Giving Compass' Take:

• Jerry Jones, at National Alliance to End Homelessness, writes about the importance of effective advocacy in serving the homeless population through coronavirus.

• How can the private sector work hand-in-hand with policymakers to serve vulnerable communities? How are you employing effective advocacy in your giving to end the pandemic?

• Learn about how you can support nonprofits as they weather the coronavirus storm.

Effective advocacy is an essential tool in our efforts to serve the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the Alliance hosted a webinar to help partners in the field advocate for the resources we all need during this time.

  • Generally speaking, there are a few basic elements to doing this effectively on the local and state levels, including:
  • Confirming which legislative district includes your organization’s service area
  • Being sure to invite elected representatives to groundbreakings and special events
  • Including elected representatives on the distribution list for your annual report
  • Getting to know the person covering homelessness on your legislator’s staff team
  • Scheduling meetings with key legislators in their district offices at least once a year

These same principles work at all levels of government. The key is to establish a relationship with the people who represent your community in Congress, the State House, and City Hall.

Although the coronavirus may have changed how our advocacy looks, communicating with elected officials and key decisionmakers in this time of crisis will prove essential for securing funds in ending homelessness. Two local advocates shared on the webinar their successes in advocating, and provided insight on how other communities can do the same.

Dora Gallo of A Community of Friends (ACOF) described her organization’s coalition work in Los Angeles. It spans all types of nonprofit homeless organizations – missions and shelters, domestic violence agencies, legal service organizations, nonprofit developers of supportive housing, organizations administering the coordinated entry system, and many other groups assisting homeless adults, families and youth.

The key to this success has been maintaining unity across the homelessness system, recognizing that different types of organizations will prioritize various needs after new money is secured.

Read the full article about effective advocacy by Jerry Jones at National Alliance to End Homelessness.