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A Citizen’s Guide

to Advocacy
In creating this handbook, we are deeply indebted to our colleagues in World Vision’s nearly
100 offices around the world who work daily to directly serve the needs of the poor and facilitate
local advocacy efforts. We are also grateful to the donors and advocates who share the mission Dear Friend,
of World Vision to serve the poor.
Thank you for your interest in joining World Vision as an advocate for the poor and
It is our hope and prayer that the tools outlined in this book will support a movement that will
help change the conditions of those living with extreme poverty, disease, and exploitation—and oppressed.
that the lives of American communities will be transformed in pursuing this end.
Scripture calls to us: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of
Handbook author: Jennifer A. Goodson
Handbook editors: Rory Anderson, Corryne Deliberto, Kristie Dokes, Serge Duss, Ben Irwin,
all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy”
Craig Jaggers, Amber Johnson, Joseph Mettimano, Joan Mussa, Amy Parodi, Shawna Templeton, (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV).
Sheryl Watkins, and Robert Zachritz
As Christians and Americans, we enjoy great freedom and effectiveness in our ability to
influence government policy, legislation, U.S. foreign aid, and public opinion. By partnering
with World Vision’s advocacy program, you will have opportunities to make a meaning-
ful impact on a range of important issues. From the AIDS epidemic to child exploitation,
children need you to advocate for their special needs and protection.

This handbook provides the basic tools and training you will need to get started. Also,
when you visit our advocacy Web site,, you’ll have access to briefings
on specific issues, updates, and online advocacy opportunities.

Whether you are doing this on your own or with your church, school, place of work, or
community organization, I am sure you will find your advocacy efforts on behalf of children
to be a rewarding experience.

Thank you for partnering with us in this exciting and urgent work.

God bless you,

Joseph Mettimano
Vice President, Advocacy
World Vision U.S.
Table of Contents

Introduction 6

Our Vision 7

Advocacy 8

Issues Facing the World’s Poor 10

Sending a Message to Congress 16

Tips for Media Coverage 22

Online Social Networking 27

Talk Radio Stations 27

Involving Your Community and Church 28

Involving Your Social Networks 31

Involving Your College or University 32

Advocacy and the Arts 33

Advocacy and Film 34

Advocacy and Children 35

Advocacy and Athletes 36

A Kenyan boy holds a World Vision sign encouraging

care for AIDS-affected people. Advocacy begins at
Making Change a Reality 37
the local level and gains momentum as we all work
together to bring about change. Notes 38
© 2006 Elimasia Mngumi/World Vision
Can you imagine a world where political leaders actively address the needs of the
world’s poor? Where citizens and elected officials work together to achieve change
on behalf of the most underrepresented populations around the globe?

You can play an important role in making this a reality.

You can be a voice for millions who are impacted by poverty, war, and unjust policies
around the world. You can take meaningful action to influence public officials and
help correct these problems.

Our hope is that this handbook will help you identify where and how you can make
the greatest difference. It provides an introduction to World Vision’s advocacy work
and offers practical resources you can use to take meaningful action as an advocate
on behalf of the world’s poor and oppressed.
© 2006 Jon Warren/World Vision
Within these pages you will find both traditional and creative ways to influence
policymakers and mobilize your community. The suggestions offered in this hand-
book are meant to equip you—but not to limit the scope of your own creativity.
Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness.
Our team is available to work with you and provide some essential resources to
help you exercise your citizenship. Together, we can seek justice and bring about
Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.
change for some of the most underrepresented populations around the world.
6 Thank you for partnering with us. You and your community can make a difference. 7
Now, let’s get started.

| Our Vision
Introduction |

Our Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with
children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by
What is advocacy? tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve approximately 100 million
people in nearly 100 countries, including 1.6 million in the U.S. In communities
Simply put, advocacy is a ministry of influence using persuasion, dialogue,
around the world, we join with local people to find lasting ways to improve the
and reason to affect change. Advocacy seeks to address the structural and
lives of poor children and families. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve
systemic causes of poverty by changing policies, practices, and attitudes
alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love
that perpetuate inequality and deny justice.
for all people.

World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
The importance of advocacy
Injustice is a reflection of broken relationships. World Vision bases its advocacy
work on the same values that shape our humanitarian work: our Christian commit-
ment. We believe that the person of Jesus Christ provides the model and basis for
our advocacy—namely, His identification with the poor, the afflicted, the oppressed,
and the marginalized; His special concern for children; His respect for the dignity
God bestows on women and men; His willingness to challenge unjust attitudes and
World Vision staff with repre- systems; His call to share our resources with each other; His love for all people
sentatives of McKesson Corp.
(a World Vision partner), an without discrimination or conditions; and His offer of new life through faith in Him.
African AIDS caregiver, and From Jesus we derive our holistic understanding of the gospel of the kingdom of
an Acting on AIDS fellow in
God, which forms the basis of our response to human need.
Washington, D.C. to promote
World Vision’s Caregiver Kit World Vision’s advocacy work is also based on our commitment to the poor. We are
program, which is touching
AIDS-affected communities
called to aid people in great need—to relieve their suffering and to help transform
worldwide. their condition of life.
© 2008 World Vision
We stand in solidarity with the poor in a
common search for justice, seeking to
How long will you defend
understand their situation and working
the unjust and show
alongside them to experience fullness of life.
partiality to the wicked?
We strive to facilitate engagement between
Defend the cause of the
Advocacy weak and fatherless;
the poor and the affluent in ways that open
both to transformation. We respect the
maintain the rights of
Our history poor as active participants, not passive re-
the poor and oppressed. cipients, in this relationship. They are people
8 World Vision’s advocacy office in Washington, D.C., was started in 1985. Our team 9
Rescue the weak and from whom others may learn and receive.

