Elections season represents an unparalleled opportunity to get afterschool on the radar of policy makers and the public in a visible and meaningful way. During Presidential election cycles in particular, voters’ concerns are brought to the forefront of the public debate and discussed widely in the media. It is the voices of people like you, in local communities, that drive candidates' campaigns. If you are facing an election in your community, now is the time to tell the candidates: I support afterschool, and I vote! We have the power to make afterschool a key issue in campaigns - from the presidential to congressional to local elections.
If you’re not sure what sorts of activities you’re allowed to engage in as a non-profit organization view our Election and Lobbying Rules for Non Profit Organizations kits.
Here are some simple steps you can take and materials you can use to make candidates value afterschool as much as you do:
2. Educate the Candidates. Mail or email the Afterschool Candidate Kit to candidates and their advisors. Include this sample letter telling candidates why you support afterschool and why it is an issue that influences your vote. Research the candidates: their background, family and where they stand on the issues. For example, does the candidate have children that would benefit from an afterschool program? Is the candidate a former athlete who might identify with a program that offers opportunities for kids to participate in sports and physical activities?
3. Afterschool for All Petition. Collect signatures and send it to candidates to demonstrate community, parent or student support for afterschool programs. (Don't forget to send us a copy!) Draft a cover letter asking the candidate to join you in pledging support for universal afterschool; include a sign-up form in your packet.
4. Ask candidates about their position on afterschool. Write or call candidates and ask candidates these questions to determine their level of support for afterschool and how it fits into their agenda. Share the answers with your membership and your community. Or, attend a campaign event and ask the candidate in public during the Q and A session.
5. Convene a Candidate Forum. Bring local candidates together to talk about issues you're interested in.
7. Make it educational! Check out some of these sites about youth in action for ideas and inspiration.
8. With all of the transitions happening in national, state and local governments we have an opportune moment to make sure that afterschool is on the mind of our policy makers. For some tips and tools on how to make the case for afterschool look at our Transition Ideas for Afterschool Leaders.
|Making Afterschool an Election Issue||Reaching Policy Makers|
|Sample Script for Calling Congress||Sample Script for Calling the White House|
|Sample Letter to the President||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organizing a Site Visit|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Main||Election and Lobbying Guidelines|
|Policy Making Basics||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Do's and Don'ts|
|Sample Letter from 21st CCLC or Other Programs||Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Call, Write or Fax Congress and the President|
|Building Relationships with Policy Makers - Organize a Letter Writing Campaign||Site Visit Sample Thank You Letter|
|Sample Letter from a Parent|