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Advocacy Toolkit Tip Sheet

Creating Congressional Advocates for Adult Education and Literacy

You have unique knowledge about adult basic education and literacy issues in your community. Thus, your legislators and their aides depend on you for this information.

  • How do you convey this information?
  • How do you know each year that your legislators will support you?
  • How do you create Congressional advocates for adult education and literacy?

Step 1: Educate Yourself.

See Advocacy Basics and What You Can Legally Do to learn the legislative and advocacy processes and what this means for you. See Using Your Time Wisely to learn when your advocacy can be most effective. Throughout the Advocacy Clearinghouse and Toolkit you will see blue colored links. This blue color indicates a glossary term. Click on the link to learn its definition. Visit the Glossary to find the complete listing of terms.

Step 2: Build Allies.

Legislators want to hear how adult education programs benefit adult learners, businesses, the community, and the economy. Involve adult learners and other stakeholders in advocating on behalf of adult education and literacy. See Who You Involve for ideas on building allies.

Step 3: Learn About Your Legislators.

Capture your legislators’ attention by “hooking” adult education and literacy to their issues. On what committees do they serve? What are their positions on national issues? What are their priorities? See What to Say and How to learn about messaging, creating effective hooks, making the Ask, and cinching commitments.

Step 4: Establish and Maintain Relationships.

You should develop relationships with all your representatives.  In addition, see Contacting Legislators to learn about targeting legislators in positions of authority over adult education laws and funding: who you should contact and why. Find tips for calling, writing, and meeting with your legislator and hosting a visit.

Step 5: Plan for the Future.

Sometimes we have a lot of educating to do both within our communities and with our legislators before our advocacy can be effective. See Advocacy Strategies to learn what activities other advocates do. See Creating Responsive Networks to learn how to build local advocacy networks and evaluate advocacy campaigns.


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