Policy + Advocacy
Determine Your Path Forward – Suggested Strategies
Local United Ways have a unique role in advancing equity through policy and advocacy. Below are a number of strategies to advance equity via this lever:
Conduct underlying analysis of indicators with significant disparities. Be sure to disaggregate by race and ethnicity and use it to inform what kinds of policies are addressing root causes.
Example: If your community is experiencing significant displacement of communities of color, identify which local and state policies might be driving those inequities (e.g. weak renter protections) or might help mitigate those disparities (e.g. financial assistance for first-time homeowners).
Engage community residents to identify which policies are most important to them. Engage in inclusive processes with the community to identify where they are feeling the most pressure and work with advocacy organizations focused on equity to understand where there are opportunities to leverage policy change.
Leverage United Way’s brand and network to emphasize the importance of equity in policy with policymakers. You may not need to take a specific policy stance, but your United Way can play a role in normalizing equity as a priority across all policy issues.
Seek funding that can support effective and impactful policy advocacy. Think outside of traditional channels. Seek funding that supports mobilizing community members to advocate for policy, such as promoting voter registration and civic participation.
Seek non-traditional strategic partners who may be developing and implementing equitable policy or strategies.
Example: While your focus may be on homeownership as a pathway to economic advancement, your community may be facing rapid displacement because of weak renter protections. Perhaps partner with organizations promoting community land trusts as a strategy to drive economic opportunity.
Empower and increase the capacity of residents, especially those from historically disadvantaged communities, to advocate for policy change. Your United Way can leverage the expertise that you have developed as a result of working on policy issues, and engaging with local and state coalitions and lawmakers, to provide training, resources, and tools to community residents. This can strengthen their efforts so that their voices are effective in advocating for policy change.
Share data on specific state and local policies that have inequitable impacts on different populations in your community. Work with universities, local advocacy organizations, or policy think tanks tolist the pros and cons of a given policy on specific target populations, especially those who have been historically disadvantaged. Use existing resources, like Policy Link’s Equity Atlas, to understand the greatest sources of inequity in your community and to drive the development of local advocacy efforts and inform state-level policy agendas.
- Develop Compelling Products and Solutions
- Engage the Community in Solving Relevant Issues