You have identified an issue in your community that you believe should be addressed. Now what? There are usually many ways to get support around working towards or advocating for solutions, but it can seem overwhelming to know where to get started. We’ve created this page to help guide community members through this process and offer some tips for how to seek out community support around issues that are important to you!
One of the main tasks in getting started is figuring out how to bring your issues of interest to others who can help build support and momentum. One person can make a difference, but having others by your side makes change a lot easier. The next section of this page details other stakeholders you should consider connecting with, how you can communicate your request with them, and more. Our website has a large variety of resources to assist with common community topics.
Connecting with your Community
If you live in Portland, you live in one of Portland’s officially recognized neighborhoods – each with its own mix of engaged neighbors, neighborhood association, community groups and organizations that support SE and beyond. Each of these entities can be allies in your advocacy work. As a reminder, this page is specifically for advocacy requests outside of those made to the SE Uplift Board of Directors. To make a request to our board, visit this page. For all other requests, follow the steps below!
Identify the Neighborhood Associations, community groups, individuals, and organizations that may be affected. Don’t know which neighborhood association has a stake in your issue or would benefit from your announcement? Take a look at our interactive map to find out!
Take time to consider your request from an inclusion and equity standpoint. This is helpful in identifying stakeholders you may not have considered initially and ensuring that the work you are doing benefits the largest number of folks in the community. Here are some questions that may be helpful to think through based on SE Uplift’s equity lens. We recommend thinking through these questions with communities (Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, unhoused, immigrant, etc.) who experience a lack of representation in decision-making spaces in mind.
- In what ways will the outcomes of advocacy effort increase or decrease equity?
- Does this advocacy effort engage and/or account for multiple perspectives?
- What voices are missing from the conversation?
- What barriers to engagement exist or may result from this advocacy effort?
- What changes can be made to support more equitable outcomes?
Learn more and reach out. Learn more about a group’s mission, values, priorities, meeting times, locations, audiences, etc. Are they an important group to connect with? Keep in mind that groups, organizations, and neighborhood associations may need time to put your topic on their meeting agenda(s). It may take up to a month of lead time, and no less than 2 weeks. Also be prepared and flexible in how you share your announcement/ information. It may be more appropriate for the information to go out electronically in a newsletter or on social media.
What to Include in Your Request
- Who you are: A neighbor, a representative, or an advocate? Provide a little context.
- How to get a hold of you: Provide at least your basic contact information so the board can reach you in the event that something changes or more information is needed.
- What you want to present or have a discussion about & how it connects back to that organization/group/neighborhood association.
- What outcomes you are hoping for: Will you want the board/group to take an action or show support in some way? Or are you just hoping to make an announcement? You may need more information ready and provide more lead time if you’re asking for a board or organizations support. If you are looking for support on a potentially contentious issue, both sides will need to be presented before the board can take a position. Be transparent about this up front and you’re more likely to help set in motion the steps that need to be taken before a board may take a stance on an issue.
- How long your presentation will take: Ask for the amount of time you’d like, but be prepared to be flexible. Whether you get that amount or less, make sure that you can fit your presentation in the allotted time. All boards do their very best to keep meetings running on time – this respects the time and commitment of the neighbors who attend meetings.
- Is your presentation time-sensitive? Include any deadlines in the information you provide. Make your request for time on the agenda at least two weeks before the meeting. However, if an issue is time-sensitive, it may be possible to carve a little time out in the agenda.
- Do you have any additional information that can be provided to the board ahead of time? Put together any information you have that is relevant to your presentation and that will help the board make an informed decision on what action to take. This might include links to online information, PDFs, maps, etc.
Collect and prepare all relevant information for your presentation and “ask.” Whether you are hoping to present to one or more groups, the audience is going to want to know a few things about you before hearing from you.
- See steps 1-4 above to prepare for the in-person or virtual advocacy request.
- Share your information in the time you were given.
- Provide next steps for the group. This might include taking a vote, writing a letter of support, sharing with others, taking individual action, coming back with more information, etc.