After selecting the election that you intend to get involved in, it is important to truly understand the terrain. Communities often have unique problems and circumstances, and knowing some of these intricacies will help you navigate the political landscape throughout the campaign. It may also help you identify themes that resonate within the community to further develop during the campaign.
If you have the resources, conduct polls or surveys to register voter opinions on a variety of subjects, including afterschool. Using the surveys and opinion research, make the case that public concern for afterschool is among the top issues on voters’ minds. This can serve as the “meat” of your campaign.
Consider having the youth in your program conduct their own poll with questions for their fellow students as well as parents and community members. Use this sample poll to get started.
If you do not have the resources to conduct polls or voter surveys, you may be able to use existing data to make your point or work with an organization already conducting a poll for this election. Do not reinvent the wheel! Review existing research and polls on afterschool and collate the data to release “new” results from which to base your talking points. If an organization is conducting a poll, discuss adding afterschool-related questions to their poll.
Finally, it may be helpful to get feedback from high-level supporters outside your community. Surveying out-of-state advocates and colleagues may give you a better sense of how to present the campaign and what issues might work. Use these people and organizations as resources to help you frame the debate in your community. They may have suggestions of what has worked in their respective states.
|Making Afterschool an Election Issue||Reaching Policy Makers|
|Sample Script for Calling Congress||Sample Script for Calling the White House|
|Sample Letter to the President||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organizing a Site Visit|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Main||Election and Lobbying Guidelines|
|Policy Making Basics||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Do's and Don'ts|
|Sample Letter from 21st CCLC or Other Programs||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Call, Write or Fax Congress and the President|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organize a Letter Writing Campaign||Site Visit Sample Thank You Letter|
|Sample Letter from a Parent|