MAKE A STRONG CASE for out-of-school time— Keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Maintain a focus on quality — Emphasize examples of and reasons for why programs are effective; it is much easier to make the case for effective programs. Head to the Quality section to learn more.
- Use local data — Document and explain the positive impact of high-quality Out-of-School Time programs. Go to the Data section of the toolkit to read more about types & uses for data collection.
- Develop and use your OST coalition partners to advocate — Determine if there is an advocacy organization in your coalition that should primarily assume this role. Figure out if there are coalition members with important relationships and public credibility that can be tapped for this purpose.
- Develop a comprehensive advocacy plan with your OST coalition partners — Make sure it includes your strategies; identifies key organizations, institutions and individuals you will reach out to; defines your timeframe for implementation; and defines roles and responsibilities for specific partners.
- Cultivate local providers as OST champions — Nominate them as Afterschool Ambassadors For more information on this, visit the Afterschool Alliance’s website.
- Plan and convene a Lights On Afterschool event — Leverage the national focus on Out-of-School Time that accompanies this event which was designed by the Afterschool Alliance to take place every October. Use this nation-wide event to draw attention to your community’s efforts. Find tools and resources to do this on the Afterschool Alliance's website.
- Vary your advocacy message based on the audience — Think about the issues the specific audience cares most about and consider how this connects to Out-of-School Time. Alter your message and the means you use to convey it based on this purpose. For example, use an infographic, like the America After 3PM one included below, when you want to quickly get your message across in an efficient and effective manner.
- Vary the messenger — Don't forget that young people themselves are often the best advocates for Out-of-School Time. Parents can also make compelling advocates. Work with your partners to identify and cultivate youth and parents that can play this role.
To learn more tips on effective advocacy practices, head to the Learning Modules.