Grassroots advocacy is the systematic effort to affect public policy by influencing the views of policy-makers whether in a state legislature, city council. government agency, or anywhere decisions are made that affect citizens and businesses. Grassroots advocacy is nothing more than the organized and intensive exercise of a citizen’s constitutional right to petition the government. In fact, grassroots advocacy makes an important contribution to effective and responsive government by making vital information available to public officials who cannot possibly know the full impact of every law and regulation that comes before them.
It is crucial to remember that all legislators—on the federal, state, and local levels—are politicians whose continued success depends on their ability to satisfy voting constituents. Re-election, recognition, and status are powerful motivators. Effective grassroots advocacy can wield as much influence on these outcomes as the biggest corporation or trade association.
LeadingAge Illinois has developed a Guide to Grassroots Advocacy. This manual focuses on legislative grassroots advocacy directed primarily at the Illinois General Assembly. However, the manual also includes a section on the importance of grassroots advocacy and its influence on federal legislators in Congress. The principles of legislative grassroots advocacy described in this report can be applied to grassroots advocacy at all levels of legislative and governmental decision-making.
To get involved in our Grassroots Advocacy program contact Kirk Riva or Jason Speaks in Springfield at 217.789.1677.