| Advocacy
Advocacy |

of policy experts is responsible for working with the U.S. Congress and the Executive
needy; deliver them from The need for transformation is common to
Branch to make sure the needs of the world’s poor are represented. Our campaigns team
the hand of the wicked. all. Together we share this quest for justice,
informs and equips Americans to partner in this work. Examples of passed legislation and
peace, reconciliation, and healing in our
policy change due to these efforts include: – Psalm 82:2-4
broken world.
• The Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act This is accomplished when we represent the interests of the poor to decision makers
Speak up for those • The U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, who then formulate legislation and policy that prioritizes their needs. Our response
who cannot speak Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act to poverty and injustice requires us to work for policy change and challenge those
for themselves, for • The Clean Diamond Trade Act who withhold justice. Effective advocacy addresses the root causes—whether with
the rights of all who • The Trafficking Victims Protection Act governments, religious institutions, the general public, or all of these.

are destitute. Speak • The PROTECT Act An essential element of advocacy is building a relationship with those whose needs
up and judge fairly; • The Sudan Peace Act are underrepresented and bringing their interests to the attention of governments,
defend the rights of businesses, churches, or the general public in ways that address them effectively.
• Funding for effective humanitarian programs
Being a compelling advocate may begin with raising awareness in your household,
the poor and needy.
community, workplace, or local church. As Americans, we have a unique privilege
 ur policy positions and advocacy campaigns are
– Proverbs 31:8-9 and responsibility to be a voice for those who otherwise may not be heard.
focused on specific issues rooted in World Vision’s
work with the poor in their communities.
GuluWalk supporters march to
raise awareness of the challenges Global development
faced by children as a result of
the conflict in Gulu, Uganda.
To increase the overall level of humanitar-
Issues like this that harm children ian assistance from the U.S. government
require more than knowledge—
and continue leading global efforts to
they require partnership and
action from people worldwide. address the root causes of global poverty,
© 2005 Simon Richard Mugenyi/World Vision World Vision advocates for effective
measures that will help achieve the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Critical needs

© 2007 Bob Black/Genesis Photos

• Ensuring that the U.S. champions
the achievement of the MDGs and
provides the financial resources
necessary for reaching these goals

• Increased foreign aid and food

assistance World Vision/ONE Campaign rally in Chicago, 2007.

The Millennium Development Goals

Issues Facing the World’s Poor The MDGs represent a new global partnership initiating
unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s
10 Statistics on issues like global poverty and health, conflict and disasters, and the 11
poorest people. There are eight specific goals:

| Issues Facing the World’s Poor

various ways children are exploited can be overwhelming. They leave many people
Issues Facing the World’s Poor |

trapped by emotion or paralyzed by their sheer magnitude. 1. Halve extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
What makes the difference between general awareness and effective action? Part
of the answer is rooted in partnership. It is not possible for an individual advocate
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
to be well-versed in all of the issues. However, when you involve your community, 4. Reduce child mortality.
family, and social networks, you can begin to have more of an impact. Your collective 5. Improve maternal health.
partnership around our advocacy efforts can truly make a world of difference.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
World Vision’s advocacy work focuses on the themes outlined below. We are com- 7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
mitted to keeping you informed and providing substantive ways for you to influence
8. Develop a global partnership for development.
your government and involve your communities. It is our belief that as you advocate
for the world’s poor, you will experience a process of transformation—one that will
change you and those you bring with you.
For up-to-date resources and calls to action, please visit our advocacy Web site,
Global poverty and health
To help secure a better future for the world’s poorest children, World Vision
focuses on lasting, community-based transformation. Our long-term projects help
families gain access to critical necessities such as clean water, sustainable food
sources, health care, education, and economic opportunities. Through our devel-
opment and advocacy work, we also
address special challenges like the AIDS
pandemic, malaria, and exploitative
practices that threaten children and
keep communities trapped in poverty.
When natural disasters strike, survivors
Critical needs like these in Chile need people and orga-

