Tips For Advocacy

Advocacy begins with YOU! How can you be active in advocating for NASW, social workers, and those we serve?

Visit your legislator

  • Make an appointment.

  • Be prepared and on time!

  • Begin with a warm introduction.

  • Briefly and concisely share your experiences, first-hand knowledge of the need for legislation about your reason for your visit.

  • Leave written materials if possible, and offer to provide more information if requested.

  • Leave on a positive note, keeping the door open for future contact.

Call your legislator

  • Give your name and address.

  • Speak directly to the senator or delegate, if possible.

  • Be brief and concise; focus on the issue. Reference a bill number, if known.

  • Indicate your position and why.

  • Be sure your message is understood; answer questions as needed.

Write your legislator

  • Use correct form of address. Elected officials are addressed: The Honorable (full name)

  • Focus on ONE issue. Briefly identify your interest in the issue and describe your experiences. Use a bill number, if known.

  • Be positive and constructive.

  • Ask questions that require a response.

  • Enclose informational materials, if any pertain to the issue.

  • Follow up with a thank you letter or follow up information when legislator responds.

Essentials to lobbying your legislator

  • Find out committee and subcommittee assignments of your senator and delegate.

  • Visits are better than letters, but when writing, send personal letters - form letters do not get the legislator’s attention.

  • Share your experiences and reasons for concern.

  • Remember, your experiences are special. Be positive, friendly, and personal.

  • Be persistent. It takes time and effort to achieve change. Before the General Assembly Session, visit your senator or delegate at their home office.

  • Identify the legislative priorities of NASWVA.

  • Motivate your friends and family to make contact with their senator and delegate.

During the General Assembly Session

  • Identify legislation in which you are interested. Legislation that is supported by NASWVA will be shared with our members. Please check the website and social media regularly for updates.

  • Use the Internet. The internet provides a wealth of information such as bill tracking and all kinds of updates as if you were in Richmond at the capital yourself.

  • Follow the legislation through action of subcommittee and committee, making sure to contact your senator or delegate at each step of the journey.

  • Telephone contact is often necessary when legislation is moving fast.

  • Attend subcommittee and committee meetings or check the state website for updates on legislation.

  • When legislation reaches the floor, call your senator or delegate.

After the General Assembly Session

  • Write letters of appreciation to those who were helpful to you and supported your issues as well as the issues of NASWVA.

Important Websites

contact us

National Association of Social Workers - Virginia Chapter

4860 Cox Road, Suite 200 Glen Allen, VA 23060 

804.204.1339