• Never begin an advocacy effort/strategy from a confrontational position unless the situation is an emergency and nothing else will be affective.
  • Try to verify an individual’s story before proceeding.  There are often several sides and perspectives – try to hear them all and let each party know you intend to talk to all sides and hear everyone’s view first.
  • If an issue is volatile take time to consider strategies and ramifications of actions. (Cooling off period.)
  • Be credible.  Make sure you have the facts.  Do your research before approaching agencies (or those in power or authority).
  • Know the right people to talk to about specific issues.
  • Know all sides of the issue.
  • Find out where the opposition is "coming from.”  Understand their reasons and positions as well as who else may share them.  
  • Identify common ground.
  • Identify other stakeholders, people we can make common cause with to build coalitions when appropriate.
  • Ask for the moon and accept the stars.  (Ask for the ideal solution but have a compromise position in mind.  Know what you are willing to give up and on what points you absolutely cannot compromise.)
  • Try to resolve problems at the lowest level but don’t hesitate to contact a higher authority if the problem is not resolved.  (Go through the chain of command.)
  • Put the issues in writing and keep a copy.  This should include your expectations about when you want a response and what steps you will take if you don’t get one.
  • Always follow through on your timeline (especially if you make threats or promises).
  • Keep records (names, dates, notes from meetings, etc.).
  • Always attend important meetings with another person (witness).
  • When you get desired results, write a thank you letter or make another appropriate recognition.
  • Be systematic and well organized.  The more organized you are the better your chance of success.
  • Never forget the power of advocacy through infiltration.  When you join groups your issues become part of the group agenda, not merely “your” issues.
  • When all else fails, never forget the power of the media.  This should be used sparingly (usually as a last resort) and should be well considered.  This strategy can backfire because we never really know how the media will present an issue.  It can, however, also achieve great results.  Other times it has polarized public opinion against an issue.
  • Cultivate reporters.  Make an effort to congratulate or thank them for good stories that present people with disabilities and/or other related issues in a positive light (even if the story had nothing to do with your situation or agency).