© 2007 Michael Temchine Photography

nizations like World Vision to advocate on
• Increased resources for water and their behalf for timely, life-saving action.
sanitation, food and agriculture, © 2006 Renato Hernandez/World Vision

health and hygiene, education

and literacy, and microenterprise

• For the U.S. government to bolster

Speaker at a Goldman Sachs conference in its commitment to providing assis-
Washington, D.C., where attendees partnered
tance for the poor and strengthening Conflicts and disasters
with World Vision to create Caregiver Kits for
AIDS caregivers worldwide. its global leadership in combating
Recognizing that conflicts and disasters have a significant impact on children, World Vision
AIDS and malaria
advocates for peace in areas of conflict, robust life-saving action in the event of
emergencies, and risk mitigation in disaster-prone regions around the world. Conflicts,
12 emergencies, and disasters endanger and impoverish children. Governments and inter- 13

| Issues Facing the World’s Poor

Issues Facing the World’s Poor |

national bodies have a responsibility to protect children and their families, to treat them
Advocacy works! equitably, and to ensure their access to basic necessities. When these conditions are not
met, national governments must be supported or held accountable by the international
Working hand-in-hand with World Vision, people like you have
community and local leaders to restore peace, security, and family livelihoods.
contributed to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria
by sending tens of thousands of messages to the U.S. Congress. Critical areas
This work has resulted in advancements such as the President’s
• Conflict areas including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Emergency Plan for AIDS Response (PEPFAR) and the President’s
Israel and Palestine, Sudan, and others
Malaria Initiative (PMI). More recently, our combined efforts
contributed to the passage of an authorization bill that provides • Disaster-prone regions such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia
$48 billion over five years for a multifaceted approach to
Critical needs
combating AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria around the world.
Advocates who partner with World Vision play a significant role • U.S. diplomacy encouraging governments in conflict areas to take responsibility for
peace arrangements and the equitable treatment of all people groups, including the
by supporting programs that assist those impacted by these
provision of land and security
diseases, especially orphans and vulnerable children.
• U.S. responsiveness and leadership following major disasters to address the critical
humanitarian needs of people and rally other nations to respond
Children in crisis
Advocacy can bring life-changing
help and hope to children in To address the specific needs of children vulnerable to exploitation, World Vision
countries like Cambodia and
protect vulnerable children from
advocates for their protection and for the restoration of survivors. We partner
the dangers of exploitation. with law enforcement agencies to assist in the identification and prosecution of those
© 2004 Jon Warren/World Vision who abuse children. World Vision is working to strengthen policies that protect
children from exploitative child labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and
conditions of war, including the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Critical needs

• Protection of vulnerable populations in areas of conflict, poverty, and

disease where people may be exposed to recruitment into trafficking rings
and military groups

• Restoration and reintegration of children who have been abused as child

soldiers and sex slaves

• Enforcement of laws that prosecute Americans who travel abroad for

child sex tourism

• Measures that reduce child labor

Youth in the United States

Young people growing up in poor com-
munities across the U.S. often face hard-
ships and have little hope for a better

© 2007 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision

| Issues Facing the World’s Poor

future, despite the freedoms they enjoy
in our nation. In order to address critical
issues of domestic poverty, World Vision
seeks to open doors of opportunity for
marginalized youth by working to reduce
World Vision’s work in the U.S. includes the youth violence and advocating for critical
Youth Empowerment Project, which provides improvements to public education. We
young people with skills, training, and practical
also work to strengthen the leadership
experiences to address local issues through
advocacy, transformative leadership develop- and civic empowerment skills of young
ment, and civic engagement. people so they are equipped to initiate
change in their own communities.

Critical needs

• Reduction of youth violence and the prevention of youth involvement in gangs

• Improvements to the quality of public education

Sample letter
The following template is also available at Templates
such as this one can be customized. Advocates are encouraged to send a
consistent message, while adding a personal connection when it strengthens
their position on a piece of legislation.

Dear Senator Murray:

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (right) receives thanks from
the World Vision organizer for speaking at a clean water rally
in Chicago. Affirming members of Congress for their action I am greatly concerned about the estimated 250,000 children
on critical issues helps assure their continued efforts.
who are exploited each day in state-run armies, paramilitaries,
and guerrilla groups around the world. These “child soldiers”
© 2007 Bob Black/Genesis Photos

serve as combatants, porters, human mine detectors, and sex

slaves. Their health and lives are endangered and their child-
hoods are sacrificed.
Sending a Message to Congress Senators Durbin and Brownback have introduced the Child
In this section you will learn more about effective ways of communicating with your Soldier Prevention Act of 2007 (S.1175) to encourage govern-
member of Congress by initiating letter-writing campaigns, meeting with your con- ments to disarm, demobilize, and rehabilitate child soldiers from
gressmember, and involving the media to promote effective awareness. You may
government forces and government-supported paramilitaries. 17

| Sending a Message to Congress

Sending a Message to Congress |

also want to visit to do some of your own research, learn

This bill is rightly directed at national governments that receive
U.S. militar y assistance, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are
about the legislative process, identify the status of a bill, or investigate your elected
official’s voting record.
not used to finance the exploitation of children in armed conflict.
The most critical starting point is to become familiar with the issues. Citizen
This is an important issue for my family and me. I urge you to
advocates have many tools at their disposal. World Vision provides up-to-date
cosponsor this bill.
information and news on our advocacy Web site, You can
use the site to identify your member of Congress and send him or her an e-mail. I look forward to your reply.

