Get Engaged in Advocacy: What You Can Do

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