Whether you are new to grassroots advocacy or an “old hand,” we hope this guide will provide you with all the tools and advice you need to make your voice heard. The strategies in this section are the building blocks of most grassroots campaigns. Combined with the passion and experience you bring, these how-to guides, samples, and background fact sheets will help you become a powerful force in the fight for quality cancer care.
Advocacy From Home
You don’t need an action alert to contact your legislator. If you feel strongly about an issue, you can contact him or her yourself. Letters, e-mails, and telephone calls are all important ways to inform your legislator about an issue and your position on it. What’s more, public officials pay close attention to communication from their constituents, so making your opinions known is the best way to sway his or her vote.
NCCS focuses on federal-level advocacy – that means advocacy at the national level. Be aware, it is also possible to advocate at your state level and your local level. Sometimes, it may also be necessary to communicate with government agencies that affect quality cancer care. You can identify your senators and representative by visiting the Senate and House websites and typing in your zip code.
Once you’ve become comfortable taking action from home, you may be ready to move out into your community.
Advocacy work in your own community may include recruiting others to join the campaign, perhaps by organizing a letter-writing event or staffing a table at a local fair or fundraiser. You may want to attend or even plan an event in your town, like a town meeting with your district representatives, or a panel discussion with survivors, policymakers, and physicians at your local hospital or community center. Or you may want to organize a visit with your senator or representative in the district office.
It’s fun, it’s effective, and you can make a huge difference.
So you’ve caught the advocacy bug and want to do more? We’re ready for you! Our advocates have joined us in Washington, D.C. for visits to legislators on Capitol Hill, rallies such as our 1998 March – in which thousands of cancer survivors and supporters rallied on the National Mall to end cancer – and to provide testimony before Hill staffers and Congressional committees.
We couldn’t have achieved any of these amazing events without advocates like you.