It is the mandate of elected officials to listen to the concerns of the people they Sincerely,
represent. For this reason, elected officials welcome feedback and input from their Jane Smith
constituents. It is important to let them know which issues are of particular impor- Tacoma, WA
tance to you. You may not have direct access to the elected official, but you can
always leave comments with a staff person who will then take appropriate action.

The three best ways to deliver a message to Congress are sending e-mails, writing
letters, and making phone calls.
Letter-writing is a powerful and effective way to engage
members of Congress. Even a small group of concerned
To generate a persuasive number of phone calls, form a telephone-tree network of citizens can help bring an issue to the forefront.
activists. Ask every person in your network to deliver a message to your congres- © 2007 Jon Warren/World Vision

sional office. This flood of calls can help sway an undecided vote or convince a
legislator who is unsure where the public stands on a particular issue.

(town or city
and I live in
Hello, my name is
or county).
ities impacted by
r ch ild re n, fa m ilies, and commun
I am an advocate fo progress
as e. I ha ve be en reading about the
d dise fected by AIDS
extreme poverty an at impacts children af
ra m fu nd in g th
of renewing prog
and malaria. TB, and
au th or iz at io n of the Global AIDS,
or t the re
I am calling to supp
Malaria Bill. children, as
ov isi on s fo r or ph ans and vulnerable
the pr eradicate malaria.
I strongly suppor t id e basic treatment to
on s th at pr ov
well as the provisi or t for this
r/C on gr es sp er so n know of my supp Congressional offices are organized to listen to constituents and respond to their con-
Please let the Sena cerns. A member of Congress who does not support funding for children impacted by
ec e of legislation.
important pi AIDS may justify this by reasoning that his or her constituents have not communicated
18 their concern about the number of children who are orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. 19
Than k you.

| Sending a Message to Congress

Sending a Message to Congress |

Just a few letters from constituents on a

single topic will encourage the congres-
sional office to pay more attention to that
Letter-writing campaigns issue than to most of the 10,000 or more
other bills and resolutions that are intro-
An innovative letter-writing campaign is an effective way to ensure that issues such
duced every year. Letters and calls are
as global poverty and AIDS reach the eyes and ears of your member of Congress.
logged and summarized for the member
The most compelling way to do this is to involve a large number of people and have

© 2006 Paul Bettings/World Vision

as a way to gauge the strength and direc-
them all send in the same kind of letter—whether an e-mail, a written letter, a form
tion of public opinion. By organizing your
postcard, or a creative idea that can be easily replicated. The more creative and
community or colleagues in a campaign,
innovative you can be, the more likely you are to attract media attention, as well as
you can make a difference in the passing of
the attention of your member of Congress.
legislation and policy change that will ben-
efit vulnerable populations such as children
Petitions and letters to Congress can help influ-
orphaned by AIDS or trapped in war. ence U.S. laws and policies that affect the poor.
Participants in the Lobby Day for Northern Uganda gather in
Senator Ted Kennedy’s office. Co-sponsored by organizations
like World Vision, this lobbying event allowed concerned citizens During the meeting
to personally urge their members of Congress to take action to
support peace talks and reconstruction efforts in northern Uganda. • Be accurate. To build a working relationship that leads to action, you need to be
© 2008 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision a credible source of information. If you don’t know something, just say so. Tell
the person you will find out and get back to him or her. If you need assistance,
feel free to contact World Vision’s Advocacy team at

• Be brief. Members of Congress and their staffs are incredibly busy—and so are
you. Most members of Congress represent more than 600,000 people. They
appreciate it when you get to the point and respect their time. Your meeting or
call may be interrupted, so be sure to state your request in the first few minutes.

• Be respectful. You may have differences with your member of Congress.

However, harsh criticism, cynicism, or sarcasm most likely will cause him or her
to tune you out. Be mindful of your attitude and nonverbal communication so
you do not miss the opportunity to build common ground on the issues you are

• Be specific. When discussing a specific piece of legislation or policy action with

In-district meetings members of Congress, make a point to mention the bill by number or the
specific action you’d like him or her to take (for example, holding a hearing or
If you are traveling to Washington, D.C., meeting with your member of Congress or one contacting the president’s administration), give reasons why you support the bill,
of his or her staff members can be very effective. Visiting your representative while he or and let them know that you are a constituent.
she is in your home area is also effective. Times of year that they are likely to be home
• Be persistent. If you find that the staff people you need to speak with are out of
include congressional recesses in August, November, December, and May. Schedule the office, leave a message for them with your name and number. If they don’t
your meeting in advance, and be sure to prepare talking points. You do not need a large return your call within two or three days, call again. Keep track of your calls, but
delegation to have a significant impact. If you have organized a large-scale letter-writing remember that they are very busy.

campaign, then bring along your top three spokespeople to deliver the letters in person 21
and discuss your recommendations. World Vision can provide suggested talking points to Following up

| Sending a Message to Congress

Sending a Message to Congress |

help you prepare for your meeting.

