Anyone who has ever planned an event before is probably reminded of the Wizard of Oz quote, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” The Goodwill Industries International’s (GII) public policy team is in the midst of planning our annual advocacy event, which includes a day on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers and staff. For our public advocates including shoppers, donors, people who have received services, and other Goodwill stakeholders – the event also includes a Virtual Advocacy Day.
So what’s behind the curtain when planning an Advocacy Event? First is picking the right dates. Congress isn’t always in session and their calendar for taking recess may not be out by the time that hotel contracts need to be secured. We’re lucky that Congress will be in Washington, DC, when advocates hit the Hill on April 12!
Next, we implement and promote our Advocacy Awards program. Upon reviewing nominations from local Goodwills, a committee of the GII board of directors approves winners of the GII Advocacy Award (given to a Goodwill employee who has been an outstanding advocate) and the GII Policymaker Award (given to lawmakers who have been champions for Goodwill).
The team sets participation goals to ensure a broad amount of participation in the event. Local Goodwill leadership members are targeted, in addition to employees, board members and program participants. Having diverse representation across states allows us to meet with lawmakers. We conduct a ton of promotion in order to reach our goals, and are halfway there!
Finally, the team sets the policy priorities that advocates will discuss while they are on the Hill. Generally the list of issues is pulled from the GII public policy priorities. The ultimate goal is for lawmakers and staff to learn about Goodwill and how our advocates can be a valuable resource as they make decisions that affect our organization and the livelihood of the people we serve.
The key indicator of a successful event is that lawmakers and staff will be well versed on the “great and powerful” Goodwill. You play a role as well. Sign up for GII’s Legislative Action Center to receive updates from the team and information on how you can participate in our virtual advocacy day.