Advocacy How Tos


  • Porter's Principles. Every advocate can learn from the Hon. John E. Porter's tips for setting up a meeting with an elected official. Also includes important messages to get across in the meeting. 
  • Sample Letter to the Editor. Writing a letter to the editor is an effective way to make your voice heard.  

Plan what you are going to say

  • Write no more than three sentences about how research saves lives and money
  • Include just a few details or examples to support your statement
  • Use Research!America issue briefs as examples
  • Choose different examples for different audiences. For example, when presenting to someone that has a child with diabetes, use examples from the diabetes issue brief about how research helps save lives.

Work with government officials

  • Talk with the government relations staff at your organization, or professional groups to which you belong, to learn how you might work with them
  • Learn which state and federal officials are involved in research and related issues
  • Use online advocacy resources to learn how to contact elected officials and to access tools that can help, such as how to write a letter to a legislator
  • Invite your senators and your representative in Congress to visit your lab/clinical center to see how taxpayer dollars get spent in their state/district

Work with the media

  • Talk with your organization's media relations/communications office to learn how they can help you reach out to members of the media. Volunteer to be a spokesperson on your area of expertise.
  • Contact reporters who cover research and related issues and suggest new sources or story ideas they might consider
  • Write a letter to the editor expressing your viewpoint-positive or negative-of a story about research you read; be brief and use examples and poll data.

Say "thank you"

  • Thank officials for their actions that are supportive of research and science
  • Send a thank-you letter to your senators and your representative in Congress when you receive federal funding support. Mention that what you have in common is working in the public's interest
  • Thank reporters for unbiased coverage or explaining an issue well to the public

Keep Advocating

  • Successful advocacy happens over time; there are no overnight successes
  • Promote medical research regularly through your organization's newsletter/Web site
  • Take pride in being an advocate for health research -- as much pride as you take in being a researcher in the public's interest

Policy Contacts

We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America