promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being

Learn How to Advocate

Advocacy covers a range of activities which includes contact with people with influence on public policy and funding of those laws. Advocacy serves to educate lawmakers and policy-makers about issues. For ALDA, this means speaking out on behalf of our members, and asking our members to help in carrying out our mission.

Advocacy should not be confused with lobbying. Lobbying, as defined by the IRS, involves attempts to influence specific legislation at the local, state, or federal level. Direct lobbying includes in person meetings, telephone calls, letter writing, or emailing a lawmaker or their staff.

Prior to meeting with a public official or embarking on a grassroots effort, you'll find it helpful to review the following background materials, the overview of The Academy's advocacy program, and the step-by-step instructions for using the Grassroots Manager. The sessions below are on the The Academy's web site and allow members to follow along at their own pace. Additional webinars and tutorials are added throughout the year:

  • Be an Advocate. Connie Diekman, Med, RD, LD, FADA
  • Grassroots Manager. Grassroots Manager can help you identify your legislator. Viewers of this tutorial will learn in approximately five minutes how to dash off a write their representatives and senators in Washington, and use the tool to make connections in their states, too.
  • Advocacy: Make A Difference. The Academy Past-President Marty Yadrick provides an overview of The Academy's legislative advocacy, its scope and the role of members who participate in the The Academy grassroots network.
  • How to Plan a Successful Legislative Day. Many state affiliates plan an annual legislative day to meet state elected officials, learn about current political events in the state and increase the visibility of the profession

Additional Advocacy Resources

  • The Academy's Advocacy Guide A PDF Download of the document entitled The Academy Advocacy Guide. Food and Nutrition Matters: Effective Nutrition and Health Policy Begins with You!
  • One of the most important rules of communication is to know your audience and to clearly present your ideas in ways that target them specifically. Download a worksheet for developing effective messages.
  • Much misinformation exists concerning the definitions of lobbying, the amount of lobbying allowed and the complexity of complying with reporting requirements as they relate to non-profit organizations. In truth, both federal and state law are quite permissive and nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to become salient actors in the public policy process. 
  • Success in Advocacy A PDF Download with Tips for Gaining Political Influence, Meetings with Your Policymaker, Speaking at a Public Meeting, Sample Effective Messages.
  • Pubic Policy Panel Guidebook 2014 A PDF Download of the 2015 Grassroots Advocacy Guidebook!