Beyond Election 2016: Opportunities for Advocacy Success

Regardless of the outcome, this year’s election was hard on our country. There are a number of unknowns concerning what the results at the federal, state, and local levels will mean for the interests of Goodwill¬ģ, the charitable sector, and those we serve.

What we do know is that there is an abundance of opportunity.  Among the readers of this blog are local Goodwill employees including their leaders, shoppers, donors, program participants, funders, partners, volunteers, and policymakers.  Many of you receive this blog via email because of your interest in government affairs or your position as an advocate for Goodwill and the people who receive vital services.   No matter what your affiliation is to the mission of Goodwill, you can create opportunities to strengthen our public policy influence.

Building Relationships

There are a number of newly elected lawmakers who will be taking office for the first time in January.  Now is the time to forge relationships.  Consider sending a welcome letter noting the issues of concern and the things you look forward to working on together.  If you work for a Goodwill, invite the lawmaker and staff to visit your agency to see the mission in action.

Pay attention to the committees which have jurisdiction over the issues that you care most about.  Many committees at the state and federal level may have new leadership or new members.  This is an opportunity to educate and serve as a resource.

Leveraging Data

Policymakers of late have placed an increase emphasis on data and evidence-based practices when considering funding and making changes to particular programs.  Local Goodwill organizations serve as incubators of innovation in communities all over the country.  Take advantage of the opportunity to leverage data and results to communicate impact.

Policy Priorities

Congress and the administration will have their priority issues which they will try to advance through the process.  Goodwill Industries International staff is working on a policy agenda to frame the issues we will focus on. Now is the time for you to become an informed advocate.  Learn about the issues that you are passionate about.

Helping to Bridge the Divide

Some pundits have viewed this election as the rejection election based on the motivations of many who cast their vote in support of change or against what they view as the status quo of government.  Many people feel that the government has failed them.  They may have been out of work or their communities have fallen apart and they are in despair.  No one person in any office is going to be able to address the needs of these individuals.  We need to provide solutions together.  Local Goodwill organizations have a role to play as a partner, a convener, a service provider, and an employer to provide opportunities for individuals who feel they have none.

Use the comments section to weigh in and share what you think should be a priority issue for Goodwill.