Advocating for fair funding for human service programs & wages
During The Caring Force’s April 2 rally and lobby day at the State House, supporters will gather to speak out for increased funding for services and salaries. To make sure our message is as loud as possible, it is critical that you, as a constituent and a voter, share your personal message with your state senator and representative so they know how important these issues are to your community. Follow this easy guide to make the most of your State House experience!
Please share this information with staff, consumers & others in the week leading up to the event:
- Use The Caring Force’s easy form for making appointments with your legislators at http://www.thecaringforce.org/tell-your-legislators
- Come to the event knowing your legislators and where to find them: Want to know who represents you? Visit http://wheredoivotema.com to find out. Be sure to write down their names, offices, and phone numbers and bring them with you to the rally.
During the rally at the Grand Staircase and Nurses Hall:
Please bring signs that demonstrate one or both of our two major themes: increased funding for essential human services or a salary adjustment for the sector’s lowest-paid workers! Please note that signs brought inside the State House may not have any type of stick attached to them.
Be ready to support our speakers! You’ll hear from direct care workers, a family member, a self advocate, a board member and legislators, including Senate President Therese Murray. Please applaud these speakers and make sure we’re heard throughout the State House!
After the rally, make sure we’re heard loud and clear by taking these extra steps while you’re at the State House:
- Visit your legislators: Even if you didn’t make an appointment beforehand, please visit your legislators! Briefly tell them or their aides your personal story and why human services matters so much to you! See the bottom of thse page for tips on telling your story!
- Fill out and leave the one-page flyer so they can follow up: Our one-page flyer has all of our talking points on it. Discuss these points with them, fill out the form, and leave it with them so they can contact you and let you know that they support you and your request!
- Add in your own thoughts: While we have two main themes on April 2, this is your opportunity to briefly tell your legislators your personal story. Explain to them your close connection with the sector and let them get to know you. Legislators are more likely to stand up for an issue when they feel a personal connection.
- Let the Council know what happens: E-mail Bill Yelenak (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kevin Gilnack (email@example.com) your success story about meeting with legislators!
Telling your story: Here are some tips to make it easy for you to speak effectively with your legislators or their staff about why this funding is so critical:
The basics – just remember your manners!
- Always be polite and respectful to the elected officials and their staff
- Use the tools mentioned above to schedule an appointment in advance so you can make sure you’re able to speak with someone
- Be on time if you scheduled an appointment in advance
- Be positive
- Be concise
- Thank them for meeting with you when you arrive and again for listening when leaving
- Remind them you’re a constituent and you vote: Tell them your name, where you live in the district, that you’re a voter, and what human service you’re connected to and how (working there, receiving services, volunteer, board member, etc.)
- Paint a picture for them: Share more details about your connection to the agency – How has working or receiving services at the agency impacted your life? What’s it like to make ends meet on low wages or worrying about having services cut? Share a moving anecdote related to how human service funding impacts people’s lives.
Briefly explain why you’re there:
- Tell them that you’re a member of The Caring Force and you want increased funding for all human service programs and wages for low paid workers.
- Use this opportunity to talk more specifically about any programs, line items, salary reserves, or other issues that are especially important to you
- Ask for a commitment: Before you leave, directly ask if you can count on them to support increased funding for human service programs and wages, and about any specific funding that’s important to you. Also ask if you can count on them to sponsor budget amendments to restore funding to important programs if it is needed.
- Ask for follow-up: If they can’t make a commitment now, ask if you can follow up to discuss further, and let us know if you’d like more assistance working with your legislator after the event by emailing TheCaringForce@providers.org
Quick talking points: Feel free to use these statistics when talking to your legislators
- Personalize the challenges: share any challenges you’ve faced in working in or receiving human services
- 185,000 people work in human services, serving one-in-ten Mass. Residents (about 600,000 people)
- The human services sector has seen a 25% reduction in state funding since 2008
- Direct care workers have gone years without an annualized salary adjustment and many earn an average of $12/hr.
Thank you for taking part in The Caring Force rally and lobby day!