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Advocacy How-To’s

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.  
  • 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/website. 

Take pride in being an advocate for health research – as much pride as you take in being a researcher in the public’s interest.