After meeting with a member of Congress or an aide from his or her office, it’s
important to stay on top of the situation. Here are some suggestions for follow-up.
Preparing for your meeting

The U.S. Census Bureau • Thank your members of Congress for listening to your concerns, especially if
• W
 herever or whomever you meet, always they take action.
reports that 64 percent prepare thoroughly for your meeting.
of citizens age 18 and over • Praise them publicly through letters to the editor or items in newsletters. If you
• R
 e-familiarize yourself with the issues have a letter or article published, be sure to send a copy to their staff.
voted in the 2004 presi-
you are representing, and download
dential election, up from 60 • Seek to build positive, long-term relationships. Remember that if you publicly
World Vision’s suggested talking points at
percent in 2000. Tables from praise your elected officials when they are helpful, the next time they may help even more.
a November 2004 survey
show that of 197 million citi- • P
 ractice what you are going to say before-
• Provide information as needed. Be prepared to fax or e-mail information to your
zens, 72 percent (142 million) hand, so you sound natural and not like you elected official’s office. If you do send something, call immediately to make sure
reported that they were are reading from a script. Practicing will they’ve received it.
registered to vote. build your confidence and increase your
effectiveness. • Contact World Vision’s Advocacy team so we can stay connected to your work.
Send an e-mail to to tell us about your experience.
• Dress appropriately and be on time.
rather than the metro section, for example. Try visiting your newspaper or
television station’s Web site and find a link to submit a story. This option is often
featured prominently on their home page.

When submitting a story, it is helpful to include the following information:

• A brief summary of the local, personal angle related to the event and issue

• Type of event

• Sponsoring organization(s)

• The name and contact number for the person or organization that readers
should call for information before, during, and after the event
Personal interest stories appeal to local media;
a regular citizen’s personal connection to a • Day, date, and time of the event
humanitarian situation can bring attention to
issues that might otherwise be overlooked. • Event location
© 2006 Kevin Cook/World Vision
• Estimated number of participants

• Why readers will be interested in the event

How to pitch your story

Tips for Media Coverage Pitching your story can be as simple as leaving a message with a TV station’s “tip
line” or mailing a press release to your local paper’s news desk. If your story is
Getting a local newspaper, radio, or TV station to talk about your advocacy issue
22 strong enough, it will make it to the right reporter. 23
or cover your events is a great way to raise awareness.

| Tips for Media Coverage

Tips for Media Coverage |

However, if you are able to develop relationships with local reporters, producers,
The three best ways to spread the word about what you’re doing and generate
and editors, you may find it easier to pitch your stories—and see them placed.
news coverage are pitching a local human interest story, writing opinion editorials,
The more you can match your story to a particular reporter’s interests (whether
and sending letters to the editor.
their beat is religion, city news, or local events), the more likely it is that your
story will be placed.
Human interest stories
Local papers often need more than a notice of an event to garner their interest.
However, many love to highlight local human-interest stories, including actions taken
by community members to address a larger issue. To pick up this kind of coverage,
reporters in your area need to know what the personal story is and how it relates
to the issue and the event you are holding. You may want them to cover your event, A good way to raise
and the best way to get that coverage is to find a local, personal angle. awareness in your
community is to get
First, familiarize yourself with the local outlets to which you’re interested in pitching a local newspaper to
cover your event or
the story. Many local stations have shows other than their standard news programs otherwise highlight

© 2008 SXC
that may be a better fit for your story. In addition, explore the various sections of the issue you’re pas-
sionate about.
your local newspaper. Your story may fit better into the religion or business section,
Op-ed pieces Letters to the editor
Opinion editorials can be a great way to inform community members about an issue Letters to the editor are another great way to raise awareness in your community
and your call to action. Newspapers will often run pieces written by grassroots activists, about the issue at hand and to let people know how they can advocate for change.
especially if the article is well-written, timely, and has a local angle. However, you should The key to getting your letter printed is to make it relevant to your local community,
check with your newspaper before submitting your editorial, as different papers often whether that means letting readers know about local lobbying visits or asking your
have different guidelines for editorial submissions from community members. paper’s editor to run more stories on a specific issue.

Here are a few tips for writing your editorial: Here are a few more tips for getting your letter published:

• Keep it short. Most papers will only run editorials of fewer than 750 words. • Keep it short. Most letters to the editor run no more than 150-200 words.

• Make it locally relevant. The more you connect your editorial to a community • Keep it focused. Unlike editorials, letters to the editor only allow space to make
event or development on the issue, the better. Newspapers publish information they one or two key points. Focus on what you think is the most important thing for
believe is pertinent to their readers, so your op-ed is more likely to be published people in your community to know about the issue and what they can do to help.
when it is tied to a current, local event or targets local leaders (for example, when
• Make it relevant. Respond to coverage the publication has already done. If
it responds to the actions—or lack thereof—of your member of Congress). Often possible, praise the publication when it provides good reporting on these issues.
lobbying efforts, legislative developments, or breakthroughs in peace talks are inter- Publications are less likely to print letters that do not pertain to their coverage.
esting to newspapers only if there is a local connection to the issue.
As with op-ed pieces, don’t forget to include your contact information when you submit
• Make it personal. While your op-ed should include facts about the issue, it should
a letter to the editor.
also reflect your personality. The best editorials explain why the subject is relevant
to both the writer and the reader. Tell your own story and why you care about the
issue you are campaigning for.

• Make it action-oriented. Include
information on how readers can get Don’t forget AIDS relief when sett
ing fed budget SAMPLE 25
involved. If you’re writing an op-ed near Duluth News Tribune | January 26, 200

| Tips for Media Coverage

Tips for Media Coverage |

e of
the time that the lobbying visits are war in Iraq and rightly so. But an issu
The new Congress is focused on the billion
taking place, make sure your editorial ed. In danger of being rescinded is $1
supreme importance is being overlook .
S, tuberculosis, and malaria overseas
includes information on how readers
can join your efforts. Editors are unlikely in aid to programs that help treat AID
in aid for
to include a Web site or call to action AIDS Relief had a $1 billion increase
The President’s Emergency Plan for g forgot-
in the body of your article. However, issues, the funding is in danger of bein
2007, but because of other impending billion! All
you should include a Web site in your on annually on the war in Iraq. $100
ten. Congress is spending $100 billi save lives.
AIDS Relief is asking is $1 billion to
biography at the end of your op-ed.
You can also encourage your readers to the President’s Emergency Plan for
© 2008 SXC

itive people
write their member of Congress. $1 billion increase, 350,000 HIV-pos
If Congress decides not to enact the Dybul,
ive the medications they need. Mark
Don’t forget to include your contact infor- due to undergo treatment will not rece thes e people
No bullhorn required—simply writing an estimated that 110,000 to 175,000 of
mation. Newspapers need to know the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, writing
wed to happen. Everyone can help by
opinion editorial for your local newspaper can
how to reach you if they’re going to run spread the word in your community about a will die as a result. This can’t be allo aid. We can
ng them to approve this promised
to state and local representatives, aski
poverty-related issue that’s important to you.
your editorial.
help save lives.

Danielle Bourgerie
Superior, MN
world’s poor
Remind candidates to help suffering
The Gazette | December 23, 2007
we should not forget that
As we enjoy this lovely time of year,
today struggles to survive
one of every six people on the globe
therefore cannot provide
on an income of less than $1 a day and
a family. For example,
adequate nutrition and health care for
ly preventable diseases like
26,000 children die each day of easi
on is a time when we
© 2008 World Vision

malaria and measles . This holiday seas

and generously share our

often remember the needy among us
abundance with them. But private cha
rity by itself cannot meet Online Social Networking
the enormous challenges of global pov Online forums are another great way to lend your voice to promote change. You
used development can use your blog, MySpace page, or Facebook profile to inform your friends and
Our federal government’s poverty-foc
opportunity to some invite them to join you in advocating on behalf of the poor. Blogs are a perfect forum
assistance efforts have given hope and
ugh American programs to invite people into a conversation about issues that are important to you. You can
of the poorest people in the world, thro
l Development (USAID), also encourage other bloggers to link to your post.
like the U.S. Agency for Internationa
l programs like
26 and through our suppor t of internationa YouTube is another great resource. Offbeat and funny videos preside here, but 27
UNICEF and the World Health Organiz more serious ones are featured as well. Consider posting videos of your youth

| Online Social Networking / Talk Radio Stations

Tips for Media Coverage |

group, small group, Acting on AIDS chapter (a World Vision advocacy program
$100 in the federal budget
However, just 40 cents out of every for college students; see page 32), or group of friends advocating on behalf of the
ment assistance. Surely
goes to such poverty-focused develop world’s poor. Be sure to post a link of your video to your other social networking
ans are privileged to lead
our nation can do better. Since we Iow sites for maximum exposure.
ident, we have an oppor-
off the process of selecting a new pres
r responsibility to try to
tunity to remind the candidates of thei
reduce the suffering of the world’s poo
rest people. Talk Radio Stations
Radio programs such as your local talk show or National Public Radio (NPR) are
Allen Fisher another excellent way to make your voice heard—and by a large audience, too.
Cedar Rapids, IA Calling in to a program that highlights a political or social issue important to you is
one way you can express your own beliefs about that issue.

NPR also invites listeners to suggest story ideas through their Web site:
preventable causes such as malnutrition and disease.
than 26,000 children under age 5 die every day, most from
Editor’s note: According to the United Nations, more If it’s been a while since you’ve heard anything

“call-in worthy,” suggest a story based on your advocacy efforts with World Vision.
On Take Your Child to Work Day, the ONE Campaign One of the challenges for an organizer is to direct the desire for change into effective
and Goldman Sachs partnered with World Vision to build
action steps. Consider some of the options in this guide or visit
Caregiver Kits for distribution to people affected by AIDS
around the world. to access more resources, including suggestions for speakers, events, and ways to pray.
©2007 Michael Temchine Photography

World Vision provides recommended books, Bible studies, declaration cards, and
other advocacy materials to assist with your local efforts. We also have resources for
pastors and church leaders who want to engage their congregations. Organizing a
prayer vigil is one way that churches can actively learn and intercede for the poor.
Effective advocacy goes hand-in-hand with intercession and other spiritual disciplines.

You can involve others in advocacy by creating letter-writing campaigns and other
advocacy-related events when you return from missions trips. You may also engage
your community by hosting a town hall meeting to discuss issues facing the poor with
your elected officials.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of
injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry
28 and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the 29
naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh

| Involving Your Community and Church

Involving Your Community and Church
Involving Your Community and Church |

and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your
healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before
Advocates who partner with World Vision include high school youth, college stu-
you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you
dents, young professionals, parents of young children, and seasoned professionals in
will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will
various fields. Advocacy on behalf of the poor is a movement that brings together
say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with
people from many different backgrounds.
the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves
“Never doubt that a Consider ways that your church, small group, book in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become
small group of thought- club, professional association, or family can get
involved. You can choose to organize large events, like the noonday.”
ful, committed citizens
can change the world. or you can start with those closest to you. More – Isaiah 58:6-10
Indeed, it is the only often than not, social movements exist because
a small group of committed people set out to do
thing that ever has.”
something. The goal for your community organizing
– Margaret Mead efforts is to educate people and inspire action.
Princess Zulu testifies before Congress in favor of the
reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief. A variety of subject matter experts like Princess are

Advocate Profile: Scott and Ashley Phillips available through World Vision’s Speakers Bureau to address
professional or social networking audiences.
© 2007 Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz/World Vision
As a student of intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary specializing in chil-
dren at risk, Ashley Phillips examined the AIDS crisis in Uganda for a research paper.
She read in a World Vision publication about the dark spiritual dimensions and bloody
history of the war in northern
Uganda, and learned about the
atrocities inflicted upon Ugandan
children and families by the rebel
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Ashley shared the report with
her husband, Scott, also a Fuller
student. “It brought us to a
difficult conversation with God,”
says Scott. “We had become
passionate in our desire for
change [in Uganda], but weren’t
sure how to become engaged.”
Then Scott and Ashley learned
about a local GuluWalk event,
Scott and Ashley Phillips, who as post-graduate students
a walk organized to raise
felt called to be agents of social change, with Awichu awareness about child soldiers.
30 Akwanya, a former Ugandan child soldier. Photo courtesy They decided to participate, and 31
of Scott and Ashley Phillips.
Scott agreed to chair the event.
Involving Your Social Networks |

Involving Your Social Networks
“When you realize the size of the problem, it is overwhelming; but knowing there is an
opportunity to take part in what God is already doing—that’s a privilege,” says Scott.
In February 2008, Scott was one of an estimated 800 participants at the Lobby Day for
Northern Uganda in Washington, D.C. “I really want to learn more about how to unify
groups around a movement—how to help make inroads to bring other people along Involving Your Social Networks
and make them feel a connection with the issue,” says Scott.
Consider speaking or inviting a speaker to your professional or social network. Find
Scott and Ashley have found a shared and unique call to care for the children of north- out if your professional network, association, or local faith and culture series is looking
ern Uganda. They continue to prayerfully seek out tools to help them be a voice for for new speakers. If you are leading in this area already, World Vision will be glad to
these children and broaden the base of Americans who care about them. provide talking points and resources you can share with your audience. If you would
like to invite a World Vision spokesperson, send a request to our Speakers Bureau at

If you are already a member of a social justice network and would like to partner with
World Vision in our advocacy efforts, please e-mail
Scott Sabo, student leader of Acting on AIDS at
Advocacy and the Arts
the University of Washington, addresses a group of
students at a rally during the “Do You See Orange” Art inspires people in ways that global statistics never will. If you are an artist of any
creative activism campaign. kind, consider how your art can portray the suffering and hope of children around
© 2007 Andrea Dearborn/World Vision
the world. Art does not have to be overtly focused on a specific issue to inspire
people to action. But if you would like to integrate advocacy into your local shows,
please contact our team at so we can provide you with
information and support.

If you consider yourself a patron of the arts, we encourage you to support artists
who bring their voice and imagination to these issues. If you are a community
organizer, consider partnering with an artist, photographer, or performer to create
an awareness-raising event.

“Artists are storytellers.

What we create illuminates a
narrative of our own personal
journey, articulates the circum-
stances in the human passage,
Involving Your College or University and the attempt to step into
Educating students on global issues of poverty and empowering them with resources the shoes of another. It is my
32 assumption that orphans and 33
to take action can inspire a generational response.

