Colorado Association of School Boards

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Grassroots Advocacy Toolkits

Welcome to the Grassroots Advocacy Toolkits. You've made the first step in building relationships with your state and federal legislators. CASB provides these toolkits as a service to you, to help you make that critical connection. Start early! Building a relationship now will pay big dividends when you want to reach your representatives and senators during the legislative session.  Good luck! And, as always, contact Jane Urschel, CASB deputy executive director, with any questions.

Grassroots Lobbying Toolkit at the State Level – Ensure the Local Voice is Heard

It’s never too early to begin planning your advocacy plan for the upcoming legislative session. Legislators repeatedly remark that, while they appreciate and value the state-level lobbyists, they most value communication from the local level. They want to hear the voices of their constituents. That’s you. So, start early and stick to your plan.

The following toolkit focuses on lobbying from the local level to the state level. To access CASB’s federal advocacy toolkit, click here.

Laying the Foundation

First begin building your plan by understanding your constituency and building a relationship with your legislator. These two articles should get you on your way.

  • Advocacy and Your Legislator—A step process in creating an Individualized Lobbying Plan for your legislator.
  • Advocacy and Your Community—An introduction to engaging your community so you can learn your community’s competing community values that come into play in board decision-making.  You must know what your community wants for your schools and for the community so you’re able to advocate on their behalf.

Getting to Work

This action plan will help you organize your grassroots lobbying efforts. Use this action plan as a guide and reminder of what to do during various times of the year.

Grassroots Lobbying With Candidates During an Election Year

Perhaps your state representative or senator has been term limited out of office or is not running for re-election. This does not mean your grassroots efforts are on hold. Instead, it’s the ideal time to begin building a relationship with the person who will eventually become your legislator. Download this guide to grassroots lobbying with candidates.

Grassroots Lobbying at the Federal Level – Ensure the Local Voice is Heard

Washington, D.C. may be 1,500 miles away, but it’s still important for Colorado’s members of Congress to hear from you, the local voice of the community. Although Congress may seem like a foreign land, in the age of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), it’s particularly important for Colorado’s Congressional delegation to hear from local school boards. Local school boards are hit year after year with federal laws dictating how local schools are run. Even though NCLB has laudable goals, it is your job as a locally elected school boards to work with Colorado’s Congressional delegation to impact federal education policy in hopes of securing adequate federal funding, particularly with regard to special education, while also minimizing the federal government’s encroachment upon local education initiatives.

The following toolkit focuses on lobbying from the local level to the federal level. To access CASB’s state advocacy toolkit, click here.

Laying the Foundation

Both CASB and the National School Board Association (NSBA) have useful resources for becoming well-versed on federal education issues.

Getting to Work

The best way to impact Colorado’s Congressional delegation on education issues is to have regular meaningful interaction with members of Congress while they are at home in your district. Become knowledgeable on federal education issues, share your knowledge with other school board members and educate your Congressional representatives about the unique aspects of your school district and region.

To help you get started, use the following documents as a guide to lobbying Congress: