In this part of the Year of Service, we want you to embrace your role as an advocate for epilepsy. This is a great opportunity to engage with your local, state and federal officials to relay information about epilepsy, as well as tell them why they should help the epilepsy community. Below are some tips to guide you as you #Dareto Advocate.
Stay Informed Through the ‘Speak Up! Speak Out!’ Advocacy Network
As a member of our Speak Up, Speak Out! network, you already receive our monthly newsletter. This newsletter supplies the latest state and federal policy as well as advocacy updates that makes it easy to engage in the policy process, while keeping track of what the Epilepsy Foundation is doing on the state and federal level. Encourage your friends and family to sign up for the Speak Up, Speak Out! network at bit.ly/EF-SUSO
Petition for Support
Ask family, friends, co-workers and other members of your community to sign onto a petition that asks government officials to implement policy changes that can help people living with epilepsy. Use social media and email to spread your petition electronically.
Meet with your Congressional Representatives
Schedule an appointment with your members of Congress at home in your district and educate them about epilepsy. August is a great time to meet with your members as they are home in their districts/states for most of the month.
Learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation’s policy priorities at advocacy.epilepsy.com/policy-priorities.
Find the contact information for your elected officials at: advocacy.epilepsy.com/Elected.
Don’t forget to tell them your own personal story and why this mission is so important to you as well as others who live with epilepsy.
Want to schedule an appointment with your elected officials? Here's how to get started:
- Call/email the scheduler. If you don’t have the scheduler’s direct contact information, reach out to the member’s office and ask for the scheduler. You may find the member’s contact information at: advocacy.epilepsy.com/Elected
- Let the scheduler know that you are a constituent
- Request a meeting with the elected official. If he/she is not available, ask to meet with a legislative assistant or staffer who focuses on health issues.
- Establish a purpose for the meeting.
Next, be prepared for your appointment with an elected official:
- Do research and know your facts. Read through our policy priorities at the Epilepsy Foundation to find relevant and important statistics and facts about epilepsy. You may find this information at: advocacy.epilepsy.com/policy-priorities.
- Be comfortable with telling your personal story about epilepsy. If you are not confident, then try writing down some key points to help you ahead of time.
Appointment scheduled? We're not finished yet! On the day of your meeting...
- Be prepared, dress up for the part, and be punctual. Try to be early if possible.
- Relax and be sure to tell your story in order to establish a personal connection.
- Do not be afraid if you do not know the answer to a question. That is okay. You may bring up the question later to your local affiliate or the national office.
- Thank them for their time and ask for a photo.
Meet with your Local and State Representatives
You may also contact your Governor or state officials. Contact your local Epilepsy Foundation affiliate in order to find out more about your state’s legislative issues involving epilepsy.
Find Other, Creative Ways to Reach Your Representatives
Try contacting your officials through different forms of communication, such as letters, emails, tweets or Facebook. You may also invite them to join a group or attend an event!
Don’t Forget-- Be In Contact with Us!
Let us know at the Epilepsy Foundation if you meet or contact your elected officials so we may follow up with them. Don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions. Remember, your participation in the Year of Service is about more than just speaking up for yourself; it’s about speaking out on behalf of the entire epilepsy community. You know the condition better than anyone; you live with it.
Thank you again for all you have done in your participation in the Year of Service so far, and keep up the great work!