Useful Advocacy Tools

The voice of the entire disability community is needed to have a true impact on the decisions being made about disability services.

Whether you are an individual with a disability, a family member or friend of someone with a disability, or a professional in the disability community, use these resources to identify your legislators and share your story with them about the importance of disability services.


“How to” Guidebook for students and first time voters

With election time right around the corner, the pressure is on for anyone who is eligible to vote. Unfortunately, learning the ins and outs of voting is not something we are taught in school and many lack the knowledge up front on how to vote – thus scaring them off and possibly refusing to vote at all from lack of understanding.

The Community for Accredited Online Schools have recognized this and are in full support of anyone wanting to cast their vote. We have created a comprehensive “how-to” guidebook with an objective standpoint for students and first time voters to ease the stress of making this important decision. Inside the guidebook you will find voters rights and rules, voting facts versus myth, what to find on the ballot – and much more. Check out the guide in full detail here:

General Advocacy Tools

Who Represents me in the MN State Legislature?

– Video: “What to say when meeting with your legislator” (courtesy of MOFAS)

Tips for meeting with your legislator – how to tell personal story (printable document)

Identifying your two state legislators and their contact information (printable document)

Tips for testifying at a hearing (printable document)

Partners in Making Your Case – This is an online self-study course designed by Partners in Policymaking ® to help people advocate for positive changes in public policies that impact people with disabilities and their families. It is designed for self-advocates; parents and family members of children and adults with disabilities; direct care workers; service providers; and professionals working in fields related to disability services. Partners in Making Your Case teaches the critical skills you need to be an effective advocate.

Telling Your Story iPad application – “Telling Your Story” is a free tool that persons with disabilities, family members, and other advocates can use to compose and practice the personal story they’ll present to elected public officials or other policymakers at all levels of government when seeking policy changes or increasing awareness about disability issues. The app guides users through the steps, from introducing yourself to identifying the specific issue to the best methods for presenting a compelling personal story. After entering the text of their story, an audio recording feature allows the user to rehearse their story. Users can also select and preview a photo they may wish to include.


Organizational Advocacy Tools

It is important to keep in mind that 501(c)(3)s are subject to certain legal regulations within the area of grassroots advocacy and election activities.

The MN Participation Project, an initiative of the MN Council of Nonprofits, has a number of resources on their website including a section labeled 501(c)(3) rules, an excellent collection of publications outlining the legal guidelines 501(c)(3)s are subject to within the area of grassroots advocacy and election activities.

In addition, the nonprofit voter engagement network (NVEN) provides a great deal of information to help nonprofits become (and stay!) involved in grassroots activities.


Advocacy Opportunities

Consider becoming involved in advocacy projects by volunteering to serve on various state boards, councils, commissions and committees. The State of Minnesota offers many such opportunities. Each month the Office of the Secretary of State releases vacancy announcements for various state boards, councils, commissions, and committees. For a list of current vacancies and application information visit the Secretary of State webite.

Check the website for your city or county for similar opportunities at the local level.