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Advocacy in an Aging Society

Advocacy in an Aging Society

AARP sponsored a workshop on advocacy at the NGO Forum in Madrid. The session focused on the advocacy tools and technologies used by AARP, one of the leading political advocacy organizations in the US, to influence public policy. Kevin Donnellan, Director of AARP's Office of Grassroots and Elections, conducted the workshop.

One of AARP's goals is to educate and inform opinion leaders and the public at large about the realities and challenges facing an aging America. AARP's mission has always included representing the interests of members and all older Americans. Its advocacy activities help millions of individuals participate in the nation's legislative, judicial, and administrative processes. AARP represents a diverse population of rich and poor, healthy and frail, workers and retirees. Developing policy for such a diverse group is not easy, but advocacy for their needs and interests is a major reason why millions of people join AARP.

In this workshop, Kevin Donnellan addressed the fundamental questions of what grassroots organizing is, why it is important, and how to accomplish it. Specific topics included:

  • Policy Development
  • Lobbying
  • Selecting Issues
  • Setting Goals
  • Developing a Message
  • Role of Volunteers
  • Building External Partnerships
  • Media/Communications
  • Mobilizing Constituency