What is at the heart of The
CFIDS Association of America's success advocating for persons with CFS?
It's people like you - people who are concerned about CFS, working from their
communities to support the Association's initiatives to expand CFS research
and gain access to programs and services.
What is "Grassroots
Grassroots advocacy involves actions taken by concerned citizens to
demonstrate their support for an issue. In the case of CFS advocates, these
issues are usually related to research, social service programs (like obtaining
disability benefits) or CFS policies. CFS advocates call, fax, write, e-mail or visit elected or appointed federal officials to communicate their views on an issue.
Why is it Important?
Elected officials are concerned about the issues that affect voters. Federal employees
are accountable to Congress, so they, too, must try to be responsive to
citizens' needs, or risk reprimand from Congress.
For these reasons, citizens can have a lot of power in influencing Washington politics. If Congress or a federal agency hears from enough citizens about a particular issue, their
concerns can counteract the opinions expressed by the most highly funded D.C.
lobbyist. Rules limiting gifts to elected officials further level the playing
Our efforts are most effective when elected officials know that their constituents are concerned about CFS. Letters, calls, faxes and e-mails from voting CFS advocates,
combined with the persistence of CFIDS Association staff and volunteers,
give our issue more clout to win battles in Washington.
What Does it Involve?
Grassroots advocacy can be as much - or as little - work as you want to put into it. Most
CFS advocates are persons with CFS, so their participation tends to
be fairly limited. This makes it even more important that a large number of
CFS advocates take part, so there's always someone healthy enough to
write a letter or make a
phone call about a particular issue. On average, CFS advocates make two or
three contacts per year on behalf of CFS issues. Some people do more, others
do less. But by sharing the responsibility among thousands of CFS advocates,
in the end officials hear from many people concerned about CFS throughout the
How Can I Get Involved?
Getting involved in CFS advocacy is very easy. The
easiest way to participate is through the Association's free
Grassroots Action Center Listserv (GAC)
- If you're curious about
the issues GAC members have recently been involved in, please see our
Advocacy Alert Digest.
- Participate in CFS
Awareness Day May 12th efforts.
Click here for a downloadable
package or contact The CFIDS Association of America for a free May 12th
- Build relationships with your three
Congress (one House member and two Senators). You don't necessarily
have to make contributions to their campaigns, but you do need to take the
time to educate them about CFIDS and why it is such an important issue. You
can call or write them, attend their local "town hall" meetings, pay a visit
to their local or Washington offices or invite them to speak at your local
CFS support group meetings.
- If you feel your member
of Congress may be interested in championing CFS issues or if you have
questions about this subject, please contact the Association at
- Elected officials read
and respond to issues in their local newspapers. If you're interested in
getting your local paper or TV program to cover, visit our
Media page for tips.
There are a variety of ways you can help support CFS advocacy efforts. Please get involved today!
Overview of the Association's Public Policy Program -
includes links to Congressional and agency activities.