Advocacy Policy

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Advocacy Roles for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County

(Approved by the Board of Directors on August 18, 2010; – amended May 20, 2015)

Purpose: This document provides clear guidelines for how United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County can 1) use, 2) support and 3) promote advocacy as a tool to address issues in the areas of Education, Income and Health. This policy describes actions the Advocacy Committee of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County can take without board approval (Self/Individual Advocacy and Systems Advocacy – Levels 1 & 2) as well as those that require board approval (Systems Advocacy – Levels 3, 4 & 5).

  1. Self Advocacy and Individual Advocacy:  Action to ensure individuals obtain services for which they are eligible.
    1. The NC 2-1-1 – Asheville Center will provide the resources, information and support for these two types of advocacy as it serves individual callers seeking information and assistance. (Such as the eligibility for public housing or other public benefits.)
    2. Community Fund Committee will consider recommending funding programs that provide these two types of advocacy for clients. (Such as court accompaniment for victims of crime.)
  2. System Advocacy: Action to change community conditions, structures or institutions.
    1. Community Fund Committee will consider recommending funding programs that appropriately conduct or propose system advocacy clearly connected to one or more Community-level results. (Such as advocacy by several agencies for child care subsidies.)
    2. UWABC Advocacy Committee will consider and act upon advocacy issues clearly within the goals of the Middle School Success focused initiative, United Way internal programs, or one or more of the community-level results in Education, Income or Health in the following ways:

Endorsement (Level 1): Endorse or sign-on to an issue. United Way lends the name of the organization, but staff and volunteers are not directly involved in advocating for the issue.

Education and Awareness (Level 2): Educate the community and facilitate means for individuals to learn about and communicate their position on an issue. United Way may lead or co-sponsor an educational forum or include information on our website to advance the public’s awareness of the issue. (Such as the 2013 Medicaid Expansion Forum, 2014 Voter Education Forum, how to contact your legislator, how to learn more about legislation about education/income/health, or what positions UWABC has taken.)

  1. The following actions must come before and be approved by the Executive Committee or Board prior to any action. 

Convening Role (Level 3): Convene the community to present, discuss, respond, and build strategies.

Coalition Building (Level 4):  United Way will partner with constituent organizations and/or individuals to support or oppose a specific issue that aligns with 2b). 

Lobbying (Level 5):  United Way will directly engage decision makers seeking to influence public policy. This level of action may require administrative and financial support from the United Way as well as more direct engagement by volunteers.

  1. The NC 2-1-1 – Asheville Center will advocate to address problems when modifications in a service delivery system are recommended to ensure the adequate availability of essential community services. (This may include collecting and sharing information, such as informing a local coalition about transportation barriers, continued complaints about intake procedures, or excessive unmet needs in the community.)

Note: Any system advocacy efforts must fall within the list of what nonprofits CAN do to address public policy: educating the public, announcing a position (of the Board) on an issue, distributing reports, seeking media coverage, researching and making recommendations, preparing opinion editorials, providing testimony and lobbying as allowed by law.