Introduction

Community Catalyst’s mission is to organize and sustain a powerful consumer voice to ensure that all individuals and communities can influence the local, state and national decisions that affect their health. Community Catalyst works to build the capacity, influence and power of state and local organizations to bring a consumer voice to health policy change. Whether the aim is to pass or prevent passage of legislation on a particular health care issue, defend against cuts to critical public programs, or educate a particular constituency about the impact of a law or regulation, organizations seeking to advance a consumer health agenda must have six advocacy capacities to succeed. These six advocacy capacities build the foundation for a greater system of advocacy, moving ideas from opportunities to policy change with supporting capacities of leadership and evaluation.

Community Catalyst System of Advocacy

Grassroots organizing is one of the essential capacities needed to carry out a successful campaign. Tapping into the power of grassroots organizing brings important voices to your movement, providing the consumer perspective, giving feedback on the current landscape and raising new issues of concern to consumers. In addition, grassroots organizing builds the power you need to win. Without the power of a significant number of informed and organized consumers, even the best pro-consumer policy agenda will often fail. The purpose of this tool is to provide you with information about building your capacity to engage in grassroots organizing at the local and state levels. The tool is targeted primarily at state-based consumer advocacy 501(c)(3) organizations, though much of the information is relevant to (c)(4) organizations as well. The tool includes information about both building your own internal grassroots organizing capacity and building that capacity by developing strong partnership with other organizations. No matter which path your organization chooses, we hope recommendations in this guide will help you to build a strong grassroots base, thereby enhancing your ability to win policy change campaigns.