An opportunity that every Y has is to effectively tell our local and collective stories.  The stories that demonstrate the impact and life change that happens in our Y’s each day.  It is vital that our story is well articulated and understood by our members, communities and especially to donors and elected officials.  It is our responsibility and privilege to ensure that the issues that are important to our cause are heard by those who will consider them when decisions are made that impact our mission.  This is why advocacy is especially important at each level of government; local, state and federal.

This year is our state government’s short session so house and senate members are spending less time in Raleigh and more time at home in their districts.  The short session is an excellent time to invite your elected officials at all levels to visit your Y programs that demonstrate to impact and investment that you make and how you serve as community anchors.  In March, we expect to have one of the largest state contingents participating in the YMCA National Advocacy Days event meeting with our federal representatives sharing our Y stories and the issues important to NC.

I have learned that focusing on advocacy and relationships with local officials have created and opened doors for opportunities to better serve our Y’s community.  We are currently working with a municipality that understands our ability and passion to create impact through local programs.  This municipality is working with the Y to provide facilities and infrastructure to leverage tax payer’s investments.  Relationships that have been built over time with city officials have earned and allowed our voice, ideas and passion to be heard and understood.  Take time to build and nurture these relationships!