- Author: Edward Graham
- Date: November 23, 2021
A group of Sinai Hospital employees involved with their shuttle, stand around the new service’s vehicles. All too often, the…
Mobility managers are often described as the “boots on the ground’ professionals who address the mobility and transportation needs of a variety of riders, particularly individuals with disabilities, older adults, and those with low income.
Often, to ensure that they have a full bag of solutions, mobility managers must “make the case” for new or varied transportation service and create innovative and flexible solutions to address the unique challenges that riders face. Among the long list of skills that mobility managers use to create viable community transportation solutions are advocacy skills.
Recently, NCMM and the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (National RTAP) collaborated to update a long-standing National RTAP product, Advocating for your Transit System technical brief. As indicated in the textbox below, transit managers and mobility managers can work together to identify the community forums that are the most appropriate to support advocacy.
Advocacy versus Lobbying
Advocacy is not lobbying. The National Council of Non-profits offers the following distinction. Lobbying is communicating with decision makers (elected officials and staff; voters on ballot measures), about existing or potential legislation, and urging a vote for or against. All three components of this definition are required: decision makers, actual legislation, AND asking for a vote. Federal dollars, including those that may support salaries, cannot be used to support lobbying. Conversely, the Council describes advocacy as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports, or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.
It includes public education, regulatory work, litigation, and work before administrative bodies, lobbying, nonpartisan voter registration, nonpartisan voter education, and more.
18 Tips for Advocacy
The following tips can be useful for transit and mobility management professionals to inform, educate, and advocate in their communities. Even better, is when human service and transit professionals collaborate to facilitate the consideration of accessible community transportation services.
Judy Shanley, PhD. is the Easterseals Director of NCMM. Cara Marcus, MSLIS, is the Resource Center Manager for National RTAP.
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