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What is Advocacy?

The act or process of supporting a cause or proposal (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

What are the Key components?

  • Know the facts: To gain and maintain credibility, it is critical that you have the all of the facts on both sides of any issue. Having this information at your finger-tips will help you in conversations with government officials, the media, other advocates, and the general public.
  • Use the facts: Any position you take should be grounded in the facts. It is often helpful to put your facts into one-pagers that you can distribute.
  • Have clear and concise message: Government officials, the press and the general public do not have time for long-winded conversations or documents—you need to get to your point quickly and concisely. And remember to watch out for the jargon and acronyms used in different fields—you want everyone to understand the issues you are raising.
  • Nurture relationships and work collaboratively: Advocacy is a joint venture- you need to find your allies and work with them. Your chances of success are much greater when there are large numbers of organizations and people on your side. Whenever possible, be sure you and your allies have consistent data and the same messages.
  • Engage the public: Use the media, social media, petitions, letters, e-mails and other grassroots strategies to engage as many New Yorkers as you can. Remember numbers speak loudly to elected officials!
  • Make your voice heard!Advocacy is not the place for being shy. Make sure you spread the word—through meetings with government officials, press conferences, letters, petitions, rallies, social media, op-eds and phone calls. 
  •  Politeness counts.  Establishing a long-term positive relationship is an important goal during your visits or calls. 
  • Say thank you: Remember that everyone is busy and their time is valuable. Keep your meetings short and always say thank you afterwards. Sending a hand written "Thank You" is a great way to begin building relationships with your legislators.
  • Remember: When your advocacy is a success, always thank everyone who helped you achieve your victory!


"Don't be intimidated" by policy makers and legislators, they work for us, and are ready to listen   to parents who are willing to share their stories. The goal is to educate our policy makers and legislators and provide them with the information they need to make right, wise choices regarding substance abuse treatment, education, legislation, policy and prevention.  Our voices can be heard at the policy making tables and in the legislature." --Sharon LeGore

Quick review some tips on what to do when contacting your legislator:

  • Be courteous
  • Have facts to support your statement
  • When calling or visiting the legislator’s office develop a relationship with the staff also.
  • Make sure you put your contact information in every letter.


Need assistance on finding your local legislator? Click on the links provided below.


State Representative

State Senator


Local Representative

Local Senator