Advocacy is a big part of their mission.
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