Communicating With Advocates by Email

In order to inspire members and potential members to become strong advocates and take action, affiliate societies have to provide information about issues, talking points to help advocates communicate with lawmakers and colleagues, and some direction about how to communicate the message. With email communication, the advocacy message is pushed directly to affiliate members, so this is a more direct way than social media or even your own website to get potential advocates the information they need. 

When creating the affiliate advocacy communication plan, always keep in mind that there are a few steps to reach the successful communications goal of inspiring advocates to act. Below are the steps and a simple example of the message contents.

Inform. Tell the reader why the affiliate is communicating specific information. Provide information about the topic at hand, as well as links to background information and the message you want the advocate to communicate to lawmakers or colleagues. Example: The XSRT has worked with lawmakers to introduce a state licensure bill (link to licensure bill on affiliate website). Please reach out to your state lawmakers and ask them to cosponsor our bill that would [insert two or three talking points or bill highlights]. 

Alert. Give details about why the email is coming to the reader and why he/she needs to act quickly. Example: The licensure bill will be heard in [XX Committee] on [DATE], and we need as many cosponsors as possible before [DATE] to show committee members we have strong bipartisan support. Please contact your state lawmaker no later than [DATE] to ask him or her to cosponsor the bill. 

Activate. Ask the reader to do something about what they've been alerted to. You may ask them to complete a survey, write a letter to a lawmaker or become active in the affiliate society by joining. Example: You can find your state lawmaker's name and contact information at [link]. It's urgent that you call or email your lawmakers today and ask them to cosponsor H.B. [XXXX]. If you do not see your lawmaker's name on the cosponsor list before [DATE], call his or her office and ask to speak with your lawmaker directly about H.B. [XXXX] and ask him or her to cosponsor.

Follow up. Always leave the door open for further email communications and start the conversation over again. Example: XSRT will post the most recent cosponsor lists for H.B. [XXXX] on our website. Please check back daily at  [link] to make sure your lawmaker's name is on the cosponsor list. Please contact XSRT Legislative Chair John Doe if you have questions or need assistance in contacting your lawmaker.

Even though advocacy messages from the affiliate society to members or R.T.s in the state are not considered sales solicitations or spam, since they are informational, it is always good to give members and nonmembers an opportunity to opt out of receiving advocacy-based messages from your affiliate. The affiliate member database administrator may be able to assist with creating email lists that exclude those who choose not to receive these types of email messages.

The ultimate goal of advocacy communication is to have individuals take action, whether it's to write a legislator about an issue or just to become active in the state affiliate society. If members and potential members are not informed and provided details about advocacy issues, chances are good that potential advocates may not act.

In-Person Meetings With Advocates

A meeting between affiliate leadership, advocates and potential new advocates can be very powerful and motivational.  Leaders sharing the message that affiliate advocates will then pass along to lawmakers and their colleagues reinforces the message and stresses the importance of how effective in-person communication can be. As advocates pass the advocacy message along to lawmakers, encourage them to speak about why patients deserve radiologic technologists who are educated and competent, and to share appropriate personal stories about how their education has benefitted patients.  Affiliate leaders can also speak with advocates and share their pride in the profession and their willingness to stand up for it.

Individual advocates can:

  • Conduct a discussion on professional issues at hand during a lunch-time meeting at work.
  • Prepare a presentation on advocacy and professional issues  for students.
  • Post information about the profession on bulletin boards at work and be willing to talk about it.
  • Participate in community events such as walks while wearing R.T. logo shirts or gear to start conversations with others.
  • Get involved with other health care associations.

Affiliate societies can:

  • Conduct an advocacy or professional issues presentation during the annual conference.
  • Set aside time for advocacy training at board meetings.
  • Designate individuals on your board to conduct regular communications and develop relationships with stakeholders.
  • Make it easy for individuals to act.  Create presentations that advocates can use at their facility or at school.
  • Set up a calendar for affiliate leaders to host in-person presentations at educational programs.
  • Develop an advocacy mentor program.
  • Conduct a state lobby day at the capitol.

Affiliate leaders and advocates don't have to be experts when discussing advocacy issues, but should be prepared with talking points and a message to share. Show passion for the R.T. profession and stress in all communications with colleagues and lawmakers that the patient's well-being  is always first and foremost regardless of the issue at hand.  When professional issues are discussed with an authentic voice and message and it is clear that the focus is on patient care, the message becomes clear and harder for lawmakers to avoid.