Advocate

Policy change can be big or small. It can be petitioning your school board to require healthier cafeteria meals. It can be urging your government to invest more in schools, make 211 funding permanent, or make more children eligible for health insurance. 

United Way MV amplifies individuals’ voices on important community issues. We provide a platform for people to take meaningful action that makes a difference. We leverage our wide network to make the action go further.

National Public Policy and Advocacy Work

United Way’s Policy Agenda for the United States 117th Congress helps fulfill our obligation to assist policy-makers in crafting the best possible governmental policies in the areas of health, education, and financial stability, while also tackling important policies that strengthen communities at large.

Our policy focuses on advancing access to health, education, and financial stability for every person in every community.

Advocacy Toolkit

Quick access to tips, links, and templates to help you use your voice to better our community. Coming soon!

Create Change: Effective advocacy tips for in-person meetings.

The Basics

You've secured a meeting with your local legislator! Now what? Here are some tips to get the best results from your meeting.

Be on time. End on time.
Respecting the legislator's time and schedule will ensure your meeting starts and ends well.

Be organized.
Know who is speaking on behalf of the group, who will start the conversation, and who is the best person to answer questions. 

Be well-informed.
Know your topic well. Be prepared to cite sources, data, and key points to make your case.

Dress appropriately.
Does your group have a dress code or branded apparel? This extra step will go a long way!

Introduce yourself.
Be sure to understand who you are meeting with, and they know who you are. Including titles or specialties to the topic will help showcase your expertise.

Share that you are a voter.
Politely make it known that you are a local voter. Be sure to know your voting district, ward, and area representatives.

Say "Thank You."
Before leaving, thank the representative for their time. Make sure you share your business cards or exchange contact information. Sending a follow-up thank you note or email can go a long way as well!

Download our sharable version of "Tips for In-Person Adcovacy Meetings." - COMING SOON!

FAQs

How do I find my local representatives?
Find your local Senator here.
Find your local Congress representative here.

What if you don't get a chance to see a legislator but are offered the opportunity to see a staff member instead?
Always accept a meeting with legislative staffers when they are offered. Legislators are busy and cannot always meet. Legislative staffers are principally responsible for placing issues on the legislator's radar.

What if you are on time and are told the legislator is running 20 minutes late, but you have an appointment with another legislator in 15 minutes?
This happens often. First, tell the staff person that you have an appointment with another legislator that is scheduled after your appointment with this legislator. Ask the staffer if it would be possible for you to meet the legislator at a later time.

A meeting does not have to take place in the legislator's office. You could offer to meet the legislator elsewhere: near the Legislative Chamber, near the room where their committee meeting will be held, etc. - wherever it is convenient for you and the legislator.

If this is not an option, make an appointment to see them when they return to the district, or write a letter indicating your attempts and then proceed to state your issues.

Finally, if you are part of a group, you could consider splitting up to cover both meetings at the same time. Above all, always be gracious.

If a legislator already supports your cause.
Acknowledge their continued support. Even if a legislator supports your cause, it does not guarantee their advocacy. This is a good time to reiterate the journey and importance of the cause. If they actively advocate for your cause, you can ask what other advocacy efforts might be helpful and if there is any additional information you can provide.

Download our sharable version of "FAQs for In-Person Adcovacy Meetings." - COMING SOON!

211 State Funding

Join United Way staff and board in our efforts! Ask your local state representatives to fund 211 in the NYS Budget.

  1. Identify your local NYS senate representatives: Find Your State Senator.
  2. Email your local NYS senate representatives using our easy-to-copy and paste email template.
  3. Ask others to get involved! Share this request with friends and family asking them to join us in requesting that 211 funding be included in the NYS budget.
Why is funding in the NYS budget crucial?

211 helps ALL New Yorkers get access to help when they need it. The 211 system saw a significant surge in activity last two years as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the state and nation. There was a 168% increase in 211 referrals last year. State funding is vital to keeping this crucial service available to everyone.

Historically, 211 has received support in NYS Budget funding. This financial support ensured 211 was there for so many New Yorkers who needed assistance over the last several months. This funding support in the new budget is important to ensure 211 will be there for our community in the future.