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Finding The People Who Affect Your Issues

Once you have determined what you want to advocate for, it is time to find the people who affect your issues. Depending on your topic the people you need to target can vary greatly, but the central premise of your advocacy should be "Start Local and Move Out". Go through the following checklist:

  • Can the issue be taken up with those tasked with immediate response? Local Police and Fire Chiefs, Union Heads, School Superintendent,

  • Can the issues be addressed by a city or county official such as a community board or city council?

  • If the issue is in the jurisdiction of a particular governmental department, is there a local branch that you can communicate with?

  • Are there any interest groups that work on the subject that you can write to and be persuaded to partner and advocate with you.

  • Once you have made contact with local officials, can I find other officials to call attention to my issue such as Mayors, Congresspeople, state governors, Senators

By starting local you have the best chance of getting to someone with more time to hear what you have to say. This can also be a good starting point to hone your message and gain speed for your movement.

In many cases you will be advocating for a policy or systemic change that is regulated by government. This will be convenient to you because unlike the private sector, elected officials are answerable to the public. The difficulty comes in researching who has the power to help and strategizing practical action items for them to complete.

A starting place to tell who has a stake in an issue, is who responds when something is going wrong? Do the local police handle the matter, Park Services, the Small Business Administration, Army Corp of Engineers, FCC? With the help of google you should be able to research what county or state entity regulates some part of your issue.

When you find out who in your governmental structure tangibly impacts the policy you wish to advocate for or against, your objective turns to getting in contact with them. Every state and most counties have some sort of municipal government website that you can scrub for contact information.

If in the process you run into roadblocks and need to reach higher authorities from the city state and federal government you can use this link to find current office holders of prominent positions. It may not always be clear who you need to speak with about an issue, but there is no harm in calling up and asking.

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