How to Advocate for Head Start
Thanks for your advocacy on behalf of Head Start! Reaching out to legislators is a great way to advocate for Head Start programs – many legislators say that having everyday constituents, rather than policymakers or professional advocates, is one of the most powerful ways to win their vote.
Head Start is a federally-funded program, so for a lot of issues, the correct people to contact are your Congressional Representatives and Senators. However, there are also issues where we advocate in front of the California State Legislature. In 2022, Head Start is advocating for $50 million in funding from the State of California, and we need people to reach out to their State Assemblymembers and Senators.
How to Connect with Legislators
- Find who your representatives are and their contact information:
- If you wish to schedule a meeting with a legislator, you can get the scheduler’s contact information using the Capitol Office number. Call and ask, “Can you please provide me with the name and email address of your scheduler?” (Offices get these calls all the time).
- The best way to set up a meeting is via email, so once you have the scheduler’s email address, you can send your meeting request. You can also get the contact information of their education staffer and CC them on your email, too.
- HSC recommends sending a quick note in the body of your email and attaching a more formal meeting request. For your convenience, there is a template for these communications below.
- Note: Generally, when scheduling these meetings you should allot 30 minutes per meeting.
Posting on social media is a great way to raise awareness of important issues. Use your own voice and tell your own story, or share or retweet messages in support of the campaign. Below are some tips to help make your social media posts effective.
- Include hashtags. Use #HeadStart and #CAleg. Check to see if the issue you are posting on has a hashtag- many do!
- Use visuals. People are 3X more likely to engage with social media posts that include visual content.
- Algorithms matter. The algorithms on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it more likely that people will see posts with higher engagement
- Tag partners and lawmakers. Make sure you tag the handle of your agency and partners, and also the target lawmaker.
- Email template to request a meeting with a legislator
- 9-minute pitch for directors and others to help prepare for meetings
- Parents, check out the Story Checklist to help structure your personal Head Start story
- Head Start Guide to Advocacy and Lobbying
Need assistance? Please do not hesitate to reach out to Director of Governmental Affairs, Anna Ioakimedes.