© 2007 Jon Warren/World Vision

| Advocacy and the Arts

vulnerable children need story-
Involving Your College or University |

Acting on AIDS is a network started by college students to raise awareness and tellers to translate their situa-
promote advocacy in response to the global AIDS pandemic. With the support tion in a manner that opens
of World Vision, college students have formed Acting on AIDS chapters on more up viewers’ hearts and moves
than 170 campuses around the nation. Students engage in a wide variety of efforts them to compassionate action.
in response to global AIDS and poverty. Utilizing creative activism campaigns and
transformational resources, students are encouraged to form communities that “Paintings can become memorials for the stories of others. The visual
respond to these issues socially, politically, economically, and spiritually. process helps break through these walls around the human heart as we
come to grips with a tragic reality. One of my goals as an artist and
Motivated by an authentic pursuit of Jesus Christ, Acting on AIDS exists to support advocate is to open the human heart to the need of children impacted
a grassroots movement of student advocates who, through their faithful, radical re- by AIDS. Collaborating with World Vision has opened my own eyes,
sponse to global poverty and injustice, demonstrate God’s love for those affected by expanded my art, and engaged a broader community in becoming
these issues. To learn more about how to get involved, visit advocates for children in crisis.”
—Scott Erickson, The Transpire Project
Advocacy and Film Austin Gutwein, founder of Hoops of Hope,
addresses an audience. Hoops of Hope has raised
Film is one of the most accessible and influential mediums in our culture. Consider the more than $200,000 to benefit AIDS-affected
communities in Africa through World Vision.
box office choices you make on opening weekends. Your vote tells Hollywood what Austin was first moved to help after seeing a
Americans want to see. Whenever possible, attend films that address contemporary World Vision video when he was 9 years old.

and historical issues of injustice and leaders who made a difference. Recent feature © 2008 Pat Rhoads/World Vision

films have portrayed the story of child soldiers and the diamond trade, as told in Blood
Diamond, and the life of revolutionary abolition leader and member of the British
Parliament William Wilberforce, as seen in Amazing Grace. As a community organizer,
you may wish to use film screenings as a vehicle to create awareness of an issue.

“Four years in the making,

Testimony: Africa is an emotionally
compelling film and coffee table
book documenting the stories
of three ordinary Africans strug-
gling against AIDS, genocide, and
Advocacy and Children
hunger, all while portraying the Children can be very effective advocates. Consider including children who want to be
hope they have for their lives and involved as participants and even spokespeople for your local awareness-raising events.
the world around them through
© 2007 Brian Sytsma/World Vision

Encourage their ideas—from hosting a local bake sale to creating multimedia presentations
34 the miracle of transformational that reach their peers. There are many ways to include children and youth in advocacy 35
development. It’s the Africa story efforts. Remember, the best ideas for their involvement often come from them.

| Advocacy and Children

Advocacy and Film |

that still needs to be told: that

these big issues can be defeated, World Vision works to empower youth to engage their local and national government
that people in extreme poverty officials. Resources and publications for youth, including free downloads, are available at
can indeed make something of their lives, and that sustainable development It is important to educate children about global issues and encourage
is likely to be the only way to do so.” them to take meaningful action. You may want to begin with one of the following options:

• Start a children’s club at school that is committed to advocating for an issue that impacts
—Sean Sheridan, 4:Minute Media, Inc.
children globally. Children may want to create their own campaign to raise awareness
about child labor or provide more children with bed nets to protect them from malaria.

• Create a public rally or event to highlight the plight of children in crisis. Don’t forget
to inform the media and consider collecting petition signatures to present to key
legislators. Invite the child or youth leaders of your event to meet their senator or
member of congress. This may have a lasting impact on their commitment to advocacy.

• Establish an award for children’s writing, art, drama, or other talent that tells the story of
children living in conditions of extreme poverty and injustice. If needed, help participants
locate appropriate resources.
Advocacy and Athletes
Incorporating advocacy into your
athletic training is another effective
way to raise awareness. For example,
Kirsten, a young professional living in
New York City, was an avid runner

© 2007 James Addis/World Vision

who had competed in several triath-
lons and bike races for various causes.
She joined World Vision’s New York
office and led a running program to
fundraise for children in Africa.

“In 2006 we had 100 people,” she About 500 Team World Vision runners braved
says. “In 2007 we had over 500. Like the hottest conditions on record to participate in
the 30th anniversary of the Chicago marathon.
me, many of these people wanted to
take their athletic goals to the next level but needed an additional cause to make
it worth the training, pain, and dedication necessary for an enjoyable race.”

You too can use your athletic goals to raise awareness. Team World Vision exists to
unite, empower, and encourage individuals and groups as they participate in the athletic © 2008 Makopano Letsatsi/World Vision

event of their choice while raising awareness and funds for children in crisis. Through
Team World Vision, anyone can turn their personal fitness goals or athletic involvement

into a global effort, bringing practical care and support—physically, emotionally, and
spiritually—to children and families around the world.
Making Change a Reality 37

| Making Change a Reality

Advocacy and Athletes |

This handbook and our Web site provide you with the information and advocacy
For more information on Team World Vision, please visit
tools you need. Now the question is, how will you respond? There are plenty
of excuses to do nothing. It takes time. It can take financial resources. But once
you take the first step, you will find advocacy to be an exciting and fulfilling

Ultimately, as an advocate you choose to serve those in impoverished communities.

Their priorities become, in a real way, your own. This is an invitation to experience
transformation in your own life and in the lives of those you bring with you.

Thank you for responding to the invitation. There is no doubt that as you speak
out and lead your own community, you will help bring life in all its fullness to
many others.
— The World Vision Advocacy Team

Notes |
34834 Weyerhaeuser Way S.
P.O. Box 9716
AI07185_0808 © 2008 World Vision, Inc.

Federal Way, WA 98063-9716 |

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization

dedicated to working with children, families, and their
communities worldwide to reach their full potential by
tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTER-

NATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973,
1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.