How to Advocate

Advocacy versus Lobbying

Advocacy covers a range of activities which includes contact with people with influence on public policy and funding of those laws. Advocacy serves to educate lawmakers and policy-makers about issues. For the Washington State Academy, this means speaking out on behalf of our members, and asking our members to help in carrying out our mission.

Advocacy should not be confused with lobbying. Lobbying, as defined by the IRS, involves attempts to influence specific legislation at the local, state, or federal level. Direct lobbying includes in person meetings, telephone calls, letter writing, or emailing a lawmaker or their staff.

The Washington State Academy both advocates and lobbies for policies that benefit our members and the health of all Washingtonians. Advocacy and training people to be advocates is a central part of what the Washington State Academy does.

Ways to Get Involved

1.    Stay informed of the issues – you are the nutrition expert!
2.    Read policy articles in the Washington State Academy newsletter
    a.    Get informed on the nutrition policies being discussed on local, state, and national levels
3.    Read your local paper and write letters to the editor
    a.    Stay aware of current health issues in your state and nationally by reading a major
        metropolitan newspaper daily
4.    Know your local officials and the issues by participating in
    a.    local health fairs
    b.    town hall meetings
    c.    local board of health meetings
    d.    community emergency preparedness activities
    e.    Write to and call your policy makers
    f.     Go to the state capital and meet your representatives
5.    Position the RD as the expert
    a.    Find ways to work with business groups and companies to advise them of the
    values of sound food, nutrition, and health habits
    b.    Testify at local hearings – tell them that you are an RD and offer to be a resource for information on nutrition issue
6.    Donate to ANDPAC

Here are some tips for being prepared as a Grassroots Nutrition Advocate:

Childrens Alliance provides some wonderful resources:

Nonprofit Guide to Lobbying

Developing Effective Messages

Tips for Meeting with Legislators in Olympia