Self Advocacy Toolkit

Getting Started

This kit will give you the tools you need to advocate on your own behalf, or on behalf of a friend, relative or child, to achieve the result you need, in a step-by-step fashion.

Following the instructions from the first step through the last will help you achieve your advocacy goals. Along with instructions for pursuing your advocacy goals, you will find worksheets and sample documents to help you organize your thoughts and speak effectively to your audience.

The Self-Advocacy Process

To be successful with your advocacy, you need to remain focused and be persistent. Whether advocating for access to health care, workplace accommodation, or another issue of importance to you, a plan to self-advocate will be your essential guide.

1. Identify your issue

  • Be clear on the issue for which you are advocating. Not knowing and understanding your issue clearly makes success unlikely because you may not know who to approach or how they can help you.
  • Be able to discuss your issue in the context of a story. Your personal story or experience is the key to effective advocacy.
Read more

2. Do background research

  • Establish your credibility and increase the likelihood of success by knowing core facts about your issue, using a variety of sources and perspectives.
  • Become well-educated about the impact of your issue.
Read more

3. Set your goal

  • Know clearly what you want to achieve in your advocacy efforts.
Read more

4. Get to know your audience

  • Find out who is the best person to help you achieve your advocacy goal – your "audience".
  • Communicate your goal effectively for your audience.
Read more

5. Frame your issue and develop your key messages

  • Understand your audience's interests and concerns, and where your issue fits in.
  • Develop no more than 2-3 key messages that explain the key points of your issue in simple language.
  • Position these messages onto your audience's interest and concerns, presenting a "win" for you and your audience.
Read more

6. Develop a plan of action

  • Follow the "Advocacy Plan Framework", ensuring your goals are achievable, measurable, practical and timely.
  • Also ensure that each step has an achievable result, and keeps you moving forward.
Read more

7. Put your plan into action!

  • Build relationships, communicate, set up your meetings or appointments, and follow-up.
  • Don't give up!
Read more